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Big East bracketology

Start spreadin' the news:  Syracuse's road to a third straight Big East tournament title begins against Connecticut in Wednesday's prequarterfinals at 2 p.m. in Madison Square Garden.

The Orange finished as the No. 5 seed after Saturday's loss at Villanova while the Huskies sank to 12th when St. John's beat Providence Sunday to sneak into the 11 hole.  A national championship in 2004, an Elite Eight trip in 2006 and a 12th-place finish in their own league in 2007? Yep, it's been a fast ride down for Jim Calhoun's baby-faced Huskies.

The teams split their two meetings this season and the Orange beat UConn in an overtime thriller in last year's Big East quarters. Paul Harris & Co. would certainly love to move on and get a quarterfinal matchup with No. 4 Notre Dame, who embarrassed SU in January in the Carrier Dome.

The pick here to win the tournament is top-seeded Georgetown, which has won 12 of 13. But that loss was to potential semifinal opponent Syracuse in the Dome. The most intriguing potential quarterfinal: No. 2 Louisville and No. 7 West Virginia, a rematch of the classic Elite Eight overtime struggle between Rick Pitino and John Beilein that saw the Cardinals deny the former Canisius coach a trip to the Final Four.

----Mike Harrington

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