Men's Basketball Weekly Report - Feb. 17

Seven BIG EAST Squads Already Have 20 Wins
With Connecticut and Cincinnati notching their 20th victories of the season last night, the BIG EAST can boast seven 20-win teams already, the most of any conference in the nation.  The Big 12 is next with four teams.  The 20-win mark has historically been a yardstick for BIG EAST teams to qualify for the NCAA Championship.  Since the BIG EAST champion began receiving an automatic NCAA berth for its champion, 128 of 132 20-win teams have made it - 97 percent. 
 
Hail To Pitt
Pittsburgh is living up to the preseason hype.  The Panthers were picked for the top spot in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches' Poll and they enjoy a two-game lead over second-place Notre Dame in the league standings.  The Panthers are 24-2 overall and 12-1 in the BIG EAST.  Ranked fourth in both major polls this week, Pitt has played a rugged schedule.  The Panthers own a 6-2 record against teams currently in the top 25 of the NCAA RPI Report, including a victory over Texas which is ranked above the Panthers this week.  Notre Dame is the only other team nationally that has six wins against the RPI top 25.
 
As Usual, The Garden Is Sold Out
For the sixth consecutive year, all tickets to the BIG EAST Men's Basketball Championship presented by American Eagle Outfitters have been sold in advance.  All of the ticket packages have been purchased by the 16 member institutions, negating the need for a public sale.
 
BIG EAST Has Five On the Naismith Midseason List
Five of the 30 players on the 2010-11 Naismith Trophy midseason list are from BIG EAST schools.  The group includes Austin Freeman of Georgetown, Ben Hansbrough of Notre Dame, Rick Jackson of Syracuse, Kemba Walker of Connecticut and Brad Wanamaker of Pittsburgh.  The Naismith Award, sponsored by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, will be presented at the NCAA Final Four in Houston.