PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Continuing its string of unprecedented representation in the NCAA tournament, the BIG EAST will send eight teams to the Big Dance in 2013 as the NCAA announced the bracket for the 2013 Men's Basketball Championship.
The BIG EAST's eight teams are the most of any of the nation's 32 conferences, while is the fourth straight year with at least eight BIG EAST teams in the NCAA tournament. The BIG EAST has had at least eight NCAA teams six times since 2006, including a record 11 in 2011. No other conference has ever had eight NCAA entrants.
Quantity aside, the BIG EAST has produced the No. 1 overall seed as Louisville earned top honors on the heels of the Cardinals' second straight BIG EAST Championship title. The BIG EAST also has teams on the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 lines.
BIG EAST teams have made five Final Four appearances in the last four years, including a national title by Connecticut in 2011.
Four BIG EAST teams will play their first games Thursday, March 21, while the other four will begin play Friday, March 22.
Thursday's ledger has No. 1 seeded Louisville making the short trip to Lexington, Ky., to face the winner of Tuesday's opening round game between No. 16 seeds North Carolina A&T and Liberty as part of the Midwest Region.
Marquette is the No. 3 seed in the East Region and will join Louisville in Lexington as the Golden Eagles are paired with No. 14-seeded Davidson Thursday. Marquette has reached the Sweet Sixteen in each of its three previous tournament appearances as a No. 3 seed.
Syracuse, which is seeded No. 4 in the East Region, opens in San Jose, Calif., as the Orange face Montana Thursday. Pittsburgh rounds out Thursday's BIG EAST contingent as the No. 8 seed in the West Region, pairing the Panthers against Wichita State in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Friday's action is highlighted by No. 2 seed Georgetown, which opens tournament play against Florida Gulf Coast in the South Region in Philadelphia.
Notre Dame will head to Dayton, Ohio, for a Friday matchup against Iowa State in the West Region. The Irish are seeded No. 7 in the West.
No. 9 Villanova will face No. 8 North Carolina in Kansas City, Mo., as part of South Region play. Cincinnati earned the No. 10 seed in the Midwest Regional as the Bearcats face Creighton in Philadelphia.
BIG EAST Selections To The 2013 NCAA Championship
Second Round - Thursday, March 21
No 1. Louisville vs. No. 16 North Carolina A&T/Liberty - Midwest Region, Lexington, Ky.
No. 4 Syracuse vs. No. 13 Montana - East Region, San Jose, Calif.
No. 3 Marquette vs. No. 14 Dayton - East Region, Lexington, Ky.
No. 8 Pittsburgh vs. No. 9 Wichita State - West Region, Salt Lake City, Utah
Second Round - Friday, March 22
No. 2 Georgetown vs. No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast - South Region, Philadelphia, Pa.
No. 7 Notre Dame vs. No. 10 Iowa State - West Region, Dayton, Ohio
No. 9 Villanova vs. No. 8 North Carolina - South Region, Kansas City, Mo.
No. 10 Cincinnati vs. No. 7 Creighton - Midwest Region, Philadelphia, Pa.