NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: Peyton Siva #3, Angel Nunez #1, Chris Smith #5 and the Louisville Cardinals celebrate after defeating the Cincinnati Bearcats during the finals of the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden at Madison Square Garden on March 10, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
It's the most wonderful of the year for fans of the Big East. The selections and pairings for the NCAA Tournament have been released while the Big East didn't match its 11 teams in the field from last year, the conference still put over half of its teams, nine, in the Tournament. Coming into the day, I felt that the Big East could still get 10 teams into the field, but I was not going to be shocked to see either South Florida or Seton Hall left out. As it turns out, I was right. South Florida made the field, in the first four, for the first time in 20 years while Seton Hall did not. The bigger surprise with Seton Hall was learning later that it really wasn't as close as we'd all thought as the Pirates turned out to not even be one of the last four out.
Here's a quick look at the nine Big East teams and who they'll face in the NCAA Tournament. Don't forget you can also nab a copy of SB Nation's printable bracket right here.
Syracuse is the #1 seed in The East region and was the #2 overall seed in the Tournament. The Orange will face UNC Asheville in Pittsburgh, PA on Thursday.
Cincinnati is the #6 seed in the East region and will face the #11 seed Texas Longhorns on Friday in Nashville, TN.
West Virginia is the #10 seed in the East region. The Mountaineers will face the #7 seed Gonzaga
Marquette is the #3 seed in the West region and will face the the winner of Tuesday's BYU-Iona First Four game on Thursday in Louisville, KY.
Louisville is the #4 seed in the West region. The Cardinals will face the #13 seed Davidson in Portland, OR on Thursday.
Georgetown is the #3 seed in the Midwest region. The Hoyas will face the #14 seed Belmont in Columbus, OH on Thursday.
South Florida is the #12 seed in the Midwest region and is playing in the First Four game in Dayton against Cal. If the Bulls win, they'll move to face Temple, the #5 seed in that region on Friday.
Notre Dame is the #7 seed in the South region and will face the #10 seed Xavier on Friday in Greensboro, NC.
Connecticut is the #9 seed in the South region. The defending national champion Huskies will face the #8 seed Iowa State on Thursday in Louisville, KY.