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Appearances in the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic, at least 23 games on national television and 20 home games in the KFC Yum! Center highlight the 2013-14 University of Louisville men's basketball schedule.
Nearly half of the Cardinals' 31 games will be played against teams that participated in post-season competition last season, including at least seven from the NCAA Tournament (NCAA Tournament: Cincinnati twice, Memphis twice, Temple twice, Western Kentucky, possible North Carolina in the Hall of Fame Classic; NIT: Kentucky, Southern Mississippi; College Basketball Invitational: College of Charleston, Houston twice, possible Richmond in the Hall of Fame Classic; College Insiders.com Tournament: Fairfield, Hartford). Twenty of the defending NCAA Champions' games will be played against teams that won at least 18 games last season.
Many new opponents will appear on the Louisville schedule this season through new agreements and with the Cardinals' initial season in the American Athletic Conference.
"The American should be a highly competitive conference," said U of L Coach Rick Pitino, whose team played the nation's fourth-toughest schedule by the ratings percentage index (RPI) last season. "I certainly don't enjoy the transitional part of our conference affiliation, but this is the best scenario possible in that we still have many partners from the BIG EAST and Conference USA still aligned with us. We look forward to the challenge."
A limited quantity of season tickets in the 300 level corners of the KFC Yum! Center are on sale now for $781 each, averaging $39 per game, and are renewable for future seasons. A payment plan option is available. Visit www.GoCards.com/GetInNow and then call (502) GO-CARDS by September for incentives and seat availability (9am-5pm).
Including a pair of exhibition games, 11 of the Cardinals' first 13 games will be played at home in the KFC Yum! Center, UofL's spectacular 22,000-seat home arena. The Cardinals will face their first outside competition in an exhibition game against Kentucky Wesleyan on Oct. 29 in the KFC Yum! Center. Pikeville, which was the No. 8 overall seed in the 2013 NAIA National Championship, will provide the opposition in U of L's second home exhibition game on Nov. 6.
U of L officially opens its season against College of Charleston on Nov. 9 in the first of four straight home games. Next up for the Cards will be Hofstra on Nov. 12 in the first of four games in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Classic. After a Nov. 15 home game against Cornell, the Cardinals will play the second game in the tournament against Hartford on Nov. 19.
The Cardinals will play their first competition away from home when they face Fairfield on Nov. 23 in the Hall of Fame Classic at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. North Carolina or Richmond await UofL in the final game of the event on Nov. 24. The games will be televised on the ESPN family of networks.
U of L returns to the KFC Yum! Center for a five-game home stand against Southern Mississippi on Nov. 29, Missouri Kansas City -- a team guided by former UofL assistant coach Kareem Richardson -- on Dec. 4, Louisiana Lafayette on Dec. 7, intrastate foe Western Kentucky (ESPN2) on Dec. 14, and Missouri State (ESPN2) on Dec. 17. The Western Kentucky game which will be the 12th Annual Billy Minardi Classic, an event named in memory of Pitino's brother-in-law who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. A visit to FIU in Miami, Fla., on Dec. 21 opens a stretch of four straight road games, followed by a CBS-televised game at intrastate rival Kentucky on Dec. 28.
The Cardinals will face each of the other nine members of the league twice this season, both at home and at their respective venues. The Cardinals close out the calendar year and open play in the new American Athletic Conference with a road trip to UCF in Orlando, Fla. on Dec. 31. A Jan. 4 game at Rutgers opens the new year and closes the road stretch for the Cardinals. League members also include Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Memphis, Temple, SMU and USF. Louisville's Jan. 18 game at Connecticut will be the centerpiece for ESPN's College GameDay telecast.
All of the Cards' 18-game American schedule will be nationally televised on either one of the ESPN family of networks, CBS, or the CBS Sports Network. The American Athletic Conference Tournament will be staged at Memphis' FedEx Forum on March 12-15.
U of L will welcome back three starters and eight lettermen from its successful 2012-13 squad which won the NCAA Championship while winning a school-record 35 games (35-5 mark), ending the season on a 16-game win streak. It was the Cardinals' third NCAA title (also 1980 and 1986) and 10th Final Four. Louisville was the BIG EAST Conference Co-Champions, won the league tournament championship and earned its third consecutive BIG EAST Conference Team Academic Excellence Award, which recognizes the highest collective grade point average in each of the conference's 24 sports.