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Notes from the Big East Tournament

** By far the best game of the Big East Tournament thus far is taking place at the Garden, as No. 8 seed Georgetown has grabbed its first lead since the 11:32 mark of the first half, 60-59. Garden is going nuts, as Georgetown always brings a huge support of fans to NYC. Hoyas extend run to 17-2 to take a 68-61 lead with eight minutes to play. Is another double-bye team going to bite the dust?

** Chris Wright of Georgetown is playing like someone who got snubbed by the All-Big East team selections. Not even an honorable mention for the junior guard, who has a game-high 24 points. Second-teamer Andy Rautins of Syracuse is playing like someone who maybe got snubbed from the first-team all-Big East.

** What does it say about the strength of the Big East – and the argument that nine teams from the conference deserve an NCAA bid – that these two teams are playing in the conference tournament quarterfinals? Syracuse is a former No. 1 team and Georgetown is No. 16 in RPI and has the toughest schedule in the nation.

** Nobody better tell Notre Dame coach Mike Brey that his team isn’t a lock to reach the Big Dance. After the Irish beat Seton Hall, 68-56, in the second round Wednesday night, Brey took exception to anyone who billed the matchup as a NCAA Tournament play-in game.

“C’mon,” he said. “It would have been very hard to keep us out before tonight. We’re playing well. We’re one of the best stories in college basketball right now.”

Brey defended Seton Hall as a potential NCAA tournament team. “Right now nobody is going to talk about Seton Hall,” Brey said. “Just give it a few days. Keep Seton Hall on the board. Give it two days and come back and look at the big picture.”

** Notre Dame has never reached the Big East title game since joining the conference in 1996 – or even won two games in the same tournament. The Irish have advanced to the semifinals twice, in 2007, when they lost to eventual champion Georgetown and in 2002, when they lost to eventual champion Connecticut. Pitt fans know the feeling. Pitt needed 18 years in the Big East before they finally won two games at the Garden.

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