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Big East Conference

conf_bigeast.jpgThe Big East Conference was formed in 1979, and originally consisted of seven schools. The league has since grown to 16 member institutions, concentrated in the northeast but located as far west as Marquette and as far south as South Florida.

The Big East has always been a basketball-first conference; in fact, the league did not sponsor football until 1991, the year before football power Miami was added to the league. The league's basketball tournament has been one of the nation's most important conference tourneys since the inaugural event in 1980.

Current Big East Members

Future Big East Members

Big East Tournament

After being held in Providence, Hartford, and Syracuse in its first three years, the conference tournament moved to its seemingly permanent home, Madison Square Garden in New York, in 1983. The tournament has been held there ever since, and will be held there at least through 2011.

The Big East Tournament format has changed over the years as schools have been added to the league. The current format involves only 12 of the 16 schools; the top four teams receive a bye into the quarterfinals, while the bottom four teams do not qualify for the tournament. The first round doubleheaders are held on Wednesday at 12 noon and 7 pm. The quarterfinals are held on Thursday, also at 12 noon and 7 pm.

The quarterfinal winners meet in Friday night's semifinals beginning at 7 pm. On Saturday night, the last two survivors meet at 8 to decide the championship.

Big East Tournament tickets are sold on a per-session basis; you do not need to buy a booklet for the entire tournament. Prices escalate as the tournament progresses; first round tickets are cheap, championship game tickets are not. 2006 marked the first time the entire tournament was sold out to the member schools without a public sale.

If you can't procure your tickets in advance, you'll be buying on the street. Most Big East schools are within driving distance of New York, and teams like Connecticut, Syracuse, St. John's, and Notre Dame have huge fan bases in New York City. Therefore, tickets to the semifinals and championship can be hard to find, depending on who is playing. As with any basketball tournament, if you're buying on the street we recommend buying tickets early, as soon as you find a price you're willing to pay.

Keep in mind that some schools do not qualify for the conference tournament; many fans from these schools will not be using their tickets.

Big East Tournament Dates

big_east_teams.jpg The Big East Tournament is always held in early March, and runs from Wednesday afternoon through Saturday night's championship. The tournament is always contested at Madison Square Garden in New York.

2008 - March 13-16

2009 - March 12-15

2010 - March 11-14

2011 - March 10-13

2012 - March 8-11


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