NEW YORK (WPRI) — The Big East Tournament is underway at Madison Square Garden, but the Providence College Friars had a bit of waiting to do before taking the court for their first game.

The 5-seed Friars got some practice in Wednesday ahead of their matchup with rival UConn. They’ll take on the 4-seed Huskies at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

The two teams split the season series this year, with PC getting a 73-61 win at home back in January and UConn following up with an 87-69 victory last month.

Not only that, but these two charter members of the conference are also tied in Big East Tournament history. In their four meetings so far, each side has two wins. Thursday’s showdown will be their first meeting in the tournament since 1998.

“There won’t be an empty seat in that building,” PC head coach Ed Cooley said Wednesday. “I’m pretty sure Amtrak, the trains, everything will be filled. There will be a lot of emotion, there’ll be a lot of pride in the building.”

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“You have two fan bases that absolutely hate one another, and that’s what it’s all about,” he added. “There’s not a lot of love lost between Providence and Connecticut.”

The Friars earned 13 Big East wins for the second consecutive season and second time in team history. Cooley is the only Friar coach to lead the team to 12 or more wins in the conference in a season, and he’s done that three times.

Providence has recorded 19 or more wins overall in nine of Cooley’s 12 seasons.

“It should a good game,” Cooley said. “They hope we’re bad, I hope they’re bad, and I hope the Friars can win.”

The Big East Tournament is sold out.

12 Sports Director Morey Hershgordon is at Madison Square Garden for the Big East Tournament. Stay with 12 News for in-depth coverage on air and online.

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