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The 5th Greatest Basketball Program In The South: Louisville Cardinals

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on May 14, 2008

Louisville Cardinals

Location: Louisville, Kentucky

Nickname: Cardinals

Reason For Nickname: The Cardinal is Kentucky’s official state bird.

Colors: Red, White, and Black

Conference: Big East

Arena: Freedom Hall (built 1956, capacity 18,865)

Postseason Appearances:

NCAA Appearances: 34 Appearances, 8 Final Fours, 2 National Championships

NIT Appearances: 14 Appearances, one Championship

Conference Championships: Conference USA Tournament Champions (2003, 2005), Conference USA Regular Season Champions (2005), Metro Conference Regular-Season Champions (1977, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1994), Metro Tournament Champions (1978, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995), Missouri Valley Champions (1967, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975)

Coaching Legacy: Bernard “Peck” Hickman is considered by many to be the man who put Louisville basketball on the map. In 23 seasons in Louisville, his teams never had a losing season. He would soon be followed by Denny Crum, who would lead the Cardinals to two National Championships in the 1980’s before retiring in 2001. Today, Rick Pitino is the latest coaching legend to grace the sidelines in the River City.

Big Man On Campus: Louisville basketball can boast players like Wes Unseld, Pervis Ellison, Darrell Griffith, Milt Wagner, Francisco Garcia, and DaJuan Wheat as part of their storied basketball history. Ellison is considered by many to be Louisville’s greatest player as he led the Cardinals to national success in the 1980’s.

Rivalries: For nearly six decades, the University of Louisville and the University of Memphis had a heated and storied rivalry. While the end of the rivalry came in 2005 when Louisville bolted for the Big East, the rivalry still holds a special place in many Tiger fans’ hearts. But for the most part, the Louisville-Kentucky basketball rivalry is best known. Other rivalries include Marquette, Cincinnati, and Georgetown.

Did You Know?: The high-five was introduced at Louisville during the 1980’s with Darrell Griffith


5 Responses to “The 5th Greatest Basketball Program In The South: Louisville Cardinals”

  1. MoonDog said

    How ironic you posted this today when news breaks the Big East is talking to Memphis about joining. For Tiger fans, it would be the ultimate to have an opportunity to renew their rivalry with Louisville.

  2. Crimsonelf said

    The author’s rankings of best college bball programs in the south is incorrect, UL should be #4. No dissing the Hoyas, but UL has a greater tradition: more all-time wins and more NCAA tourney success.

  3. Matt said

    Thanks, Crimsonelf!

    Usually people don’t respectfully disagree and instead just stir the pot. We appreciate your opinions and thanks for reading!

    Obviously this list was one man’s opinion and it was a mighty tall task to boot.

  4. Cookie said

    That is LAUGHABLE to say that Georgetown is a better basketball program than Louisville! Did the person who wrote this list even look at statistics, or did he just decide that since Georgetown is on the East coast and gets more love from the media that they must be a better program? Look at the numbers:
    NCAA championships: UL-2, Gtown-1.
    Final 4’s: UL-8, Gtown-4
    Plus, UL won the NAIB championship in 1948 and the NIT championship in 1956, back when those were the elite tournaments.
    All-time wins, all-time tourney wins, all-time winning percentage, etc etc, Louisville crushes Gtown.

  5. Cookie, I am fully aware of the tradition that Louisville has in basketball. Hell, I’m convinced that certain people believe that Kentucky shouldn’t be number 1 on my list. I know that Louisvile won the 1956 NIT Championship and I did mention how Peck Hickman put Louisville on the map. Anyway when Memphis beats a tattoo on Louisville’s ass October 10th, don’t come crying to me.

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