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Irish to begin tournament action tonight against No. 6 seed Louisville

Andrew Owens | Sunday, March 6, 2011

HARTFORD, Conn. – The quest for an elusive Big East tournament championship, a feat that has evaded Notre Dame (24-6, 13-3 Big East) throughout its membership in the conference, begins tonight against Louisville (20-11, 10-6).

The No. 3 seed Irish and No. 6 seed Louisville will tip off at 8 p.m. at the XL Center. Although the Irish are heavily favored, they cannot afford to look past the Cardinals with potential matchups against No. 2 DePaul and No. 1 Connecticut looming.

Notre Dame defeated Louisville, 80-60, on Jan. 12 at the Purcell Pavilion. Six Irish players totaled double-digits in points. Junior guard Natalie Novosel recorded 12 points, five rebounds and five assists in the victory.

The win snapped a Louisville four-game winning streak, in which two victories came against ranked opponents.

The biggest difference between this game and the matchup from earlier this season is the absence of freshman guard Kayla McBride. She left the team for personal reasons a couple weeks following the game and will not be able to help the Irish this time around. McBride scored 12 points in the Notre Dame win on Jan. 12.

When the Cardinals win, they are usually led by their defense. In most victories this season, they have held their opponents to under 60 points and, in many cases, under 50 points.

Tonight’s matchup can be seen on ESPNU at 8 p.m.