Big East Tournament 2012 Championship: Louisville, Cincinnati Battle For Title

Both the Louisville Cardinal and Cincinnati Bearcats were considered locks to get at-large births into the 2012 NCAA Tournament prior to the 2012 Big East Tournament, but both have certainly improved their seedings with their showings in New York City this week. But only one will grab the Big East Tournament championship bracket (PDF) and, in the process, possibly a top three or four seed in the Big Dance.

The Cardinal and Bearcats met once this year in Cincinnati which resulted in a 60-56 victory for the Bearcats, but things figure to be a bit different in the confines of Madison Square Garden. Both teams are coming off of impressive victories, with Cincinnati knocking off the top ranked Syracuse Orange and the Cardinal taking down the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

A victory for either team would be especially sweet considering that both are on the outside looking in at conference realignment as schools like Syracuse, the Pittsburgh Panthers and the West Virginia Mountaineers arrange to leave the conference. Louisville won its first and only Big East Tournament in 2009 when it defeated Syracuse 76-66. The Bearcats, meanwhile, have never won the title in New York.

Game date/time: Saturday, March 10, 2012, 8:00 p.m. CT

Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

TV: ESPN

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. Notre Dame Fighting Irish news and analysis is available at One Foot Down. For more on Big East basketball, visit the SB Nation blog Big East Coast Bias. Also be sure to check out SB Nation's college basketball hub.

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