A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

This time it counts — NKU squares off against Louisville in NIT opener Tuesday night on ESPN

By Don Owen
NKyTribune reporter

Northern Kentucky University and the University of Louisville have met twice in exhibitions, but the two basketball programs have never squared off in a regular-season game.

On Tuesday night, NKU and Louisville will clash in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament at the KFC Yum! Center. The tipoff is slated for 7 p.m., and the game will be shown to a national television audience on ESPN.

NKU is 22-9 overall and won the Horizon League regular-season title with a 15-3 record. A year ago, the Norse earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament in their first year of postseason eligibility and played the University of Kentucky in the first round.

NKU’s Dustin Maguire (5) and Louisville’s Samardo Samuels (24) competed in 2008, when the Cardinals visited Highland Heights for an exhibition game.

Louisville is 20-13 overall, and the Cardinals tied for eighth place in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 9-9 mark.

Louisville is seeded No. 2 in its NIT bracket, while NKU is the No. 7 seed. The winner advances to meet either No. 3 seed Middle Tennessee State or No. 6 seed Vermont.

On Nov. 8, 2008, Louisville and NKU met in an exhibition game inside The Bank of Kentucky Center (now BB&T Arena) at Highland Heights. Louisville rallied in the second half to defeat NKU, 84-69, in front of a crowd of 8,408 in the first-ever men’s basketball game in the facility.

Two years later inside the KFC Yum! Center, Louisville posted an 83-66 win against NKU in an exhibition game in front of a crowd of 18,869. That marked Louisville’s first-ever contest in the KFC Yum! Center.

This will be NKU’s debut in the NIT. Louisville is making its 15th trip to the NIT and first since 2006, when the Cardinals reached the semifinals of the postseason event in New York.

Louisville has a 14-14 record in its 14 previous NIT appearances, with its best finish winning the 1956 NIT championship. The Cardinals have reached the NIT quarterfinals six times and the semifinals on three occasions (1956, 1985, 2006).

Tickets for the general public go on sale Monday at 1 p.m. In non-premium areas in the lower bowl, tickets are $12 and students are $6. Please visit the following link to purchase tickets.

A full preview of the NKU/Louisville game and detailed look at the NIT will be available Monday in the Northern Kentucky Tribune.


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