Louisville vs. Morehead State Southwest Regional: 1:40 p.m. Thursday at Denver (TBS)

Pitino calls Morehead 'very tough opener'

no. 4 seed goodfor cards in 2005

ccosby@herald-leader.comMarch 14, 2011 

Preston Knowles, left, got past Kentucky's Terrence Jones for a basket earlier this season. Knowles, a senior guard from Clark County, leads Louisville in scoring at 14.8 points per game.

  • Louisville's first opponent

    Morehead State

    Record: 24-9

    Location: Morehead, Ky.

    Enrollment: 9,046

    Founded: 1887

    Nickname: Eagles

    School colors: Blue and gold

    Head coach: Donnie Tyndall (95-69 in five seasons at Morehead State and overall)

    Conference: Ohio Valley

    Last NCAA Tournament appearance: 2009

    All-time NCAA Tournament record: 5-7 in six appearances

    Series vs. Louisville: 12-29

  • Morehead State's first opponent

    Louisville

    Record: 25-9

    Location: Louisville

    Enrollment: 22,031

    Founded: 1798

    Nickname: Cardinals

    School colors: Cardinal red, black and white

    Head coach: Rick Pitino (245-95 in 10 seasons at Louisville; 597-219 in 25 seasons as a college head coach)

    Conference: Big East

    Last NCAA Tournament appearance: 2010

    All-time NCAA Tournament record: 60-38 in 36 appearances

    Series vs. Morehead State: 29-12

The University of Louisville will be facing a familiar foe when it opens NCAA Tournament play this week in Denver.

The Cardinals (25-9), the No. 4 seed in the Southwest Region, get No. 13 seed Morehead State on Thursday at the Pepsi Center. Louisville beat Morehead 74-54 in the 2009 NCAA Tournament when the Cards were the overall No. 1 seed.

"We've got a very, very tough opener, as we did two years ago," Louisville Coach Rick Pitino said in a statement. "We know Morehead State is very tough. We'll just take it one game at a time and go right to work on Morehead State. We're very pleased to be going anywhere in the NCAA Tournament and we're very excited."

The Cardinals are coming off a heartbreaking 69-66 loss to Connecticut in the Big East Tournament championship game. Louisville, picked to finish eighth in the conference in the pre-season, has been one of the nation's surprise stories. The Cards went 12-6 in league play for a third-place finish and have 11 wins against teams headed for the NCAA Tournament. In the past month the Cards have four wins against top-three seeds in the tourney: Syracuse, UConn, Pitt and Notre Dame.

The Cards will have to deal with the nation's leading rebounder, Morehead's Kenneth Faried, who pulls down 14.3 per game to go along with 17.6 points.

Faried had 14 points and 11 rebounds against Louisville in the 2009 tourney as a sophomore.

If Louisville beats Morehead, it will face the winner of the Vanderbilt-Richmond game on Saturday. The last time the Cards were seeded fourth in the NCAA Tournament was 2005, which was their last Final Four appearance.

Louisville is led by senior guard and Clark County product Preston Knowles, who leads the team in scoring at 14.8 points a game and earned second-team All-Big East honors.

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