Sports

Pitino not losing sleep over tourney

For the fifth-ranked Louisville Cardinals (25-5), winning the Big East regular-season title allows them to head to New York for the this week's Big East Tournament knowing they won't have to play second-seeded Pittsburgh or third-seeded Connecticut unless they reach the finals.

Though Louisville beat then-No. 1 Pittsburgh in January, the Panthers have made a habit of ending Louisville's visit to Madison Square Garden early. Pittsburgh has knocked the Cardinals out of the conference tournament each of the last three years. Louisville is just 1-3 in the tournament since moving over from Conference USA in 2005.

Not that Coach Rick Pitino thinks a deep Big East run is necessary to bolster his team's hopes for a No. 1 seed when the NCAA Tournament begins next week.

"We want to win, we want to win another championship," Pitino said. "But we just spent three months to win a championship. We're not going to beat ourselves up over three days."

Maybe, but making it to Saturday's finals would certainly send a message that Louisville's 16-2 run through the Big East was no fluke.

The only person who doesn't seem consumed by where the Cardinals stand nationally is Pitino.

"I don't think about it," he said. "I really don't. I think you've got to do it on the court and we've done it on the court. At halftime of the Wednesday night game (at the tournament) we're going to get a trophy that says 'Big East champions.' "

DePaul 67, Cincinnati 57: Will Walker and Dar Tucker scored 17 points apiece, and DePaul ended its 18-game losing streak with a victory in the opening round of the Big East Tournament.

The 16th-seeded Blue Demons (9-23) advanced to the second round against eighth-seeded Providence on Wednesday.

Mac Koshwal had 12 points and nine rebounds for DePaul, which last won Dec. 28 against Alcorn State.

St. John's 64, Georgetown 59: Paris Horne scored 23 points and St. John's got its first win in the Big East Tournament since 2003.

Sean Evans had 12 points and 13 rebounds for the 13th-seeded Red Storm (16-16). St. John's advanced to the second round where it will face fifth-seeded and 21st-ranked Marquette.

Chris Wright had 14 points and Greg Monroe added 13 for the 12th-seeded Hoyas (16-14), who were ranked as high as No. 9 in the country this season but have lost 11 of their last 15 games.

Notre Dame 61, Rutgers 50: Tory Jackson scored all 12 of his points in the second half to lead Notre Dame over Rutgers in the opening round of the Big East Tournament.

Kyle McAlarney added 11 points for the 10th-seeded Fighting Irish (18-13), who will play seventh-seeded West Virginia in the second round on Wednesday.

Cleveland State 57, No. 17 Butler 54: Cedric Johnson had 19 points, eight assists and seven rebounds to lead Cleveland State to an upset of Butler in the Horizon League championship at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Bryan Station graduate Shelvin Mack led the Bulldogs with 18 points and nine rebounds.

Arkansas: Freshman Jason Henry has been suspended. Coach John Pelphrey said the suspension stemmed from a violation of team rules. He did not elaborate. Henry has played in 23 games, averaging 8.0 points.

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