ALERT Louisville hoops schedule a 'challenge'

The University of Louisville basketball schedule is out and the Cardinals will play 21 home games at the KFC Yum! Center and at least 17 games on national television. Rick Pitino called it a "challenge" with such a new squad.

With one brutal ACC stretch, University of Louisville basketball fans now have the Cardinals' schedule for the next season with 21 home games and at least 17 to be on national television.

The school released the entire schedule on Wednesday just after the ACC sent out the league schedule.

U of L will play 16 of its 31 games against teams that participated in postseason competition last season, including 10 from the NCAA Tournament (Duke twice, Kentucky, North Carolina, NC State, Notre Dame, North Florida, Michigan State, Virginia twice).

Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino said after the recent trip from Puerto Rico that the schedule would be a "major challenge."

"We realize that with almost a new team that we have our work cut out for us, but that’s the excitement of this type of schedule," Pitino said. "We have to get ready early and we know from our summer trip what we need to work on. Our freshmen are going to have to develop early and we feel they have the ability to do so. We’re very excited about our schedule and look forward to the challenge."

Including exhibition games against Bellarmine (Nov. 1) and Kentucky Wesleyan (Nov. 9), the Cardinals will play 13 of the first 16 games at the KFC Yum Center. U of L will play St. Louis in Brooklyn on Dec. 28, Michigan State in East Lansing on Dec. 2 and Kentucky in Lexington on Dec. 26 at noon on CBS.

The Cardinals officially open the season on Nov. 13 against Samford. U of L will play its first ACC game of the season on Sunday, Jan. 3 at home against Wake Forest.

U of L has a brutal seven-game stretch starting Jan. 30 with Virginia at the Yum. That game is followed by North Carolina on Feb. 1, Boston College on Feb. 6, at Duke on Feb. 8, at Notre Dame on Feb. 13, Syracuse on Feb. 17 and Duke on Feb. 20.

Louisville's ACC schedule will include a challenging slate of 18 games, including two games each against Duke, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh and Virginia as each league team will face 10 opponents once and four twice.

The Cardinals close the season at Virginia on March 5.

Here's Louisville's ACC schedule:

Sun, Jan. 3 - Wake Forest

Wed., Jan. 6 - at N.C. State

Sun., Jan. 10 - at Clemson

Thurs., Jan. 14 - Pittsburgh

Wed., Jan. 20 - Florida State

Sat., Jan. 23 - at Georgia Tech

Wed., Jan. 27 - at Virginia Tech

Sat., Jan. 30 - Virginia

Mon., Feb. 1 - North Carolina

Sat., Feb. 6 - Boston College

Mon., Feb. 8 - at Duke

Sat., Feb. 13 - at Notre Dame

Wed., Feb. 17 - Syracuse

Sat., Feb. 20 - Duke

Wed., Feb. 24 - at Pittsburgh

Sat., Feb. 27 - at Miami

Tues., March 1 - Georgia Tech

Sat., March 5 - at Virginia

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