Fourteen Big East women’s basketball teams unleashed a huge sigh of relief Monday.
Each team in the Big East plays every other team once, and then has one repeat opponent for a home-and-away series.
Notre Dame and UConn, which both reached last season’s Final Four, are again paired as repeat opponents. The Irish played the Huskies twice in the regular-season in 2010-11. They also met in the Big East tournament championship, and in the Final Four.
Notre Dame lost the first three meetings, but beat Connecticut in the Final Four to reach the national championship game.
Notre Dame’s complete schedule will be announced later. In addition to the home-and-away with Connecticut, the Irish host DePaul, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Providence, South Florida, Villanova and West Virginia. They will travel to play Cincinnati, Georgetown, Louisville, Rutgers, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Syracuse.
According to the Big East, the rationale in determining the repeat opponents is to provide additional television inventory, for competitive issues/RPI implications as well as geographic rivalries/minimizing travel costs.
Only three repeat opponent matchups from the 2010-11 season remained the same: Connecticut-Notre Dame, Pittsburgh-West Virginia and Providence-Villanova.
ESPN has eight Big East teams ranked in its pre-season poll: Notre Dame (No. 3), Connecticut (No. 6), Georgetown (No. 9), Louisville (No. 11), Rutgers (No. 17), DePaul (No. 19), St. John’s (No. 25) and Syracuse (No. 30).