Louisville enters the NCAA baseball tournament as one of the top teams in the country.
Kentucky ends its season as one of the top teams left out of the 64-team field.
The Cardinals (48-12) earned the No. 7 overall seed by the NCAA selection committee and will play host to St. Louis (33-27) in the first round of the regional on Friday.
The other national seeds, in order, are: Arizona State (47-8), Texas (46-11), Florida (42-15), Coastal Carolina (51-7), Virginia (47-11), UCLA (43-13) and Georgia Tech (45-13).
Kentucky (31-25), which swept defending NCAA champion LSU two weeks ago but did not qualify for the Southeastern Conference Tournament, was among about 12 teams considered for the tournament's last two spots, committee chairman Tim Weiser said.
North Carolina (36-20) made the NCAA tournament despite not making the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.
"We have not had that as a criteria, and we have not suggested to the membership that they have to make a conference tournament," Weiser said. "I think in North Carolina's case, the argument can be made that they had a very good season."
The ACC, Pac-10 and SEC each had eight teams selected by the NCAA baseball committee, all-time highs for both the ACC and Pac-10.
"It was a unique feature for us, especially when it came to trying to determine how we distribute these teams from a regional standpoint," Weiser said.
The 16 regional winners move on to the best-of-three super regionals, with those winners advancing to the College World Series, which begins June 19 in Omaha, Neb. It will be the last one played at Rosenblatt Stadium, the home of college baseball's premier event since 1950. The eight-team championship will move to a new ballpark in downtown Omaha next season.
Louisville will host one of 16 four-team, double-elimination regionals that begin Friday. The other teams in the Louisville regional are Vanderbilt (41-17) and Illinois State (31-22).
"I'm proud of the guys. A national seed is a great accomplishment," Louisville Coach Dan McDonnell said.