Louisville Cardinals men's basketball
The Louisville Cardinals men's basketball team is the men's college basketball program representing the University of Louisville (U of L) in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) of NCAA Division I. The Cardinals have officially won two NCAA championships in 1980 and 1986 (with the 2013 title being vacated); and have officially been to 8 Final Fours (with the 2012 and 2013 appearances being vacated) in 38 official NCAA tournament appearances while compiling 61 tournament wins.
|Louisville Cardinals men's basketball|
|University||University of Louisville|
|All-time record||1803–901 (.667)|
|Athletic director||Vince Tyra|
|Head coach||Chris Mack (2nd season)|
|Conference||Atlantic Coast Conference|
|Arena||KFC Yum! Center (2010–present)|
Freedom Hall (1956–2010)
|Student section||"the 'Villens"|
|Colors||Red and Black|
|NCAA Tournament Champions|
|1980, 1986, 2013*|
|NCAA Tournament Final Four|
|1959, 1972, 1975, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1986, 2005, 2012*, 2013*|
|NCAA Tournament Elite Eight|
|1959, 1972, 1975, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1997, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2012*, 2013*, 2015*|
|NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen|
|1951, 1959, 1961, 1967, 1968, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2012*, 2013*, 2014*, 2015*|
|NCAA Tournament Appearances|
|1951, 1959, 1961, 1964, 1967, 1968, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012*, 2013*, 2014*, 2015*, 2017, 2019|
|Conference Tournament Champions|
|1928, 1929, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2012*, 2013*, 2014*|
|Conference Regular Season Champions|
|1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1994, 2005, 2009, 2013*, 2014*|
|*Vacated by NCAA|
Due to an FBI criminal investigation into illegal benefits and actions by college basketball coaches, financial advisers, and others, on September 27, 2017, head coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich were placed on administrative leave and were later fired. Two days later, assistant David Padgett, a former star player under Pitino at Louisville, was named as acting head coach. On February 20, 2018, the NCAA vacated the 2013 NCAA title. On March 27, 2018, it was announced that the University of Louisville signed Chris Mack to a seven year contract as head coach.
"Peck" Hickman era (1944–1967)Edit
Hickman led Louisville to its first championship on a national level by winning the NAIB Tournament in 1948. In 1956, led by All-American Charlie Tyra, the Cardinals won the NIT Championship. In 1956 his team was placed on two years probation, to include bans on postseason play, by the NCAA due to recruiting violations. In 1959, Louisville made its first NCAA Final Four appearance behind the play of All-American Don Goldstein.
The Cardinals never had a losing season in Hickman's 23 seasons as head coach. He coached 11 20-win teams, appeared in five NCAA tournaments, coached six NIT appearances and finished with a 443–183 overall record, a .708 winning percentage that ranks him in the top 45 all time.
John Dromo (1967–1971)Edit
John Dromo was Hickman's assistant for 17 years and succeeded him at head coach in 1967. In four seasons as head coach, Dromo led the Cardinals to a 68–23 record (.747 winning percentage) and the 1967 Missouri Valley Conference title.
A heart attack during the 1970–71 season forced Dromo to retire. His assistant, Howard Stacey, was named interim head coach for the final 20 games of the season.
Denny Crum era (1971–2001)Edit
Denny Crum was hired as head coach from his alma mater, UCLA, where he was the top assistant coach to John Wooden. It was under the guidance of Crum that Louisville became a college basketball power. In his first season, he guided the Cardinals to the NCAA Final Four, becoming the first coach ever to go to a Final Four in his first season as a head coach. Overall, Crum had six Final Fours with the Louisville Cardinals (1972, 1975, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1986). He is fifth all-time in Final Four appearances.
The Cardinals won the 1980 NCAA Tournament championship by defeating UCLA 59–54. Six years later, Louisville would overcome Duke 72–69 for a second title. Crum is one of only 11 coaches to win two or more national championships. He was named National Coach of the Year in 1980, 1983 and 1986.
He took the Cardinals to 23 NCAA tournaments, where they had an overall record of 43–21. While in the Metro Conference, the Cardinals won 12 regular season titles and 11 tournament championships. In its 19 years of naming a champion, the Metro had Louisville as first or second place 17 times. In 1993, Crum became the second fastest coach to reach 500 wins.
Crum was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1994. He retired in 2001 with a career record of 675–295 (.696 winning percentage) over 30 seasons. He was a member of the College Basketball Hall of Fame's inaugural class in 2006.
Rick Pitino era (2001–2017)Edit
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Pitino guided the Cardinals to the NCAA Tournament in 12 of 15 seasons, reaching the Elite Eight six times and the Final Four three times (2005, 2012, and 2013). His teams won six conference tournament championships and four regular season titles. The Cardinals won at least 20 games every season since Pitino's first season at Louisville. Through the 2015–16 season, Pitino amassed a record of 391–134 (.745) during his time at Louisville.
The University of Louisville self-imposed a postseason ban for the 2015–16 season amid an ongoing NCAA investigation over an escort sex scandal involving recruits between 2010 and 2014. The ban included both the ACC Tournament and the NCAA Tournament.
On June 15, 2017, the NCAA charged Rick Pitino for failure to monitor his basketball program who was involved in a sex-for-pay scandal. He was suspended for the first five games of the ACC season in 2017–18.
On September 26, 2017 federal prosecutors in New York announced that the school was under investigation for an alleged "pay for play" scheme involving recruits at Louisville. The allegations state that an Adidas executive conspired to pay $100,000 to the family of a top-ranked national recruit to play at Louisville and to represent Adidas when he turned pro. The criminal complaint did not name Louisville specifically but appeared to involve the recruitment of Brian Bowen, a late, surprise commit to the school. On September 27, 2017, Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich were placed on administrative leave.
On October 26, 2017 Rick Pitino was fired as the head coach of Louisville Men's Basketball.
Chris Mack era (2018–present)Edit
On March 27, 2018, Xavier head coach Chris Mack agreed to terms on a seven-year contract worth about $4 million annually to become the next head coach at Louisville. Mack has had a notable start to his Louisville tenure, recruiting a top-5 2019 class that includes five 4-star players and a three-star player. Picked to finish 11th in the preseason ACC poll, Mack has the Cardinals off to an 8-3 start and approaching the Top 25, with a signature win over #9 Michigan State, and tough losses to #5 Tennessee, Marquette (overtime) and Indiana (1-point).  
As of the end of the 2015–16 season, Louisville had an all-time 1778–892 record in 102 seasons of intercollegiate basketball ranking 10th in all-time victories and seventh in all-time winning percentage among NCAA Division I schools. From 1944 to 1990, Louisville had an NCAA-record 46 straight winning seasons, winning 20 or more games on 31 occasions during that period.
Louisville has made 42 NCAA Tournament appearances (5th all-time) and 14 NIT appearances. The Cardinals have reached the NCAA Tournament 32 of the last 40 years (12 of the last 15, 14 of the last 18 years, 20 of last 25). Since the NCAA began keeping Sweet Sixteen appearance records in 1975, Louisville's 21 Sweet Sixteens are 5th all-time behind North Carolina (26), Kentucky (25), Duke (24), and Kansas (22). The Cardinals have reached the Elite Eight on 14 occasions, including five of the past nine seasons. Louisville is sixth in tournament victories (75) with a 75–41 overall NCAA Tournament record, reaching the Final Four 10 times.
Louisville is the only school in the nation to have claimed the championship of three major national post-season tournaments including the 1948 NAIA championship, the 1956 NIT title and the 1980 1986 and 2013 NCAA championships. Simultaneously, Louisville is the only school in NCAA history to have a Men’s Basketball National Championship vacated, along with 2 Final Four appearances.
By the numbersEdit
|All-time NCAA Tournament titles||3*||t-6th|
|All-time NCAA Tournaments||43*||5th|
|All-time NCAA Tournament Wins||76*||6th|
|All-time NCAA Final Fours||10*||T-6th|
|All-time Winning Percentage||.667*||7th|
- NCAA vacated all wins from 2011 to 2015
1948 NAIA Tournament ChampionshipEdit
|First Round||South Dakota State||63–60|
|Sweet Sixteen||Emporia State||82–66|
1956 NIT ChampionshipEdit
|Final Four||Saint Joseph's||89–79|
1980 NCAA Tournament ChampionshipEdit
|Second Round||Kansas State||71–69 OT|
|Sweet Sixteen||Texas A&M||66–55 OT|
1986 NCAA Tournament ChampionshipEdit
|Sweet Sixteen||North Carolina||94–79|
2013 NCAA Tournament Championship*Edit
|First Round||North Carolina A&T||79-48|
|Second Round||Colorado State||82–56|
|Final Four||Wichita State||68–62|
NCAA Tournament Final Four historyEdit
- 1959–Fourth place
- 1972–Fourth place
- 1975–Third place
NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding PlayerEdit
NCAA Tournament seeding historyEdit
* – Overall number one seed. The committee began ranking 1 seeds in 2004.
Complete NCAA Tournament resultsEdit
The Cardinals have appeared in the NCAA Tournament 43* (39) times. Their combined record is 76–44* (61–41).
|1951||Sweet Sixteen||Kentucky||L 68–79|
National 3rd Place Game
Regional 3rd Place Game
|1964||First Round||Ohio||L 69–71 OT|
Regional 3rd Place Game
Regional 3rd Place Game
National 3rd Place Game
Regional 3rd Place Game
National 3rd Place Game
L 74–75 OT
W 96–88 OT
|1977||First Round||UCLA||L 79–87|
L 89–90 2OT
|#6 South Alabama
|#7 Kansas State
#6 Texas A&M
|W 71–69 OT|
W 66–55 OT
|1981||#4||Second Round||#5 Arkansas||L 73–74|
|#11 Middle Tennessee
W 80–68 OT
|#12 Morehead State
#3 North Carolina
|#12 Oregon State
|#13 Arkansas–Little Rock
#12 Ball State
|#9 Wake Forest
#5 Oklahoma State
|#14 Boise State
|1995||#11||First Round||#6 Memphis||L 56–77|
#2 Wake Forest
|W 82–80 OT|
#3 New Mexico
#1 North Carolina
|1999||#10||First Round||#10 Creighton||L 58–62|
|2000||#7||First Round||#10 Gonzaga||L 66–77|
|#13 Austin Peay
|2004||#10||First Round||#7 Xavier||L 70–80|
#5 Georgia Tech
#7 West Virginia
W 93–85 OT
#3 Texas A&M
|#14 Boise State
#1 North Carolina
|#16 Morehead State
#2 Michigan State
|2010||#9||First Round||#8 California||L 62–77|
|2011||#4||Second Round||#13 Morehead State||L 61–62|
# New Mexico
| W 69-62|
|North Carolina A&T
| W 79-48|
#5 Saint Louis
| W 71–64|
|#13 UC Irvine
#5 Northern Iowa
#8 NC State
#7 Michigan State
| W 57–55|
L 70–76 OT
|#15 Jacksonville State
|2019||#7||First Round||#10 Minnesota||L 76-86|
Complete NIT resultsEdit
The Cardinals have appeared in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) 15 times. Their combined record is 16–15.
|1951||First Round||WKU||L 59–62|
|1954||First Round||St. Francis (NY)||L 55–60|
|1966||First Round||Boston College||L 90–96|
|1970||First Round||Oklahoma||L 73–74|
|1971||First Round||Providence||L 58–64|
3rd Place Game
Regular season conference championshipsEdit
The Cardinals have won 23 conference regular season championships.
Since the 2014–15 season they have played in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Before that, they belonged to the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from the 1925–26 to 1947–48 seasons, the Ohio Valley Conference for the 1948–49 season, the Missouri Valley Conference from 1964–65 to 1974–75, the Metro Conference from 1975–76 to 1994–95, Conference USA from 1995–96 to 2004–05, the Big East Conference from 2005–06 to 2012–13, and the American Athletic Conference in 2013–14.
They played as an independent school from 1911–12 to 1924–25 and from 1949–50 to 1963–64 (29 total seasons).
- Missouri Valley Conference (7)
- 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975
- Metro Conference (12)
- 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1994
- Conference USA (1)
- Big East Conference (2)
- 2009, 2013 (Vacated)
- American Athletic Conference (1)
Conference tournament championshipsEdit
The Cardinal have won 19 conference tournament championships.
- Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament (2)
- 1928, 1929
- 1978, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995
- 2003, 2005.
- 2009, 2012 (Vacated), 2013 (Vacated)
Season by season resultsEdit
|1916–17||No Formal Team||Season cancelled||—||—||—|
|1921–22||John T. O'Rouke||1–13||—||—||—|
|1922–23||No Formal Team||Season cancelled||—||—||—|
|Fred Enke (KIAC & SIAA) (1923–1925)|
|Tom King (KIAC& SIAA) (1925–1930)|
|1925–26||Tom King||4–8||—||—||KIAC Tournament Participant|
|1926–27||Tom King||7–5||—||—||KIAC Tournament Participant|
|1927–28||Tom King||12–4||—||—||KIAC Tournament Champion|
|1928–29||Tom King||12–8||—||—||KIAC Tournament Champion|
|1929–30||Tom King||9–6||—||—||KIAC and SIAA Tournament Participant|
|Edward Weber (KIAC & SIAA) (1930–1932)|
|1930–31||Edward Weber||5–11||—||—||KIAC Tournament Participant|
|1931–32||Edward Weber||15–7||—||—||KIAC and SIAA Tournament Participant|
|C.V. Money (KIAC & SIAA) (1932–1936)|
|1932–33||C.V. Money||11–11||—||—||KIAC Tournament Participant|
|1933–34||C.V. Money||16–9||—||—||KIAC and SIAA Tournament Participant|
|1934–35||C.V. Money||5–9||—||—||KIAC Tournament Participant|
|1935–36||C.V. Money||14–11||—||—||KIAC and SIAA Tournament Participant|
|Lawrence Apitz (KIAC & SIAA) (1936–1940)|
|1936–37||Lawrence Apitz||4–8||—||—||KIAC Tournament Participant|
|1937–38||Lawrence Apitz||4–11||—||—||KIAC Tournament Participant|
|1938–39||Lawrence Apitz||1–15||—||—||KIAC Tournament Participant|
|1939–40||Lawrence Apitz||1–18||—||—||KIAC Tournament Participant|
|John C. Heldman, Jr. (KIAC & SIAA) (1940–1942)|
|1940–41||John C. Heldman, Jr.||2–14||—||—||KIAC Tournament Participant|
|1941–42||John C. Heldman, Jr.||7–10||—||—||KIAC Tournament Participant|
|John C. Heldman, Jr.:||9–24|
|No Team (World War II) (1942–1943)|
|1942–43||No Formal Team||Season cancelled||—||—||—|
|Harold Church and Walter Casey (KIAC) (1943–1944)|
|1943–44||Harold Church and
|Harold Church and Walter Casey:||10–10|
|Bernard Hickman (KIAC) (1944–1948)|
|1945–46||Bernard Hickman||22–6||—||—||KIAC Tournament Participant|
|1946–47||Bernard Hickman||17–6||—||—||KIAC Tournament Participant|
|1947–48||Bernard Hickman||29–6||—||—||NAIB Champion|
|Bernard Hickman (Ohio Valley Conference) (1948–1949)|
|Bernard Hickman (Independent) (1949–1964)|
|1950–51||Bernard Hickman||19–7||—||—||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|1955–56||Bernard Hickman||26–3||—||—||NIT Champion|
|1958–59||Bernard Hickman||19–12||—||—||NCAA Final Four|
|1960–61||Bernard Hickman||21–8||—||—||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|1963–64||Bernard Hickman||15–10||—||—||NCAA First Round|
|Bernard Hickman (Missouri Valley Conference) (1964–1967)|
|1966–67||Bernard Hickman||23–5||12–2||1st||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|John Dromo – Missouri Valley Conference (1967–1971)|
|1967–68||John Dromo||21–7||14–2||1st||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|1970–71||John Dromo and
|Denny Crum – Missouri Valley Conference (1971–1975)|
|1971–72||Denny Crum||26–5||12–2||T-1st||NCAA Final Four|
|1973–74||Denny Crum||21–7||11–1||1st||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|1974–75||Denny Crum||28–3||12–2||1st||NCAA Final Four|
|Denny Crum – Metro Conference (1975–1996)|
|1976–77||Denny Crum||21–7||6–1||1st||NCAA First Round|
|1977–78||Denny Crum||23–7||9–3||2nd||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|1978–79||Denny Crum||24–8||9–1||1st||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|1979–80||Denny Crum||33–3||12–0||1st||NCAA Champion|
|1980–81||Denny Crum||21–9||11–1||1st||NCAA Second Round|
|1981–82||Denny Crum||23–10||8–4||2nd||NCAA Final Four|
|1982–83||Denny Crum||32–4||12–0||1st||NCAA Final Four|
|1983–84||Denny Crum||24–11||11–3||T-1st||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|1985–86||Denny Crum||32–7||10–2||1st||NCAA Champion|
|1987–88||Denny Crum||24–11||9–3||1st||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|1988–89||Denny Crum||24–9||8–4||T-2nd||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|1989–90||Denny Crum||27–8||12–2||1st||NCAA Second Round|
|1991–92||Denny Crum||19–11||7–5||T-2nd||NCAA Second Round|
|1992–93||Denny Crum||22–9||11–1||1st||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|1993–94||Denny Crum||28–6||10–2||1st||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|1994–95||Denny Crum||19–14||7–5||T-2nd||NCAA First Round|
|Denny Crum – Conference USA (1996–2001)|
|1995–96||Denny Crum||22–12||10–4||T-3rd||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|1996–97||Denny Crum||26–9||9–5||T-5th||NCAA Elite Eight|
|1997–98||Denny Crum||12–20||5–11||5th (American Division)||—|
|1998–99||Denny Crum||19–11||11–5||2nd (American)||NCAA First Round|
|1999–00||Denny Crum||19–12||10–6||2nd (American)||NCAA First Round|
|2000–01||Denny Crum||12–19||8–8||T-5 (American)||—|
|Rick Pitino – Conference USA (2001–2005)|
|2001–02||Rick Pitino||19–13||8–8||5th (American)||NIT|
|2002–03||Rick Pitino||25–7||11–5||2nd (American)||NCAA Second Round|
|2003–04||Rick Pitino||20–10||9–7||T-6th||NCAA First Round|
|2004–05||Rick Pitino||33–5||14–2||1st||NCAA Final Four|
|Rick Pitino – Big East (2005–2013)|
|2006–07||Rick Pitino||24–10||12–4||2nd||NCAA Second Round|
|2007–08||Rick Pitino||27–9||14–4||2nd||NCAA Elite Eight|
|2008–09||Rick Pitino||31–6||16–2||1st||NCAA Elite Eight|
|2009–10||Rick Pitino||20–13||11–7||2nd||NCAA First Round|
|2010–11||Rick Pitino||25–10||12–6||4th||NCAA Second Round|
|2011–12||Rick Pitino||0–10 (30 wins vacated)||0–8 (10 wins vacated)||7th||Final Four (Vacated)*|
|2012–13||Rick Pitino||0–5 (35 wins vacated)||0–4 (14 wins vacated)||1st||Championship (Vacated)|
|Rick Pitino – American Athletic Conference (2013–2014)|
|2013–14||Rick Pitino||0–6 (31 wins vacated)||0–3 (15 wins vacated)||T-1st||Sweet 16*|
|Rick Pitino – Atlantic Coast Conference (2014–2017)|
|2014–15||Rick Pitino||0–9 (27 wins vacated)||0–6 (12 wins vacated)||4th||Elite Eight*|
|2015–16||Rick Pitino||23–8||12–6||4th||Self-imposed post-season ban due to pending NCAA investigation|
|2016–17||Rick Pitino||25–9||12–6||2nd||NCAA Round of 32|
|David Padgett – Atlantic Coast Conference (2017–2018)|
|2017–18||David Padgett||22–14||9–9||T-8th||NIT Quarterfinals|
|Chris Mack – Atlantic Coast Conference (2018–present)|
|2018–19||Chris Mack||20–14||10–8||T–6th||NCAA Round of 64|
Postseason invitational champion
* Vacated, Louisville forfeited 123 wins during 2011-2014, its NCAA tournament appearances, and its 2013 National Championship title.
KIAC – Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
SIAA – Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association
NAIB – National Association for Intercollegiate Basketball
NAIA – National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics was NAIB until 1952 when they picked up other sports.
NIT – National Invitation Tournament
NCAA – National Collegiate Athletic Association
The Kentucky–Louisville rivalry has been ranked the 2nd best rivalry in college basketball by Bleacher Report and 3rd best rivalry in all of college sports by Basketball Hall of Fame contributor Dick Vitale. Kentucky and Louisville first played against each other in 1913 but stopped playing each other in the 1920s, playing only twelve times between 1913 and 1983. The rivalry was generally dormant with only occasional matchups until the teams met in the 1983 NCAA Tournament. Since then, the two teams have met each year in late December or early January.
Much like the Iron Bowl, the Kentucky–Louisville rivalry is all the more intense because the two schools have consistently been among the nation's elite men's basketball teams for most of the last 50 years. Both schools are also two of the most victorious programs in NCAA men's basketball history; Kentucky is #1 on the list of all-time winningest programs in Division I Men's Basketball and Louisville #11. Kentucky has eight national championships while Louisville has two (official) national championships.
While predominantly a football rivalry, the proximity and long-standing conference affiliation of Cincinnati and Louisville made this into a key rivalry, particularly in the days of the Metro and Big East conferences. This rivalry went on hiatus in 2014 when Louisville left the American Athletic Conference for the ACC.
Louisville basketball has honored four former players by retiring their numbers. These are the last players to wear these numbers for a Louisville men's squad:
- Charlie Tyra #8 – A consensus All-American during the 1956 and 1957 seasons, Charlie Tyra led the University of Louisville to its first NIT title in 1956 and was named the tournament's MVP for his performance. Tyra was named Helms Athletic Foundation All-American in his junior and senior years. One of only five Cardinals to record over 1,000 rebounds in his career, Tyra ranks as the all-time rebounder in U of L history with 1,617. During the 1955–56 season, Tyra pulled down 645 rebounds, a mark that has been bettered by only three other players in NCAA history. He set the Louisville record for most rebounds in a game when he pulled down 38 against Canisius during the 1955–56 season. In his four seasons with Louisville, he helped his teams to a combined record of 88–23 and three straight NIT appearances. Tyra ranks third in career free throws made (448), second in career rebounding average (17.0), fourth in career scoring average (18.2), eighth in career scorers (1,728 points) and eighth in field goals made (640). Tyra is one of only four players in UofL history to score 40 points or more in a game (achieved against Notre Dame when he hit 12 of 16 field goals and all 16 of his free throw attempts). Tyra died on December 29, 2006, at the age of 71. He was drafted #2 by in the Detroit Pistons in the 1957 NBA draft.
- Wes Unseld #31 – When Wes Unseld ended his career with the University of Louisville following the 1967–68 season, he left as the Cardinals' all-time leading scorer for a three-year player. Today, Unseld ranks 10th on the all-time scoring list, but his career point total of 1,686 is still tops for a three-year player. A consensus All-American during his junior and senior years, Unseld is one of only five other Cardinal players to pull down over 1,000 rebounds in his career. His 1,551 career rebounds ranks second behind Tyra's 1,617. Unseld began his senior season with a 45-point effort against Georgetown College, a UofL record that still stands today. Unseld, chosen as second player overall in the NBA draft by Baltimore, was honored on the All-Missouri Valley Conference team all three years at UofL and the Cardinals were 60–22 during his three seasons. During his junior year, Unseld led the Cardinals to a final No. 2 ranking in both wire service polls. Unseld's 20.6 scoring average still ranks as the top scoring average in Louisville history. His 18.9 rebounding average also ranks as the top average for a Cardinal. While playing on the Cardinals' freshmen team, Unseld averaged 35.8 points and 23.6 rebounds, and hit 68.6 percent from the field.
- Darrell Griffith #35 – The 1980 Player of the Year and consensus first team All-American led Louisville to four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, winning the 1980 Championship as he had promised when he committed to his hometown Cardinals. Griffith's career 2333 points and single-season 825 points rank first in Louisville history. He scored in double figures in 41 straight games and 111 of his 126 games with the Cardinals. His play earned him the nickname "Dr. Dunkenstein". He was drafted #2 by the Utah Jazz in the 1980 NBA draft.
- Pervis Ellison #42 – Ellison won the 1986 NCAA Tournament MOP award after leading the Cardinals to their second NCAA Tournament Championship. A consensus first team All-American in 1989, he is the only Louisville player to score 2000 points and grab 1000 rebounds in a career. His 374 career rejections rank first at Louisville and ranked Ellison third all time in the NCAA when he left in 1989. He was drafted #1 by the Sacramento Kings in the 1989 NBA draft.
Cardinals in the Hall of FameEdit
Louisville has three representatives in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame: Cardinal All-American and former Washington Bullets All-Star Wes Unseld, who was inducted in 1988, former coach Denny Crum, who was inducted in 1994, and coach Rick Pitino, who was inducted in 2013. Darrell Griffith, a national player of the year and consensus All-American at the University of Louisville, is part of the 2014 induction class for the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
National Player of the Year awardsEdit
- 1980 – Darrell Griffith (John R. Wooden Award)
- 1957– Charlie Tyra
- 1967– Wes Unseld
- 1968– Wes Unseld
- 1972– Jim Price
- 1980– Darrell Griffith
- 1989– Pervis Ellison
- 1994– Clifford Rozier
- 2014– Russ Smith
Other major national awardsEdit
- 2013 – Peyton Siva (Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award – top Division I senior no taller than 6 feet/1.83 m)
- 2014 – Russ Smith (Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award)
- 2015 – Montrezl Harrell (Karl Malone Award)
Louisville has honored the jerseys of 20 former players. Their numbers remain active.
|14||Alfred "Butch" Beard||Guard||1966–69|
|10||Ulysses "Junior" Bridgeman||Guard/Forward||1972–75|
Conference Player of the YearEdit
|†||Co-Players of the Year|
|Player (X)||Denotes the number of times the player has been|
awarded the Player of the Year award at that point
|Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year|
|1974–75||Junior Bridgeman (2)||Small forward||Senior|
|Metro Conference Player of the Year|
|1993–94||Clifford Rozier (2)||C||Junior|
Conference Tournament Most Outstanding PlayerEdit
|Metro Conference Tournament Most Outstanding Player|
|Conference USA Tournament Most Outstanding Player|
|Big East Conference Tournament Most Outstanding Player|
|American Athletic Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player|
Cardinals in the prosEdit
This section needs to be updated.January 2017)(
The Cardinals have had 75 players taken in the NBA Draft, the most recent being Ray Spalding, who was chosen in the 2018 NBA Draft, and Donovan Mitchell, who was chosen in the 2017 NBA Draft. 30 former Cardinal players are playing professional basketball, with six of those currently playing in the NBA.
Several other former players have played in the NBA, including:
- Butch Beard
- Junior Bridgeman
- Jack Coleman
- Wesley Cox
- Pervis Ellison
- Lancaster Gordon
- Darrell Griffith
- Rodney McCray
- Scooter McCray
- Greg Minor
- Dwayne Morton
- Kenny Payne
- Jim Price
- Clifford Rozier
- Derek Smith
- LaBradford Smith
- Felton Spencer
- Barry Sumpter
- Billy Thompson
- Charlie Tyra
- Wes Unseld
- Milt Wagner
- Samaki Walker
- Rick Wilson
- Francisco García
- Terrence Williams
KFC Yum! Center (2010–present)Edit
Since the 2010–11 season the Cardinals have played their home games at the KFC Yum! Center located along the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Louisville. As of February 7, 2017[update], Louisville has a 114–14 record (.891) in 6 seasons in the KFC Yum! Center.[failed verification]
The facility has a seating capacity of 22,090 with 71 suites and 62 loge boxes. It is the third-largest in the nation (behind only Syracuse's Carrier Dome, and Rupp Arena). Louisville ranked among the top 3 in attendance in the first three seasons at the KFC Yum! Center. The attendance record of 22,815 was set on March 9, 2013 against #24 Notre Dame.
The playing surface at the KFC Yum! Center is named Denny Crum Court in honor of Hall of Fame coach Denny Crum. The University of Louisville first renamed its home court after Crum in January 2007.
Since the opening of the KFC Yum Center, the University of Louisville has become the most valuable college basketball team in the nation. In 2012 the Cardinals were worth $36.1 million, up nearly 40% from two years earlier, before the Yum Center opened.
Freedom Hall (1956–2010)Edit
From 1956 to the completion of the KFC Yum! Center in 2010, the Cardinals played their home games at Freedom Hall. Louisville had a 664–136 record in 54 seasons in Freedom Hall (.83 winning percentage). Freedom Hall has been the site of six NCAA Final Fours, four additional NCAA events and 10 conference tournaments. ESPN College Basketball magazine once named Freedom Hall as the nation's "Best Playing Floor."
Louisville ranked among the top 10 nationally in average home attendance at Freedom Hall for 31 years, including the last 28 in the nation's top five (19,397 in '09-10, third in the nation). In 2010, a new Freedom Hall attendance record was set when 20,135 fans witnessed the Cardinals defeat the #1 ranked Syracuse Orange in the final University of Louisville game in the arena.
Jefferson County Armory (1945–72)Edit
Jefferson County Armory was the primary home of Louisville Cardinals basketball starting in 1945 when Bernard "Peck" Hickman was head coach until the 1957–58 season, when Freedom Hall became their primary home game site. The Cardinals played 10 of their home games in the Jefferson County Armory in 1956–57 and three games in Freedom Hall. Louisville played one game at the armory in 1958–59.In the 1960s the armory was renamed the Louisville Convention Center. The Cardinals played two games at the Convention Center in 1963–64 and three games in the Convention Center in 1964–65. The last game the Cardinals played there was November 30, 1972. Louisville was 153–23 all time at the Jefferson County Armory which is now named the Louisville Gardens.
Belknap Gymnasium (1931–44)Edit
After playing home games at numerous venues in its early years, the Cardinals moved to the newly constructed Belknap Gymnasium in 1931. The gym housed 600 bleacher seats and the baskets were mounted directly to the wall. Louisville compiled a 56–35 (.615 winning percentage) before moving to the Jefferson County Armory. The gym was razed in 1993 to make way for Lutz Hall.
Planet Fitness-Kueber Center (2007–present)Edit
Since 2007 the Cardinals have practiced at the $15.2 million, 60,000 square feet (5,600 m2) Planet Fitness-Kueber Center on campus. The Planet Fitness-Kueber Center houses the teams basketball offices, practice facilities, film room and training areas.
The facility was named the Yum! Center, until December of 2018 when local businessmen Rick and David Kueber donated $3 million to rename the facility.
Controversies and scandalsEdit
1956 recruiting violationsEdit
In 1956 the team was placed on probation for two years by the NCAA, including bans on postseason play, due to recruiting violations.
2015 sex scandalEdit
A former Louisville player, and then Director of Basketball Operations, Andre McGee, arranged and paid for strippers and prostitutes to perform striptease dances and sexual acts for 17 prospective and former basketball players from 2010–2014. On October 3, 2015, the book publisher IBJ Custom Publishing released a book entitled "Breaking Cardinal Rules." Based on revelations provided by the local self-described escort, Katina Powell, the book detailed striptease dances and acts of prostitution that Powell and McGee arranged and organized in Minardi Hall over approximately a four-year period.
During the investigation of the allegations, the university self-imposed a ban on the 2016 NCAA Tournament. In June 2016, the NCAA announced that the university would lose four basketball scholarships over the course of four seasons, but there would be no further postseason ban. The NCAA suspended head coach Rick Pitino for five ACC games during the 2017–18 season. The NCAA also ordered the university to vacate all wins from 2011–2014 that include ineligible players. The vacated wins include a Final Four appearance in 2012 and an NCAA Tournament Championship in 2013.  These sanctions have been appealed by the University of Louisville.
2017 corruption scandalEdit
As a result of a corruption scandal implicating various schools including Louisville, on September 27, 2017, Louisville placed head coach Rick Pitino on unpaid administrative leave and athletic director Tom Jurich on paid administrative leave. Rick Pitino and Tom Jurich would then be fired with cause by the University, David Padgett would be selected to replace Rick Pitino as the Interim Head Coach of the mens squad, and Vince Tyra would be selected as Interim Athletic Director.
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