UofL's Big East opponents announced

The University of Louisville's 2009-10 men's basketball season in the BIG EAST Conference will include a challenging slate of 18 games, including two games each against Connecticut, Syracuse and St. John's.

Louisville's home conference opponents will include Cincinnati, Connecticut, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Rutgers, St. John's, USF, Syracuse, and Villanova. The Cardinals' nine league road games will be at Connecticut, DePaul, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and West Virginia.

"There is no easy way out in the Big East," said U of L men's basketball coach Rick Pitino. "The Big East schedule is always going to pose great difficulty for every basketball team in our league. As usual, our fans will be treated to some of the greatest teams in the nation in this, the final year for our team to compete in Freedom Hall. We look forward to another highly competitive season."

Five BIG EAST teams -- Villanova, Connecticut, West Virginia, Georgetown and Louisville -- are among preseason top 25 picks by Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com, Jeff Goodman of FOXSports.com and Andy Katz of ESPN.com. One of the Cardinals' repeat opponents -- Connecticut -- is a top ten selection in two of the three rankings.

The Cardinals return eight lettermen from a stellar team which attained its first-ever Associated Press No. 1 national ranking in 2008-09, achieving that position in the final poll of the season. The Cardinals (31-6, 16-2 BIG EAST) won their first BIG EAST Conference regular season title, accomplished in a year in which the league had a record nine teams earn national rankings during the season. U of L also won its first BIG EAST Conference tournament championship. The Cardinals entered the NCAA Tournament as the overall No. 1 seed and reached the NCAA Elite Eight for the second straight season. Ten members of the team earned recognition on the Athletic Director's Honor Roll.

U of L's non-conference schedule is incomplete. A completed schedule, including dates and times for the BIG EAST games, is expected in early September.

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