Top Moments in Louisville Basketball History

Chris Stephens@@chris_stephens6Correspondent IIMarch 21, 2013

Top Moments in Louisville Basketball History

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    The University of Louisville has a rich basketball history.

    From its two national championships on the men's side to its one Final Four appearance on the women's side, the Cardinals have a lot to be proud of over their history.

    The Cardinals rank seventh all time with nine Final Four appearances, while the Lady Cardinals are still trying to get in the same conversation as Connecticut, Baylor and Tennessee.

    Here's a look at the top-10 moments in Louisville basketball history.

10. 2003 Upset over Kentucky

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    Kentucky came into the 2003 meeting on a 27-game regular-season win streak. Ironically, it had been Louisville that had the last defeated the Wildcats in the regular season the year before.

    Louisville, however, didn't care about the streak and defeated the Wildcats, 65-56. Kentucky was held to one field goal over the final 5:47. It couldn't buy a basket.

    Otis George came off the bench and led the team in scoring with 13, and the Cardinals had three other players reach double-figures.

9. Louisville Stuns Florida

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    For all intents and purposes, Louisville should not have made it to the Final Four last year.

    Florida was controlling its Elite Eight game with the Cardinals. Leading by 11 with 10:12 to go in the game, the Gators were dominating.

    After a timeout called by Pitino, the Cardinals got things going.

    In the end, Louisville outscored Florida 23-8 over the final 10 minutes of the game, stunning the Gators to advance to the Final Four.

8. Louisville Storms Back in Final Four

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    Down by 12 points at halftime, Louisville stormed back against Oklahoma in the 2009 Final Four to advance to its first title game.

    The Lady Cardinals got 14 points from Angel McCoughtry in the second half. It took less than five minutes for them to tie the game at 35.

    From there, it was a battle that went back and forth.

    With 5:52 to go, the Lady Cardinals took the lead for good on a jumper by McCoughtry.

    Oklahoma couldn't regain the lead, getting as close as one late.

7. 1983 Run to the Final Four

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    The 1982-83 season looked as if Louisville was going to have a repeat of the 1980 run to the national title.

    All year, the Cardinals had their way with opponents.

    With a No. 2 national ranking entering the tournament, Louisville squeaked out a win against Arkansas (65-63) in the Sweet 16 before beating Kentucky (80-68) in the Elite Eight.

    However, the Final Four was a different story, as Houston scored 94 points en route to a 13-point victory.

    Although it wasn't good for Louisville basketball, that loss was a good thing for college basketball in general.

    Had Louisville won the game, we might not have seen the greatest championship game in NCAA history, when N.C. State took down Houston in the final seconds to win the title.

6. 2012 Big East Regular Season Champions

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    The Big East has long been known as one of the top basketball conferences in the country.

    With the likes of Connecticut, Syracuse, Louisville, Georgetown and Villanova, the Big East has it all when it comes to basketball.

    Sadly, it will all come to an end after this season, which makes Louisville's regular-season conference title mean that much more.

    A conference tournament title earns an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament. If a team gets hot at the right time, then they can win the whole thing, even if they're not the best team.

    However, to win the regular-season title means something. It means you survived the gauntlet and can call yourself the best over the course of the whole season.

    That's exactly what Louisville did.

5. Angel McCoughtry Goes No. 1

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    The best women's player to come out of the school is no doubt Angel McCoughtry.

    Drafted No. 1 by the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA in 2009, McCoughtry was simply dominant her senior year at Louisville.

    She holds the school record for career points and rebounds and led the Lady Cardinals to one of the best four-year runs in school history (96-36).

4. 2009 National Runner-Up

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    The Lady Cardinals had their best season in history in 2008-09, going 34-5 en route to a national runner-up finish.

    Louisville defeated nine ranked teams, including two No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament. Had they upset Connecticut in the final, they would have become the only women's team to beat three No. 1 seeds en route to the title.

    However, Connecticut was a problem all year for Louisville, as three of its five losses were to the Lady Huskies.

    Still, the Lady Cardinals have nothing to be ashamed about from that year. It was the best season in school history, earning it a spot on this list.

3. Rick Pitino Returns to Final Four

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    When Louisville reached the Final Four in 2005, it marked the first time in history that a coach reached the Final Four with three different schools.

    Rick Pitino is one of the better coaches in the country and helped return the Cardinals to prominence 19 years after their last national title.

    Although the Cardinals still haven't won a national title since then, they're on the right track.

    Last year marked a return to the Final Four for the Cardinals as they came up a little short.

    Could this year be different?

2. First National Title

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    Denny Crum had been to two previous Final Fours but failed to make it to the top.

    The 1979-80 season was a different story, as Crum and the Cardinals were persistent in their rise to the top.

    The Cardinals had to win two overtime games to open the tournament, beating Kansas State and Texas A&M.

    From there, Crum's Cardinals beat a Larry Brown-led UCLA team, 59-54, to win the title.

1. 1986 National Championship

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    The 1986 season was sweet for Louisville.

    Going 32-6 during the year, the Cardinals weren't going to be denied.

    The 1986 national championship game between Louisville and Duke is one of the better championship games in history.

    In Mike Krzyzewski’s first Final Four, Louisville kept the edge, getting 25 points and 11 rebounds from Pervis Ellison en route to its second title.