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Cardinals Too Much for Flynn, 'Cuse in Title Game

Chris BrooksCorrespondent IMarch 14, 2009

NEW YORKThe 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?

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