WBB Rolls Into The Sweet 16

Three BIG EAST teams (Connecticut, Notre Dame and St. John's) will be in action this weekend in the Sweet 16 (Regional Semifinals) of the NCAA tournament. The Red Storm are making their first appearance in the Regional Semifinals.

No. 3 seed St. John's (24-9) will play No. 2 seed Duke on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN. The Red Storm won their first two NCAA games by a total of six points.

No. 1 seed Notre Dame (32-3) will play No. 5 seed St. Bonaventure on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Earlier this year Notre Dame won its first outright BIG EAST regular-season title. The Irish are making their 17th straight trip to the NCAAs, and 19th appearance overall. ND faces a St. Bonaventure program which is making its first Sweet 16 trip in school history.

No. 1 seed Connecticut (31-4) will play No. 4 seed Penn State on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN2. The Huskies are coming off the best defensive effort in NCAA tournament history following a 72-26 win over Kansas State in the second round. It was the lowest point total a team has ever had in tournament play. Penn State is under the direction of fifth-year head coach Coquese Washington, a former standout at Notre Dame (1993). Washington also was an assistant coach with the Irish for eight years, including the team's 2001 National Championship.

Below are some additional league notes pulled from this week's weekly release:

Twelve Participate in the Postseason
With eight teams selected to the NCAA Championship and four teams selected to the WNIT, the BIG EAST had 12 teams of 16 teams included in the postseason.

17 NCAA Teams In The Last Two Years
The BIG EAST has totaled 17 teams in the NCAA tournament over the past two years, including a record nine selections in 2010-11. The league has averaged 8.5 teams during that span, more than any other conference.

Bringing Home The Hardware
The BIG EAST has won eight national championships in the last 16 years, including seven titles in the last 12 years. In addition, the league has sent four different programs to the Final Four over the last five seasons, and totaled 14 Final Four teams since 2000, more than any other league.

Nine Teams With 20 Wins or More
The BIG EAST had eight teams with 20 wins or more following the conclusion of the regular-season on Feb. 27, all eight teams were selected for the NCAA tournament. Syracuse earned its' 20th win against Drexel on March 19 to make it nine BIG EAST teams that have reached the 20-win plateau.

30 Wins and Counting
The league has a pair of 30-wins teams as Notre Dame (32) and Connecticut (31) mark the fifth time the feat has been achieved in conference history.

1995-96: UConn (33-1) and Notre Dame (31-7)
2000-01: UConn (32-3) and Notre Dame (34-2)
2008-09: UConn (39-0) and Louisville (34-5)
2010-11: UConn (35-1) and Notre Dame (31-8)
2011-12: UConn (30-4) and Notre Dame (31-3)

Pair of No. 1's
The 2012 tournament marks the second time in league history that a pair of No. 1 seeds will come from the BIG EAST. The last time that happened was 2001, when Notre Dame and Connecticut were both No. 1 seeds. The two met in the national semifinal in Saint Louis, Mo., and the Irish won, eventually winning the title. In 2012, Connecticut, which earned the league's automatic berth as the BIG EAST Championship winner, is a No. 1 in the Kingston Region. Notre Dame, which earned an at-large bid, is No. 1 in the Raleigh Region.

How Sweet It Is
With three NCAA Sweet 16 teams this season (Connecticut, Notre Dame and St. John's) the BIG EAST has had more teams reach the Regional Semifinals than any other conference since 2007. The league also has had eight different teams advance to the Sweet 16 since 2007, including first-time entrant St. John's.

Regional Semifinalists Since 2007
BIG EAST    21
Big 12        17
SEC        16
ACC        15

BIG EAST Teams in the Sweet 16
The last five years (2007-12)
UConn     2007-12
DePaul     2011
Georgetown     2011
Louisville     2008, 2009, 2011
Notre Dame    2008, 2010-12
Pittsburgh     2008, 2009
Rutgers     2007-09
St. John's     2012