Basketball Wiki
Louisville Cardinals
School Name: University of Louisville
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Arena: KFC Yum! Center
Capacity: 22,090
Conference: ACC
Head coach: Kenny Payne

The Louisville Cardinals men's basketball team is the 18th winningest college basketball team in NCAA Division I history and has the 10th best winning percentage in college basketball history. Currently coached by Kenny Payne, the Cardinals of the University of Louisville have a tradition of continued success, having been to 37 NCAA tournaments (5th all time)[1] with 60 tournament wins (6th all time). Louisville has been to eight Final Fours (7th all time) and is one of only 13 programs in the nation to have won two NCAA championships. Under Denny Crum, Louisville was the premier program of the 1980s, going to four Final Fours, winning two NCAA championships, and posting the best NCAA tournament record of that era.[1] Louisville's rivalry with the University of Kentucky is considered one of the most intense in college sports by Louisville fans, and the basketball game is commonly known as the Dream Game by locals and Battle for the Bluegrass by those outside the Commonwealth. Louisville also maintains basketball rivalries with West Virginia, Cincinnati, Memphis and Marquette.

The Cardinals are also notable as the only NCAA Division I basketball team to have been forced to vacate a national championship, having what had been their third national title in 2013 stripped from NCAA records. In 2015, a self-described former madam charged that program staffer Andre McGee had paid her several thousand dollars to provide strippers and prostitutes to players and recruits during a four-year period that included the championship team. The NCAA confirmed the accusations, forcing Louisville to vacate over 120 wins, including the 2013 national title and 2012 Final Four appearance. In 2017, the program was caught up in a corruption scandal that saw several major programs linked to massive under-the-table payments to recruits. Head coach Rick Pitino was fired after the 2017 scandal came to light, and the program has since received a notice of allegations from the NCAA regarding that scandal.

The Cardinals have won 18 or more games 37 of the past 40 years, including 15 years with 24 or more wins.

University of Louisville basketball tradition[]

Tradition Number National Rank
All-time NCAA Tournaments 40 5th
All-time NCAA Tournament Wins 74 6th
All-time NCAA Final Fours 10 T-7th
All-time Winning Percentage 66% 9th

As of the end of the 2008-09 season, UofL had an all-time 1587–831 record in 94 seasons of intercollegiate basketball. The Cardinals are 16th among all NCAA schools in victories and Tie-9th in winning percentage.

On March 16, 2009, UofL was ranked #1, during the season, for the first time in its 93 year men's basketball program, a ranking that it would carry through the final poll of the regular season and into the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Louisville is the only school in the nation to have claimed the championship of three major national post-season tournaments including the 1948 NAIB championship, the 1956 NIT title and the 1980 and 1986 NCAA championships.

UofL basketball has been named the seventh best all-time basketball program by Street and Smith's, The Sporting News, and CBS Sportsline.

Eighteen Louisville players have earned All-America status, the most recent being Francisco Garcia in 2005. The Cardinals have had 59 players taken in the NBA Draft, the most recent being Earl Clark and Terrence Williams, who were chosen in the first round in the 2009 NBA Draft.

Louisville has made 37 NCAA Tournament appearances (5th all-time) and 14 NIT appearances. The Cardinals have reached the NCAA Tournament 24 of the last 31 years (six of the last nine years, 12 of last 16). The Cards have reached the Sweet 16 on 23 occasions. Louisville is fifth in tournament victories (62). UofL has a 62–37 overall NCAA Tournament record, reaching the Final Four eight times.

Louisville owns a 664–136 record in 54 seasons in Freedom Hall (.83 winning percentage), the Cards' home since 1956. 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.”


UofL winning percentage by year

File:ULcmlt wins.JPG

UofL all times wins/losses graph

Louisville has won its conference championship or finished second in its league in 22 of the last 31 years. Louisville has two 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, and former coach Denny Crum, who was inducted in ‘94.

Louisville has ranked among the top 10 nationally in average home attendance each of the last 27 years, including the last 22 straight in the nation's top five (18,316 in '05-06, fourth in the nation). Two of the top 10 all-time crowds in Freedom Hall came during the 2005-06 season. A Freedom Hall record 20,091 fans attended the Cardinals’ Jan. 21 game against Connecticut. In 2010, a new Freedom Hall attendance record was set when 20,135 fans witnessed the Cardinals defeat #1 ranked Syracuse Orange in the final University of Louisville game in the arena. With sellout crowds the norm and ranking third nationally in home attendance, the Cardinals have a waiting list of more than 4,000 wanting to purchase season tickets.

The Cardinals have been ranked on 429 occasions in the AP poll, seventh most all-time. UofL rose to as high as No. 4 during the 2005-06 season on Dec. 12, when the Cards had won their first six games. Louisville was No. 7 in the AP preseason poll and No. 8 in the ESPN/USA Today preseason poll last year. Surprisingly, with all of their success, they have never held the number one ranking in either of the two major polls until March 16, 2009. UofL is second all-time in the NCAA with 46 consecutive winning seasons (not current). The Cards played winning basketball from 1944-45 through 1989-90, winning 20 or more games on 31 occasions during that period.

U of L has 59 players who have reached 1,000 points for their careers for the most players in NCAA Division I to reach that total.

Louisville is 101–0 all-time when scoring 100 or more points.

UofL has been the most profitable college basketball program in the nation for three straight years.[2][3]

Valued at $24.4 million, Louisville's basketball team is ranked third on's The Most Valuable College Basketball Teams list.

Template:As of, Louisville has 59 1000-point career scorers, edging out North Carolina by one for most all time.[4] Forwards Juan Palacios and Terrence Williams both reached the 1000 point mark in the 2007-08 season.

As of March 14, 2009, Louisville achieved its first ever Big East Conference Tournament Championship, defeating Syracuse 76–66. On March 22, 2009, Louisville beat Siena in a close game to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

Season summaries[]

2008-2009 season[]

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In the 2008-09 season, Louisville received a pre-season AP rank of #3. Led by Terrence Williams and Earl Clark, both of whom would be drafted in the 2009 NBA Draft, Louisville won both the Big East regular season championship with a 16-2 conference record and the Big East Tournament. The team earned a #1 AP ranking, and were named the #1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament. Louisville eventually lost in the Elite Eight to #2-seed Michigan State, finishing the season 31-6.

2009-2010 season[]

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In the 2009-10 season, Louisville received a pre-season AP rank of #20, and reached as high as #16 before three early non-conference losses knocked them out of the top 25. On March 6, 2010, Louisville defeated #1 Syracuse in the team's final game at Freedom Hall. Louisville finished the season 20–13, 11–7 in Big East play. They received an at-large bid to the 2010 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, earning a 9 seed in the South Region where they lost to 8 seed California in the first round.

2010-11 season[]

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2010-11 is the first season for Louisville playing in the KFC Yum! Center. Louisville opened the season unranked but entered the top 25 after defeating #16 Butler and #20 UNLV. They experienced success since those wins, taking down then-ranked #5 Connecticut, #13 ranked Syracuse, and #6 Pittsburgh.

Louisville drew a #4 seed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament only to be faced against Morehead St. for the second time in three years. In the second round match up Morehead State defeated Louisville 62-61 to end Louisville's 2010-11 season.

Notable former players[]

As of December 2010, at least 15 former Cardinal players are playing professional basketball, with five of those (Derrick Caracter, Earl Clark, Francisco García, Samardo Samuels, and Terrence Williams) currently playing in the NBA. Reece Gaines and Dwayne Morton have previously played in the NBA, but are now playing in international leagues.

Player League Team
Derrick Caracter United States of America NBA Los Angeles Lakers
Earl Clark United States of America NBA Orlando Magic
Damion Dantzler Template:Country data FINTemplate:Namespace detect showall Korisliiga Tampereen Pyrintö
Kendall Dartez France LNB Pro A Chorale Roanne Basket
Taquan Dean Spain Liga ACB Unicaja Málaga
Nouha Diakite France LNB Pro A ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne
Reece Gaines France Pro A JA Vichy
Francisco García United States of America NBA Sacramento Kings
Otis George South Korea Korean Basketball League Daegu Orions[5]
Troy Jackson United States of America American Streetball AND1 Mixtape Tour
Dwayne Morton Template:Country data BGRTemplate:Namespace detect showall Bulgarian A1 First Balkan Botevgrad
Joseph N'Sima France Nationale 1 (3rd Level), France USA Toulouges
Larry O'Bannon Template:Country data ISRTemplate:Namespace detect showall Israeli Basketball Super League Maccabi Haifa
Jason Osborne Argentina Liga Nacional de Básquetbol Peñarol Mar del Plata
Tick Rogers Template:Country data ISRTemplate:Namespace detect showall Israel National League Hapoel Beer-Sheva
Samardo Samuels United States of America NBA Cleveland Cavaliers
Edgar Sosa Italy Eurocup Serie A Angelico Biella
Terrence Williams United States of America NBA Houston Rockets
Tony Williams France LNB Pro A Hyères-Toulon Var Basket

* – player has been drafted by the listed team but has not yet played professionally.

Several other former players have played in the NBA, including:

  • Butch Beard
  • Junior Bridgeman
  • Jack Coleman
  • Wesley Cox
  • "Never Nervous" 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

Louisville has produced nineteen All-Americans, including:

Player Hometown Year
Charlie Tyra Louisville, Kentucky 1955-57
Don Goldstein New York, New York 1958-59
John Turner Newport, Kentucky 1960-61
Wes Unseld Louisville, Kentucky 1965–1968
Butch Beard Hardinsburg, Kentucky 1968-69
Jim Price Russellville, Kentucky 1971-72
Junior Bridgeman East Chicago, Indiana 1974-75
Allen Murphy Birmingham, Alabama 1974-75
Phil Bond Louisville, Kentucky 1975-76
Wesley Cox Louisville, Kentucky 1976-77
Rick Wilson Louisville, Kentucky 1977-78
Darrell Griffith Louisville, Kentucky 1978-80
Lancaster Gordon Jackson, Mississippi 1983-84
Pervis Ellison Savannah, Georgia 1988-89
Clifford Rozier Bradenton, Florida 1993-94
DeJuan Wheat Louisville, Kentucky 1996-97
Reece Gaines Madison, Wisconsin 2002-03
Francisco García Bronx, New York 2004-05
Terrence Williams Seattle, Washington 2008-09

Year by year results[]

The following is according to Louisville's 2008-10 media guide.[1]

Season Coach Overall Conference Standing Postseason
1911-12 William Gardiner 0-3
1912-13 Captains 2-3
1913-14 Captains 2-6
1914-15 Captains 4-5
1915-16 Ed Bowman 8-3
1916-17 No Formal Team Season cancelled
1917-18 Ed Bowman 3-4
1918-19 Earl Ford 7-4
1919-20 Tuley Brucker 6-5
1920-21 Jimmie Powers 3-8
1921-22 John T. O'Rouke 1-13
1922-23 No Formal Team Season cancelled
1923-24 Fred Enke 4-13
1924-25 Fred Enke 10-7
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
1930-31 Edward Weber 5-11 KIAC Tournament Participant
1931-32 Edward Weber 15-7 KIAC and SIAA Tournament Participant
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
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
1940-41 John C. Heldman, Jr. 2-14 KIAC Tournament Participant
1941-42 John C. Heldman, Jr. 7-10 KIAC Tournament Participant
1942-43 No Formal Team Season cancelled
1943-44 Harold Church and Walter Casey 10-10
1944-45 Bernard Hickman 16-3
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, Olympic Trials Participant
1948-49 Bernard Hickman 23-10
1949-50 Bernard Hickman 21-11
1950-51 Bernard Hickman 19-7 NCAA Tournament Participant
1951-52 Bernard Hickman 20-6 NIT Participant
1952-53 Bernard Hickman 22-6 NIT Participant
1953-54 Bernard Hickman 22-7 NIT Participant
1954-55 Bernard Hickman 19-8 NIT Participant
1955-56 Bernard Hickman 26-3 NIT Champion
1956-57 Bernard Hickman 21-5
1957-58 Bernard Hickman 13-12
1958-59 Bernard Hickman 19-12 NCAA Final Four
1959-60 Bernard Hickman 15-11
1960-61 Bernard Hickman 21-8 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
1961-62 Bernard Hickman 15-10
1962-63 Bernard Hickman 14-11
1963-64 Bernard Hickman 15-10 NCAA Tournament Participant
Missouri Valley Conference (1964–1971)
1964-65 Bernard Hickman 15-10
1965-66 Bernard Hickman 16-10 8-6 4 NIT Participant
1966-67 Bernard Hickman 23-5 12-2 1 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
1967-68 John Dromo 21-7 14-2 1 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
1968-69 John Dromo 21-6 13-3 2 NIT Participant
1969-70 John Dromo 18-9 11-5 3 NIT Participant
1970-71 John Dromo and Howard Stacey 20-9 9-5 T-1 NIT Participant
Denny CrumMissouri Valley Conference (1971–1975)
1971-72 Denny Crum 26-5 12-2 T-1 NCAA Final Four
1972-73 Denny Crum 23-7 11-3 2 NIT Participant
1973-74 Denny Crum 21-7 11-1 1 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
1974-75 Denny Crum 28-3 12-2 1 NCAA Final Four
Denny Crum – Metro Conference (1975–1996)
1975-76 Denny Crum 20-8 2-2 2 NIT Participant
1976-77 Denny Crum 21-7 6-1 1 NCAA Tournament Participant
1977-78 Denny Crum 23-7 9-3 2 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
1978-79 Denny Crum 24-8 9-1 1 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
1979-80 Denny Crum 33-3 12-0 1 NCAA Champion
1980-81 Denny Crum 21-9 11-1 1 NCAA Tournament Participant
1981-82 Denny Crum 23-10 8-4 2 NCAA Final Four
1982-83 Denny Crum 32-4 12-0 1 NCAA Final Four
1983-84 Denny Crum 24-11 11-3 T-1 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
1984-85 Denny Crum 19-18 NIT Participant
1985-86 Denny Crum 32-7 10-2 1 NCAA Champion
1986-87 Denny Crum 18-14 9-3 1
1987-88 Denny Crum 24-11 9-3 1 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
1988-89 Denny Crum 24-9 8-4 T-2 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
1989-90 Denny Crum 27-8 12-2 1 NCAA Tournament Second Round
1990-91 Denny Crum 14-16 4-10 8
1991-92 Denny Crum 19-11 7-5 T-2 NCAA Tournament Second Round
1992-93 Denny Crum 22-9 11-1 1 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
1993-94 Denny Crum 28-6 10-2 1 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
1994-95 Denny Crum 19-14 7-5 T-2 NCAA Tournament Participant
Denny Crum – Conference USA (1996–2001)
1995-96 Denny Crum 22-12 10-4 T-3 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
1996-97 Denny Crum 26-9 9-5 T-5 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
1997-98 Denny Crum 12-20 9-5 5 (American Division)
1998-99 Denny Crum 19-11 11-5 2 (American) NCAA Tournament Participant
1999-2000 Denny Crum 19-12 10-6 2 (American) NCAA Tournament Participant
2000-01 Denny Crum 12-19 8-8 T-5 (American)
Rick PitinoConference USA (2001–2005)
2001-02 Rick Pitino 19-13 8-8 5 (American) NIT Participant
2002-03 Rick Pitino 25-7 11-5 2 (American) NCAA Tournament Second Round
2003-04 Rick Pitino 20-10 9-7 T-6 NCAA Tournament Participant
2004-05 Rick Pitino 33-5 14-2 1 NCAA Final Four
Rick Pitino – Big East (2005–present)
2005-06 Rick Pitino 21-13 6-10 11 NIT Final Four
2006-07 Rick Pitino 24-10 12-4 2 NCAA Tournament Second Round
2007-08 Rick Pitino 27-9 14-4 2 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
2008-09 Rick Pitino 31-6 16-2 1 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
2009-10 Rick Pitino 20-13 11-7 2 NCAA Tournament First Round
Total: 1584-829

      National Champion         Conference Regular Season Champion         Conference Tournament Champion
      Conference Regular Season & Conference Tournament Champion       Conference Division Champion


External Links[]