Austin Peay, which returns all five starters and top eight players from its 23-8 team that tied for the Ohio Valley Conference Championship last year, will visit Freedom Hall on Dec. 20 at 2 p.m. APSU is led by first-team All-OVC forward Adrian Henning (15.5 ppg, 7.1 rpg last season) and OVC Tournament MVP, center Josh Lewis (12.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg). U of L beat Austin Peay 86-64 in the first round of the NCAA East Region in Birmingham, Ala. on March 21.
"This just reinforces that as people grow older, they have small moments of insanity," said U of L Coach Rick Pitino. "I'm part of that group. Our schedule was too difficult as it was. Now, we schedule a team that has nearly every player back from a team that played very well against us in the NCAA Tournament. It's an obvious revenge game.
"It just goes to show all U of L fans who's representing you: a coach who's a little crazy," Pitino quipped.
The game also has a benevolent twist to it. Of the guarantee U of L will pay Austin Peay for the game, $10,000 will be donated to the Marques Maybin Medical Fund in the name of Austin Peay State University and the people of Clarksville, Tenn., Maybin's home town. In addition, the Daniel Pitino Foundation will donate $5,000 to the fund. The Cardinals' No. 12 all-time scorer, Maybin was paralyzed from the waist down in a motorcycle accident on Aug. 5 and did not have medical insurance.
"Marques is a Clarksvillian - he is one of ours," said APSU Coach and Athletics Director Dave Loos. "We are happy to partner with the University of Louisville to help Marques in this way, through the game he loves so much. I am very impressed with what the University of Louisville and what Coach Pitino is doing personally to help take care of Marques.
"I have personally known Marques a long time since he was playing AAU ball with Trenton (Hassell, former Austin Peay star now with the Chicago Bulls), Shawn (Marion, of the Phoenix Suns), Matthew Blackston and Brad (Loos, his son). I have known him as a player - we recruited him - and as a person and think a great deal of him.
"We already were playing one of, if not the toughest mid-major schedules (Kentucky, Alabama, Memphis, Western Kentucky) in the country. But this was a game we had to do. It was for all the right reasons."
With the $15,000 in donations and the $46,279.41 collected at the Cardinals' Sept. 20 football game against UTEP, the Marques Maybin Medical Fund has surpassed the $100,000 mark.
"So many Cardinal fans had already contributed to Marques' fund and to add more than $46,000 is amazing," said U of L Director of Athletics Tom Jurich. "I can't say enough about the generosity of this community."
The addition of Austin Peay to the U of L schedule means that 17 of the Cardinals' games will be played against teams that reached postseason competition last season, including 11 NCAA Tournament and six NIT participants. It will be the first of two visits to Freedom Hall this season for the Governors, who will also face Kentucky there on Dec. 31.