Tough slate for 2003-04 Cards
The 2003-04 University of Louisville basketball has been officially released and Coach Pitino's third team at UofL faces a tough slate of opponents once again.
Highlighted by non-conference games against Iowa, Western Kentucky, Seton Hall, Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee, the Cards will face several stern tests outside of C-USA before entering conference action.
Louisville kicks off the season on Monday, November 3 at home against EA Sports. Before taking on Steve Alford and the Iowa Hawkeyes at Canseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on November 29, the Cards will prepare by taking on a group from the National Basketball Developmental League.
The December slate is demanding and includes home contests against likely NCAA tourney teams Holy Cross, Seton Hall and Florida. The Cards also face VMI and Toledo at home and travel to Nashville to play Western Kentucky. The Cards only road game in December will be to Lexington on the 27th to take on arch-rival UK in a nationally televised game.
The Cards kick off the new year at home against former UofL Assistant Coach Mick Cronin and the Murray State Racers on January 3rd. Cincinnati and Marquette both visit Freedom Hall in January and the Cards also face a stiff test again this season against the Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville on the 25th.
Louisville will take to the road in February, playing four of its seven games away from home. The Cards travel to Memphis, Charlotte, TCU and Cincinnati before returning home to host DePaul and Memphis.
"Logistically there's nothing good about this schedule," Pitino said in reference to the Cardinals February road travels.
The Cards end the regular season with two road games against the always tough St. Louis Bilikins and 2003 Final Four participant Marquette during the first week of March.
For the first time since the league expanded to its current 14 team set-up, Louisville will face each team in Conference USA at least once this season. Conference USA's two-division format has been abandoned this season for a revamped regular season conference schedule in which all league teams will face one another. To maintain rivalries and enhance television interest, each team will play a return game against three "traditional rivals" designated by the conference.
"The league schedule is a killer for us," said Pitino. "We are not happy with it because we face the most difficult road."
This season, UofL's "traditional rivals" are long time foes Memphis, Cincinnati and Marquette. Both the Bearcats and Golden Eagles are expected to be ranked among the nation's top twenty preseason teams and each game against both opponent's will be televised to a national television audience. Additionally, both games against Memphis, who the Cards defeated in the semi-finals of the 2003 Conference USA Tournament, will be shown on national television.
The Conference USA Tournament kicks off March 10 in Cincinnati with the final scheduled for Saturday, March 13, 2004.
The Cards will appear on ESPN five times, ESPN2 twice, ABC twice, and CBS once. Games against Western Kentucky, Florida and Kentucky are also expected to be televised nationally.
2003-04 University of Louisville Men's Basketball Schedule Date Opponent (Television) Site Time (EST) November Mon. 3 EA SPORTS (exhibition) (WDRB/WFTE) FREEDOM HALL 7:30 p.m. Sun. 23 NBDL Exhibition Opponent (WDRB/WFTE) FREEDOM HALL 2:00 p.m. Sat. 29 Iowa in John Wooden Tradition (WDRB/WGN) Indianapolis, Ind. 1:30 p.m. (Indiana vs. Xavier in second game of doubleheader)Conseco Fieldhouse December Thur. 4 Western Kentucky (TBA) Nashville, Tenn. TBA Sun. 7 HOLY CROSS (WDRB/WFTE) FREEDOM HALL 2:00 p.m. Wed. 10 SETON HALL (WDRB/WFTE) FREEDOM HALL 7:30 p.m. Sat. 13 BILLY MINARDI CLASSIC FREEDOM HALL Noon Louisville vs. Florida (ESPN) Sat. 20 Opponent TBA FREEDOM HALL TBA Tues. 23 VMI (WDRB/WFTE) FREEDOM HALL 7:30 p.m. Sat. 27 at Kentucky (CBS) Lexington, Ky. 5:00 p.m. Tues. 30 TOLEDO (WDRB/WFTE) FREEDOM HALL 7:30 p.m. January Sat. 3 MURRAY STATE (WDRB/WFTE) FREEDOM HALL 2:00 p.m. Wed. 7 SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI (WDRB/WFTE) FREEDOM HALL 7:30 p.m. Sat. 10 at USF (ESPN+/WDRB/WFTE) Tampa, Fla. 1:00 p.m. Thur. 15 at East Carolina (ESPN2) Greenville, N.C. 9:00 p.m. Sat. 17 TULANE (WDRB/WFTE) FREEDOM HALL 7:30 p.m. Wed. 21 CINCINNATI (ESPN) FREEDOM HALL 7:00 p.m. Sun. 25 at Tennessee (ESPN) Knoxville, Tenn. 7:00 p.m. Wed. 28 HOUSTON (WDRB/WFTE) FREEDOM HALL 7:30 p.m. Sat. 31 MARQUETTE (ESPN) FREEDOM HALL 3:00 p.m. February Wed. 4 at Memphis (ESPN) Memphis, Tenn. 10:00 p.m. Sat. 7 UAB (ESPN) FREEDOM HALL 6:00 p.m. Thur. 12 at Charlotte (ESPN2) Charlotte, N.C. 9:00 p.m. Wed. 18 at TCU (TBA) Ft. Worth, Texas TBA Sat. 21 at Cincinnati (ABC) Cincinnati, Ohio 1:00 p.m. Wed. 25 DEPAUL (WDRB/WFTE) FREEDOM HALL 7:30 p.m. Sat. 28 MEMPHIS (ABC) FREEDOM HALL 1:00 p.m. March Wed. 3 at Saint Louis (WDRB/WFTE) St. Louis, Mo. TBA Sat. 6 at Marquette (CBS) Milwaukee, Wisc. 1:00 p.m. Wed.- 10- at Conference USA Tournament Cincinnati, Ohio TBA Sat. 13