NEW YORK—The Louisville Cardinals were crowned Big East champions for the first time since joining the conference after they defeated the Syracuse Orange 76-66 Saturday nights at Madison Square Garden.
With the automatic bid, the Cardinals (28-5) will likely be given a 1-seed in next week's NCAA Tournament.
Syracuse (26-9) led 38-30 at half, but was outscored 46-28 in the second stanza, ending their magic carpet ride through the Garden this week.
Eric Devendorf led all scorers with 20 points, and his 84 points in the tournament is a new record for the Big East Tournament.
Jonny Flynn, who scored 11 points and dished out six assists, was named the tournament MVP. Flynn played in 67 minutes in the 6-overtime thriller against Connecticut and all 45 minutes in the semi-final win over West Virginia.
Louisville became only the third No. 1 to win the conference tournament, joining the 2001 Boston College Eagles (now in the ACC) and the 2007 Georgetown Hoyas.
The Cardinals were led by Samardo Samuels, who scored a team-high 15 points, and Earl Clark, who had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Six players in all scored in double figures for L'ville.
The field of 65 will be released at 6 p.m. Sunday on CBS.
The question becomes, how many Big East schools will dance?