Cardinals-Irish Headlines Big East Weekend

By Alex H.

With the split between the Big East football schools and the Catholic Seven looking like it will come ahead of the 2014-15 season, the conference seems intent on providing one of the most intriguing seasons in recent history.

This weekend, the Big East serves up a slate of games that could have a huge impact on the conference standings, starting with a pair of ranked matchups.

No. 11 Louisville at No. 25 Notre Dame

Rick Pitino will look to lead Louisville past Notre Dame in Saturday's primetime game.

No. 11 Louisville (19-4, 7-3 Big East) will look to gain ground on Syracuse and Marquette this weekend, but traveling to No. 25 Notre Dame (18-5, 6-4 Big East) could prove troublesome for Rick Pitino’s squad.

The Cardinals have rebounded from three straight losses – which came after the side ranked No. 1 in the AP poll – with three wins in a row. A fourth will put Louisville within a breath of the top of the Big East standings.

Notre Dame came up short against Syracuse on Monday, snapping a three-game winning streak in the process. The Irish has won two of its last three at home, and is 13-2 all told when playing at Purcell Pavilion this season.

Louisville holds a 13-5 record over the Irish since 1979-80, but it was Notre Dame that scored the double-overtime victory in last season’s fixture. The Cardinals took revenge in the Big East tournament however, winning a semifinal game 64-50 on the way to winning the tournament outright.

Louisville enters the game as favorite, with the spread at 4.5. The Cardinals are 12-10-1 ATS this season, including a 6-4-0 ATS record at home and a 12-9-1 ATS record when considered the favorite.

Notre Dame is an even 10-10-0 ATS this season, with a 6-7-0 ATS record on the road and a 1-1-0 ATS record as the underdog.

The total is 131. Louisville is 9-11-0 in favor of the under this season, while Notre Dame is 9-8-0, favoring the over.

No. 23 Pittsburgh at No. 17 Cincinnati

Sean Kilpatrick and the Cincinnati Bearcats will look to avoid a defeat at the hands of Pittsburgh.

The second Big East ranked game sees No. 23 Pittsburgh (19-5, 7-4 Big East) travel to No. 17 Cincinnati (18-5, 6-4 Big East) on Saturday evening.

Pittsburgh has won two straight and six of seven, proving to be a tough side along the way. Wins over Syracuse and Georgetown have stood out, but losses to Rutgers, Marquette and Louisville have hindered the side. The Panthers also lost 70-61 at home to Cincinnati on Dec. 31.

After a 1-2 start to conference play, Cincinnati looked to be on the up. A loss to Syracuse was a minor blip (against a better side) but Wednesday’s 54-50 loss to Providence has alarm bells ringing.

The Bearcats are 10-3 at home, and will look to take advantage of a Pittsburgh side that is 3-2 on the road and 2-3 against teams ranked in the top 25.

The line opened with the sides Even, but Cincinnati has scored an edge of late with the spread moving to 1.5. The Bearcats are 9-10-0 ATS this season, but have been terrible at covering in home games (2-8-0 ATS). Pittsburgh meanwhile is 9-9-0 ATS, with a 3-3-0 ATS record on the road, and a 2-1-0 ATS record as the underdog.

The total is 121. Pittsburgh is 9-7-0 in favor of the over, but Cincinnati has gone 5-13-0, with the total going under considerably more often than over.

Around the Conference

No. 20 Georgetown (16-4, 6-3 Big East) travels to Rutgers (12-9, 3-7 Big East) looking to climb the AP polls and move one step closer to the top of the conference. The Hoyas have won four on the bounce, including big wins over Notre Dame and Louisville, which comes as part of a six from seven winning streak. The Scarlet Knights meanwhile have lost five in a row and six of seven. Georgetown is a four-point favorite.

No. 24 Marquette (16-5, 7-2 Big East) will host DePaul (10-12, 1-8 Big East), looking to put pressure on Syracuse at the top of the conference. The Golden Eagles are winners of nine of the last 11, while the Blue Demons have lost seven straight and nine of 10. Marquette is a 15-point favorite.

The Big East’s other ranked side, No. 9 Syracuse (19-3, 7-2 Big East) will take to the court on Sunday, hosting St. John’s (15-8, 7-4 Big East). Losses to Villanova and Pittsburgh hurt the Orange, but a win over Notre Dame on Monday has the side pointed in the right direction again. The Red Storm – winners of six of seven – will be tough to beat though.


Big East Schedule (in full)


No. 20 Georgetown at Rutgers

DePaul at No. 24 Marquette

South Florida at Villanova

No. 23 Pittsburgh at No. 17 Cincinnati

No. 11 Louisville at No. 25 Notre Dame


Connecticut at Seton Hall

St. John’s at No. 9 Syracuse