The University of Louisville's 2011-12 men's basketball season in the BIG EAST Conference will include another challenging slate of 18 games, including two games each against Syracuse, Pittsburgh and DePaul.
Louisville's home conference opponents will include Connecticut, DePaul, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, USF, Syracuse and Villanova. The Cardinals' nine league road games will be at Cincinnati, DePaul, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall, Syracuse and West Virginia.
Louisville is one of seven BIG EAST teams which have received mention in the early rankings (also Syracuse, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Marquette, Cincinnati and Villanova), including two of the Cardinals' repeat opponents. U of L is fifth nationally in an early FOXSports.com preseason ranking, seventh by CBSSports.com (Gary Parrish), ninth by ESPN.com (Andy Katz), 11th by SI.com (Luke Winn) and 12th by SportingNews.com (Mike DeCourcy). The Cardinals will also face three non-conference foes among the early top ten teams in Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Memphis.
"We have one of the premier commissioners in athletics, but whoever's doing our scheduling must be doing it with a Ouija board," said U of L men's basketball coach Rick Pitino. "How can you play two of the top three (projected) teams in the league twice and have to play another top team that's a rival game (at Cincinnati) on the road for a second straight year? It just doesn't make any sense to me. West Virginia has a similar argument. They must be doing it with a Ouija board."
U of L will welcome back three starters and 10 lettermen, as well as adding a stellar four-person recruiting class for the upcoming season. The Cardinals exceeded expectations last season by tying for third in the BIG EAST Conference, earning 20 wins for their ninth-straight season, reaching the title game of the BIG EAST Championship, defeating seven Top 25 teams and rising to as high as 11th in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls.
A complete schedule, including dates and times for the BIG EAST games, is expected in early September.