Big East Tournament Tickets for Sale

At the 2004 championship, Connecticut defeated Pittsburgh by the score of 61-58 for its sixth BIG EAST Championship title and its fourth in the last seven seasons. This year's Championship will feature 11 teams - Boston College, Connecticut, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Providence, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Syracuse, Villanova and West Virginia - with the top five seeds earning first-round byes.

Big East Conference Basketball Tournament Champions By Year
1980 Georgetown
1981 Syracuse
1982 Georgetown
1983 St. John's
1984 Georgetown
1985 Georgetown
1986 St. John's
1987 Georgetown
1988 Syracuse
1989 Georgetown
1990 Connecticut
1991 Seton Hall
1992 Syracuse
1993 Seton Hall
1994 Providence
1995 Villanova
1996 Connecticut
1997 Boston College
1998 Connecticut
1999 Connecticut
2000 St. John's
2001 Boston College
2002 Connecticut
2003 Pittsburgh
2004 Connecticut
The Big East was founded in 1979 when Providence, St. John's, Georgetown, and Syracuse invited Seton Hall, Connecticut, and Boston College to form a conference. The league is fairly old compared to most of the 30-odd NCAA Division I conferences, but not compared to the 100-year old Big Ten or Ivy League. 5 of the founding 7 schools are Catholic schools (Providence, St. John's, Georgetown, Seton Hall, and Boston College). With the additions of Notre Dame and Villanova, and the planned additions of Marquette and DePaul (and loss of Boston College), the Big East represents the majority of the large, athletically competitive Catholic schools. The Big East is also arguably the most academically rigorous of the athletically competitive conferences. All of its basketball members are Division I schools.

The seven founding schools (Providence, St. John's, Georgetown, Syracuse, Seton Hall, UConn, and Boston College) brought the conference to reality in 1979, where it existed primarily as a basketball conference. Villanova joined the following year, followed by Pittsburgh in 1982. 1985 was the conference's high-water mark with respect to basketball, as three teams (Villanova, St. John's, and Georgetown) all advanced to the Final Four, culminating in Villanova's stunning victory over the Patrick Ewing-led Hoyas, considered one of the greatest upsets in college basketball history. Until the retirement of Coach John Thompson, Georgetown was one of the primary powers in the conference, led by Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo, and Allen Iverson. Jim Boeheim has coached Syracuse to three Final Fours, winning the national championship in 2003 with the help of freshman sensation Carmelo Anthony.

More recently, basketball in the Big East has been dominated by UConn. The men's program, coached by Jim Calhoun and led by such stars as Khalid El-Amin, Rip Hamilton, Donyell Marshall, and Emeka Okafor has averaged nearly 26 wins a year over the last fifteen seasons and won championships in 1999 and 2004. Not to be outdone, Coach Geno Auriemma has led the women's team to five national championships (including four in the last five years) and two undefeated seasons (1995 and 2002). Three of the first five players taken in the 2003 WNBA draft were from UConn, as was top 2004 pick Diana Taurasi. Under the strength of the UConn program, and to a lesser extent Boston College and 2001 national champion Notre Dame, the Big East has emerged as one of the major powers in women's college basketball.