U of L has reached its eighth NCAA Final Four and its first in 19 years -- since the Cardinals won the 1986 NCAA Championship. Louisville's eight Final Four appearances are tied for the seventh-most all-time.
Incredible Game Launches Cards to Final Four
Louisville overcame a 20-point deficit, an incredible shooting performance by its opponent, and foul trouble by its floor leader to outlast West Virginia 93-85 in overtime to win the championship of the Albuquerque Regional. Consider the following:
Three Cards on All-Region Team
Three Cardinals and two West Virginia players were named to the all-regional team in Albuquerque. Larry O'Bannon was named the Most Outstanding Player in becoming the fifth Cardinal to earn top regional honors, an honor also bestowed upon Jim Price (1972), Phil Bond (1975), Darrell Griffith (1980) and Lancaster Gordon (1983). U of L juniors Taquan Dean and Francisco Garcia also made the all-region team along with West Virginia guard Patrick Beilein and center Kevin Pittsnogle.
Pitino's Unique Accomplishment
By leading the Cardinals to their first NCAA Final Four since 1986, U of L Coach Rick Pitino has become the first coach in NCAA history to guide three different schools to the NCAA Final Four. This is his fifth Final Four appearance, also taking Providence once (1987) and Kentucky three times (1993, 1996, 1997). Pitino has won 16 of his last 19 NCAA Tournament games, spanning his last five tournament appearances (1996, 1997, 2003, 2004, 2005). Pitino has a 31-9 record in NCAA Tournament play (.778), ranking him third among active coaches in NCAA Tournament winning percentage.
Cards Tie Most Victories In School History
Louisville's 33-4 record ties the Cardinals' 1980 NCAA Championship team (33-3) for the most victories in school history. The Cardinals' 29 victories entering the NCAA Tournament are the most ever for a U of L team entering the tournament. Louisville's 14-2 Conference USA record was its best ever in the league.