U of L, Arizona will clash in Jimmy V Classic

Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals have beefed up their non-conference schedule for the 2006-07 season, and a Dec. 5 matchup against Arizona in the Jimmy V. Classic is direct proof.

Louisville will face national power Arizona in the Jimmy V. Classic Dec. 5 in New York's Madison Square Garden.

The Wildcats had a tentative agreement to play Kansas in Lawrence, but decided to back out of that game against the Jayhawks to take on Louisville in the annual classic.

Louisville ended the 2005-06 season with a loss to South Carolina in the NIT semifinals. The Cardinals finished the season 21-13. They also played three games in Madison Square Garden, losing all three time to St. John's, Pittsburgh and South Carolina.

Arizona lost to Villanova in the NCAA second round. The Wildcats return three starters, including 6-foot-7 sophomore Marcus Williams. Williams averaged 13 points and made 44 percent from the three-point line. Arizona also could get a boost if point guard Mustafa Shakur decides to withdraw from the NBA draft. Shakur led Arizona with 154 assists and also averaged 11.2 points per game. He has until June 18 to remove his name from the draft.

Will U of L have to contend with Mustafa
Shakur in the Jimmy V. Classic?

The Cardinals will face Arizona just three days after the Wildcats play Illinois at Phoenix's US Airways Center.

"Our players come to Arizona to play the best games in the best arenas," Ryan Hansen, a UA athletic department administrator who handles men's basketball scheduling, told the Arizona Daily Star. "This is a quality opponent in the mecca of basketball … and the beautiful thing is that we get the ESPN exposure that we need so much."

The game will mark the first time Arizona's Lute Olson and Rick Pitino will square off since the Wildcats defeated Pitino's Kentucky team in the NCAA Championship game in 1997.

With the addition of Arizona to the Louisville's schedule, Pitino has significantly upgraded the Cardinals non-conference schedule. Louisville will play Kentucky, UMASS, New Mexico State and Miami at home. They'll also play Dayton in Cincinnati.

The game will be televised on ESPN.

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