Louisville has "greatest day" in history

Louisville has "greatest day" in history

The University of Louisville is the toast of the college basketball world this morning after what was a memorable Sunday in Indianapolis and Oklahoma City. The U of L men's team tagged Duke and earned a return trip to the Final Four, while the U of L women's team stunned No. 1 and defending national champion Baylor. Cardinal Authority spoke to U of L athletic director Tom Jurich about the day.

The University of Louisville has a storied athletic program with numerous national championships and other memorable feats.

But on Sunday, the Cardinals had one of the most unbelievable runs in school history, earning a spot in the men's basketball Final Four and the women's team pulling off what ESPN called "perhaps the biggest upset in the history of the NCAA Tournament," by stunning No. 1 Baylor.

"This has to be the greatest day in the history of the University of Louisville athletic department," U of L athletic director Tom Jurich told Cardinal Authority late Sunday night. "It's been pretty unreal.

"I'm just glad to play a little small part in it all. Unbelievable."

Jurich was in Indianapolis watching the men's team and participated in the celebration on the floor before he headed back to Louisville.

He said his mother had taped the women's game at his home and U of L executive senior associate athletic director Julie Hermann was at the women's game in Oklahoma City and "was texting me every single minute."

Jurich said the women's stunning 82-81 victory over Baylor to move onto the Elite Eight against Tennessee was "really amazing." Baylor had won 74 of its past 74 games and was a 24-point favorite.

"Jeff (Walz) is an incredible coach," Jurich said. "He devised a game plan that was brilliant and he had the confidence in his kids. He said the kids followed that game plan perfectly. The kids had confidence in Jeff and he had confidence in them.

"Not a lot of people gave them a chance."

But Walz and company pulled it off and grabbed every headline – some even from the men's team who had completed a run to the Final Four less than an hour before Monique Reid hit the two clinching free throws for the women.

"Unreal," Jurich said. "It really was an unreal day."

After watching the men's team take out Duke 85-63 in the Elite Eight after having to watch teammate Kevin Ware go down with a broken right leg in the first half, Jurich called them "a special, special group."

"I couldn't be prouder of a bunch of kids," Jurich said. "These kids play so hard and they have defined the word team. We couldn't be more proud of them.

"That team is so close. They love each other and you saw that. I personally believe why this team is so good, because of the chemistry. But you put that coach with those guys and have that chemistry, it's an incredible ingredient."

The men will now play Wichita State in the Final Four in Saturday at 6:09 p.m. in Atlanta. The women meet Tennessee on Tuesday night at 9 p.m. in Oklahoma City with a chance to go to the Final Four on the line.

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