Notre Dame, West Virginia and South Florida are the three Big East teams that Louisville will play twice during the 2008-09 season, the conference announced today.
U of L's league home schedule outside of the mirror games includes tilts against Connecticut, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Depaul, Providence and Seton Hall (hey Bobby). The Cards will face Georgetown, Syracuse, Villanova, Cincinnati, Rutgers and St. John's on the road.
The dates for all of these games will be announced at a later time.
My first impression is that I'm really surprised we're not seeing a UConn/U of L home-and-home, since those teams figure to be one and two when the coaches' preseason poll is released. I figured we'd see the Cards doubling up against the Huskies, Marquette for rivalry purpose, and then someone predicted to finish near the bottom of the standings like USF.
As it is, U of L gets two games against a Notre Dame team that returns all but one player from a squad that finished third in the league a year ago, a West Virginia team that will definitely be hurt by the departure of Joe Alexander, but which brings back a solid core of players and brings in perhaps the best recruiting class in school history, and a South Florida squad which, well, appears to be the worst team in the league once again.
I'm disappointed that we're not getting a series with a traditional rival like Marquette or Cincinnati, but I suppose the league is attempting to push the budding U of L/WVU rivalry, and that's understandable, especially since both games figure to be competitive.
It's impossible to gauge the relative strengths and weaknesses of individual league schedules at this point, because there are simply too many teams in the Big East that look amazing on paper. We're all going to be privy to outstanding basketball almost every single night from January through early March. It's going to be exciting, fun and frustrating all at the same time.
You know what's not exciting or fun, but extremely frustrating? The fact that today is July 2.