Men’s Lacrosse Regular-Season Title At Stake Saturday
The biggest game of the BIG EAST men’s lacrosse season takes place Saturday when No. 15/11 Villanova hosts No. 4/5 Notre Dame (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU). Both schools come in at 4-0 in BIG EAST play and the winner will earn at least a share of the conference’s regular-season title. A Villanova win would clinch the No. 1 seed in the first BIG EAST Men’s Lacrosse Championship for the Wildcats. Saturday’s game is the second half of a BIG EAST doubleheader on ESPNU. Georgetown visits No. 14/15 Syracuse at 3 p.m. in the first part of the telecast.
Louisville Takes Control Of BIG EAST Softball Race
Louisville, which is ranked No. 9 in this week’s national coaches’ poll, took control of the race for the BIG EAST regular-season softball title with a doubleheader sweep of No. 17 USF Wednesday. The Cardinals took the first game 9-0 and were 4-1 winners in the nightcap. The wins lifted the Cardinals to 40-2 overall and 11-2 in BIG EAST play. Syracuse, which has won 12 of its last 13 games and has won the last two BIG EAST tournament titles, joins Louisville in the drivers’ seat as the Orange take a 9-2 BIG EAST mark (32-10 overall) into this weekend’s three-game series against Rutgers.
USF Gains Lead In BIG EAST Baseball Race
USF has taken a one-game lead on second-place Connecticut in the BIG EAST baseball standings, while the Bulls are two games ahead of Louisville and St. John’s, which are tied for third. A big part of USF’s success has been the return of six-foot-eight lefty Andrew Barbosa to the starting rotation. Barbosa – an All-BIG EAST selection in 2010 – was limited to just two appearances in 2011 before undergoing Tommy John surgery. This year, Barbosa has gone 4-3 with a 2.30 earned-run average and has struck out 62 batters in 47 innings. He has allowed just 24 hits and hasn’t allowed a triple or a home run this season.
Four Women’s Lacrosse Teams in the NCAA RPI Top 20
The BIG EAST has four teams represented in the most recent update of the NCAA RPI, which is used as a factor for selection to the NCAA Championship. Syracuse, which has won 10 straight games, is No. 1 in the ranking, thanks to seven wins against top-20 opponents this year. Notre Dame checks in at No. 7 in the RPI this week while Loyola is No. 16 and Georgetown is No. 19.
Notre Dame Earns Top Seeds In BIG EAST Tennis Championships
The BIG EAST Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships got underway Thursday morning in Tampa, Fla., with Notre Dame’s men’s and women’s teams seeded No. 1 in both brackets. The Irish men, who are No. 39 in the most recent Intercollegiate Tennis Association ranking, look for their first BIG EAST title since 2008 and hope to snap Louisville’s three-year run atop the conference. The Notre Dame women, meanwhile, have won four straight BIG EAST titles and have taken the trophy home six times in the last seven years. The Irish are No. 19 in the ITA rankings this week behind the doubles tandem of Shannon Mathews and Kristy Frilling, which is ranked No. 5 nationally. Play in the BIG EAST Championships continues through Sunday with full coverage on BIGEAST.org.
Women’s Golf Championship Starts Sunday In Orlando
The eight BIG EAST women’s golf programs descend on Orlando, Fla., Sunday for the 2012 BIG EAST Championship at Reunion Resort & Club. In the nine-year history of the women’s championship, Louisville and Notre Dame have won four titles each, while St. John’s has one championship to its credit. Those teams comprise three of the top four seeds at this year’s event, but USF enters as the 2012 favorite based on the schools’ Golfstat rating. Live scoring and complete coverage of the championship will be available on BIGEAST.org.
Notre Dame Moves Into National Rowing Rankings
Notre Dame’s women’s rowing team moved back into the national rankings this week as the Irish stand at No. 17 in the CRCA/USRowing coaches’ poll. The Irish won seven of the 12 races they entered at the Virginia Invitational, with all but one of the losses coming to top-ranked Virginia. Notre Dame scored three wins against Clemson and enjoyed a sweep of Sunday’s races against Penn and San Diego.
BIG EAST Track & Field Championships Begin May 4
The spring championship season continues in the first weekend of May as the BIG EAST Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships are held on the campus of USF May 4-6. Full coverage of the championship will be available on BIGEAST.org, but fans can follow their teams’ contenders through the regular season via the national performance list.