Georgetown, Louisville head to Manhattan with No. 1 seed on line

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

Georgetown and Louisville are big attraction for Big East tourney. (USATSI)

Turns out, the Big East tournament will have plenty riding on it aside from the obvious and awkward breakup-as-a-backdrop.

That's because Louisville, a No. 1 seed in Jerry Palm's bracket entering Saturday, will remain there when Palm next updates the grid, meaning Rick Pitino's program will start the final as-we-know-it Big East tournament with its destiny in its hands. That's because Louisville took care of business in fine fashion, beating Notre Dame (in Louisville) 73-57 on Saturday night.

It was redemption for the five-overtime epic the two teams played exactly a month ago, a 104-101 Notre Dame win in South Bend. Good for Louisville, which is riding a seven-game winning streak, having not lost since the Irish took them out in that classic.

And what of Georgetown, No. 2 in the South as of Saturday night in Palm's bracket? It was on a top line until its fall at Villanova earlier this week. We detailed plenty from the Hoyas' last regular-season game against arch rival Syracuse, which saw Georgetown leave the Verizon Center a 61-39 victor Saturday. It was the lowest point total for the Orange in 51 years, meaning the worst offensive output for SU in the Jim Boeheim era.

These are well-placed and well-timed wins. Georgetown and Louisville end the season 14-4 in the Big East, sharing the league crown with Marquette.

The wins catapult Louisville and Georgetown into Manhattan with something coveted on the line: a No. 1 seed. The last go-round of the traditional Big East will offer up a lot of reasons to lament, be wistful, be cynical, anything like that. But we'll also almost definitely get a few more good/memorable moments -- and I like the fact there are two heavyweights who will be on opposite sides of the bracket, giving more meaning to big-conference league tournaments.

You can say a No. 1 seed doesn't mean much, especially in a year like this, but it certainly is a massive carrot that dangles for any team within reach of a bite.

And that's how its been for most of the Big East's existence. By the time teams assemble on the big-and-skinny island, in the heart of it, where 31st and 33rd straight lock with Seventh and Eighth Avenue, a No. 1 seed is either on the line or sewn up. Fitting that things have wound up this way again.

There is no guarantee either team will earn a spot on the top line, but at worst both have cases to end the season, and in a year like this, that's as good as any team or conference could ask for.

For more college basketball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCBB on Twitter, like us on Facebook and subscribe to the thrice-a-week podcast on iTunes. You can follow Matt Norlander on Twitter here: @MattNorlander.

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