For the second straight year, a historic national semifinal will pit UConn (33-4) against BIG EAST-rival Notre Dame (34-3) in the NCAA Championship. Sunday’s national semifinal will be the 37th meeting between the teams, with UConn holding a 29-7 edge in an all-time series that began in 1996. It also will be the eighth matchup between the teams in the last 16 months.
The teams have met six times for the BIG EAST Championship title (UConn is 6-0) and three times in the NCAA Championship, including Sunday’s showdown (Notre Dame is 2-0).
Half of the Final Four
For the second-straight year, the BIG EAST has half of the teams in the Final Four. Notre Dame and Connecticut will once again meet in the national semifinals. Last year, Notre Dame won the matchup, advancing to the title game. The two teams have met three times already this season, with the Irish taking both regular season meetings and the Huskies winning the BIG EAST Championship title to earn the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.
This year both Connecticut and Notre Dame have advanced marking the fifth time the league has had more than one school reach the national semifinals. In addition, it is the sixth straight year a BIG EAST school has advanced to the Final Four, the third time in the last four years the BIG EAST has had two representatives (UConn and Louisville met in 2009).
17 NCAA Teams In The Last Two Years
The BIG EAST has totaled 17 teams in the NCAA tournament over the past two years, including a record nine selections in 2010-11. The league has averaged 8.5 teams during that span, more than any other conference.
Final Four Variety
The BIG EAST had seen four different teams advance to the Final Four since 2007, more than any other conference. Rutgers (2007), Connecticut (2008-12), Louisville (2009) and Notre Dame (2011-12). By comparison, The Big 12 has sent three programs (Oklahoma, Baylor and Texas A&M), the SEC has sent two (Tennessee and LSU), while the Pac12 (Stanford) and ACC (North Carolina) have each sent one.
Bringing Home The Hardware
The BIG EAST has won eight national championships in the last 16 years, including seven titles in the last 12 years. In addition, the league has sent four different programs to the Final Four over the last five seasons, and totaled 18 Final Four teams since 2000, more than any other league.
Nine Teams With 20 Wins or More
The BIG EAST had eight teams with 20 wins or more following the conclusion of the regular-season on Feb. 27, all eight teams were selected for the NCAA tournament. Syracuse earned its’ 20th win against Drexel on March 19 to make it nine BIG EAST teams that have reached the 20-win plateau.
30 Wins and Counting
The league has a pair of 30-wins teams as Notre Dame (34) and Connecticut (33) mark the fifth time the feat has been achieved in conference history.
1995-96: UConn (33-1) and Notre Dame (31-7)
2000-01: UConn (32-3) and Notre Dame (34-2)
2008-09: UConn (39-0) and Louisville (34-5)
2010-11: UConn (35-1) and Notre Dame (31-8)
2011-12: UConn (33-4) and Notre Dame (34-3)
Pair of No. 1’s
The 2012 tournament marks the second time in league history that a pair of No. 1 seeds came from the BIG EAST. The last time that happened was 2001, when Notre Dame and Connecticut were both No. 1 seeds. The two met in the national semifinal in Saint Louis, Mo., and the Irish won, eventually winning the title. In 2012, Connecticut, which earned the league’s automatic berth as the BIG EAST Championship winner, was the No. 1 in the Kingston Region. Notre Dame, which earned an at-large bid, was No. 1 in the Raleigh Region. Both teams won their region.
Another Top-25 Matchup
Connecticut and Notre Dame’s semifinal contest will mark the 24th top-25 matchup this season. With 26 last year, the BIG EAST has 50 in the last two seasons.
Beating The Competition
For the seventh straight year, the BIG EAST complied a nonconference win percentage over .700 during the regular-season going 159-55 (.743).
18 Final Four Appearances
The BIG EAST has had 18 teams advance to the Final Four, including 16 since 2000, more than any other league. This year, both Connecticut and Notre Dame have advanced, marking the fifth time the league has had more than one school reach the national semifinals. The BIG EAST has had at least one Sweet Sixteen team every year since 1993 and at least one team in the Elite Eight every year since 1994.
Final Four appearances
Notre Dame 1997
Notre Dame 2001
Notre Dame 2011
Notre Dame 2012
BIG EAST National Championships
The BIG EAST has won 32 national championships, including eight in women’s basketball. With either UConn or Notre Dame advancing to Tuesday’s title game, the league could earn its ninth women’s basketball title and move ahead of the SEC, which has won eight.
Notre Dame 2001
NCAA Tournament Fact
It is the first time since 1989 - and just the second time ever - that each No. 1 seed has reached the Final Four
Notre Dame junior guard Skylar Diggins recorded the 13th triple-double in NCAA Championship history, and only the second in a regional final. Old Dominion’s Anne Donovan had 20 points, 13 rebounds and 12 blocks in an East Regional final win at Penn State on March 26, 1983. Diggins also posted the third triple-double in school history and 17th all-time by a BIG EAST player.