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Big East Basketball Schedule Set

The Louisville basketball team will play Georgetown, Marquette and Rutgers twice as part of a Big East schedule that will include 18 games for the first time.

U of L is the only team in the conference that has to play two teams expected to be in the preseason top 25 twice.

In addition to the three home-and-home contests, the Cards will host Cincinnati, Notre Dame, St. John's, Villanova, Syracuse and Bob Huggins and West Virginia, a team they did not play a year ago. Their away schedule includes Connecticut, Depaul, Pittsburgh, Providence, Seton Hall and South Florida.

"This is as competitive a league schedule as I've seen in the Big East," said U of L Men's Basketball Coach Rick Pitino. "I'm not overjoyed with the selection process for the repeat games, but this league schedule will certainly be entertaining for our fans and competitive for our players."

Now I love Pitino, but it's quotes like these that makes it hard to take him seriously some times. It's only been two years since U of L was saddled with a conference schedule that included four games against eventual No. 1 seeds, and six against NCAA Tournament teams. Perhaps this year's schedule will end up being more difficult than '05-'06's, but right now it seems like a bit of an absurd statement to make.  

For the second year in a row Louisville isn't playing Cincinnati twice, which I again find kind of disappointing. This is also the first year Connecticut hasn't been on the schedule twice, so perhaps Tranghese and company have backed off trying to force that rivalry. I can't tell whether or not the Big East office is pushing the Marquette rivalry, or whether them being on the schedule twice is simply a product of both programs being good again, but either way I'm OK with seeing Pitino V. Crean multiple times in a season.

I don't quite understand why we're being forced to go to Pitt when our lone game against the Panthers last year was in The Pete as well. I suppose I'll take it if it means that Bob Huggins will be making his sure-to-be pleasant Freedom Hall return this season.