Big East thriving in NCAA tournament

AUSTIN, Texas – Since she arrived here Thursday, Marquette head coach Terri Mitchell could not stop talking about the value of playing in the Big East conference.

"We feel like the experiences that we've had over the last two years in the Big East have prepared us extremely well for any opponent that we're going to see in the NCAA tournament," Mitchell said Friday.

She repeated herself on Sunday.

"I think the experience we had in the Big East will be extremely important as we play a great Oklahoma team tomorrow night," Mitchell said.

In addition to being repetitive, she might be on to something:

Big East schools went 7-1 in first-round games and broke an NCAA record in the process. No conference has ever had that many teams advance to the second round.

The Big East almost went undefeated. DePaul was set to advance, but with 2.5 seconds left Georgia Tech's Jacqua Williams hit a one-handed runner in the lane to lift the Yellow Jackets to a 55-54 victory.

In second-round action Monday, eleventh-seeded West Virginia lost 49-43 to third-seeded Louisana State, and sixth-seeded Louisville lost 67-58 to third-seeded Arizona State.

Top-seeded Connecticut, fourth-seeded Rutgers, eighth-seeded Pittsburgh and ninth-seeded Notre Dame play tonight.

Just like home

Redshirt sophomore Kelly Lam played her freshman season at Oklahoma before transferring to Marquette, but she's not the only Golden Eagle with ties to the Sooner State. Senior Efueko Osagie-Landry is a native of Oklahoma City and graduated from Douglass High School in 2002.

As a senior she was named City Conference Player of the Year after averaging 19 points per game.

Losses a family affair

The round of 32 has not been kind to the Landry clan. Three of the four family members playing in the NCAA tournament have been eliminated at this stage. It's likely the fourth will follow suit tonight.

Osagie-Landry's sixth-seeded Marquette squad fell to third-seeded Oklahoma in the second round. Her husband, Marcus Landry, and his Wisconsin teammates lost in the second round of the men's tournament to seventh-seeded UNLV 74-68 Sunday in Chicago.

Marcus recorded four points and three rebounds for the second-seeded Badgers.

Osagie-Landry's brother-in-law, Carl Landry, also lost in the second round Sunday. Carl led ninth-seeded Purdue with 18 points and 10 rebounds, but it was not enough against top-seeded Florida.

Later in the day Osagie-Landry's sister-in-law, Shenita Landry, scored nine points in Temple's 64-61 victory over Nebraska in the first round of the women's tournament.