Appearances in the Jimmy V Classic, Big Ten/ACC Challenge and a trio of games against in-state foes highlight the 2019-20 men’s basketball non-conference schedule for the University of Louisville men’s basketball team, announced by head coach Chris Mack on Thursday.
Four of the Cardinals’ 11 non-conference opponents participated in the NCAA Tournament last season, including national runner-up Texas Tech. Louisville has faced a schedule among the top 16 toughest by the ratings percentage index in 10 of the past 12 seasons, including the nation’s fourth-toughest last year by the NET ratings. The ACC moves to a 20-game league schedule this season, eliminating two games that would have previously been against non-conference opponents.
Including the Cardinals’ ACC schedule, 15 of the Cardinals’ 31 games will be played against teams that participated in post-season competition last season, including a dozen from the 2019 NCAA Tournament field (NCAA Tournament: Duke, Florida State twice, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, North Carolina Central, Syracuse, Texas Tech, Virginia twice, Virginia Tech; NIT: Clemson twice, NC State). Seventeen of the Cardinals’ games will be played against teams that won at least 17 games last season, including nine against teams that won 29 or more.
Five UofL opponents are ranked among the ESPN way-too-early top 25, including non-conference foes No. 3 Kentucky and No. 11 Texas Tech. Louisville is fifth in that early ranking that also includes ACC members No. 6 Duke, No. 8 North Carolina and No. 15 Virginia.
Including an exhibition game, nine of the Cardinals’ 12 non-conference games will be played at home in the KFC Yum! Center, UofL’s spectacular 22,000-seat home arena. The Cardinals will face their first outside competition in an exhibition game on Oct. 29 in the KFC Yum! Center against 2019 NCAA Division II regional finalist Bellarmine, a team coached by former UofL assistant Scott Davenport.
While not a non-conference game, the Cardinals open their 2019-20 season on Nov. 5 at Miami, the earliest opening game ever for UofL and the first time they have played a conference opponent to open the season. The game will be televised on the ACC Network, the new 24/7 national platform that will launch on August 22. Fans can go to www.GetACCN.com to see if their provider is currently scheduled to carry the ACC Network. If a provider is not listed, fans are enouraged to contact them and request the ACCN.
UofL faces Youngstown State on Nov. 10 in the first of four games in the Global Sports Shootout in the KFC Yum! Center. The Cardinals will also face NCAA First Four participant North Carolina Central on Nov. 17, USC Upstate on Nov. 20 and Akron on Nov. 24 in the round-robin, four-team event. Amidst the tournament is another home game against Indiana State on Nov. 13.
The Cardinals open the month of December with a return to the KFC Yum! Center to face Michigan in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Dec. 3. Louisville will visit Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y. to play national runner-up Texas Tech in the Jimmy V Classic on Dec. 10.
The final three non-conference games include home games against Eastern Kentucky on Dec. 14and Miami (Ohio) on Dec. 18, followed by intrastate rival Kentucky in Lexington Dec. 28 in the final game of 2019.
The ACC moves to a 20-game conference schedule this season, with dates expected to be finalized in September. In UofL’s sixth year in the 15-team league, the Cardinals’ home ACC opponents will consist of Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. UofL’s 10 league road games will be at Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, NC State, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Virginia.
The ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament will be staged at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C. on March 10-14.
Last season, Louisville achieved a 20-14 record and participated in its 39th NCAA Tournament. Picked in the preseason to finish 11th in the ACC, UofL attained a 10-8 conference record and earned a tie for sixth in the final regular season standings. The Cardinals will return six of their top seven scorers from last year and welcome a top 10 recruiting class.
The Cardinals have been ranked among the nation’s top teams in multiple early rankings by national outlets, including the following: No. 2 by Jon Rothstein, CBS Sports; No. 3 by Jeff Goodman, Stadium; No. 4 by Gary Parrish, CBSSports.com; No. 4 by Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated; No. 5 by Jeff Borzello, ESPN.com; No. 5 by Seth Davis, The Athletic; No. 6 by Rob Dauster, NBCSports.com; No. 6 by Mike Rutherford, SB Nation; No. 6 by Kyle Kensing, Athlon Sports; No. 8 by David Kenyon, Bleacher Report; and No. 11 by Mike DeCourcy, The Sporting News.
Louisville has received an NCAA Public Recognition Award six of the last seven years for ranking among the top 10 percent in men’s basketball in the Academic Progress Rate (APR), which measures academic eligibility, retention and graduation for student-athletes. Louisville is one of just nine Division I schools in the nation, including only two from Power Five conferences (Louisville and Stanford), which have earned the APR recognition in at least six of the last seven years.
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