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Irish Fall to Cardinals in BIG EAST Semifinals

Mar 16, 2013, 2:33 AM EDT

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

As it’s often said, “The third time’s the charm.”

But such was not the case tonight for the #24 Notre Dame men’s basketball team. For the third year in a row, the Irish met Louisville in the BIG EAST tournament semifinals.

And for the third year in a row, it was the Cardinals who advanced to Saturday night.

Playing in its final BIG EAST tournament before heading to the ACC, Notre Dame’s quest to reach its first conference championship game came up short, 69-57 in front of a spectacular crowd at Madison Square Garden.

While it’s the third straight semifinal loss to Louisville, it’s actually the fourth consecutive year the Irish have lost on Friday night (They fell to West Virginia in 2010).

Losing never feels good, especially against arguably your biggest rival. But you can bet this one stings a little more for Mike Brey‘s squad since it won’t get another crack at the Cardinals until the 2014-15 season.

Still, the team can’t dwell on tonight’s loss. The Irish are a lock for an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament, and have some work to do if they hope to make a run deep into March. They played well against Rutgers, and got a big win against Marquette on Thursday. And as Brey noted in his post-game press conference, Louisville is poised to be a #1 seed when the bracket is announced on Sunday.

“We had our chances. We were right there,” he said. “So I think there’s a lot for us to feel good about, that this tournament maybe helped get us tougher and more confident for next week.”

Stay tuned later in the weekend, as Fighting Irish Digital Media will bring you complete coverage of Selection Sunday. For more on the game, check out the recap on UND.com.

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