Louisville and Pittsburgh have arguably been the two most successful Big East Teams since the merger in 2005. The last three seasons have included some of the most memorable games of the year, and have served as a microcosm of Louisville's Season.
2008-2009: Unquestionably Louisville's most talented team under Pitino. Led by future lottery pick T-Will's 20-7-4 effort and Earl Clark's double double, Louisville battled back from a 10-point second half deficit against the #1 team in the country to win 69-63. It think we all remember E5's ridiculous fade away jump shot as the shot clock expired in the final minute to help seal the win. This team featured 3 NBA players in the starting lineup, not to mention Preston Knowles coming off the bench to shoot 3-5 from 3. I was lucky enough to be in Freedom Hall for this game, and it is without a doubt the most memorable game of a great season.
2009-2010: Perhaps Pitino's most frustrating team to watch, led by unpredictable Edgar Sosa and always moping Samardo Samuels. Louisville carried a 5-point lead into the final minute on the road, when Sosa missed clutch free throws, and Pitt forced overtime. We know Pitino's quote about this game being one of the toughest losses of his career. As much as I'd like to remember the Syracuse game to close down Freedom Hall, I'll always remember the feeling of watching a game that Louisville had so clearly won slip away.
2010-2011: Potentially Pitino's most popular team at Louisville. No clear future pros among them, yet they are sitting in third place in a loaded Big East Conference. Not enough can be said about how much fun this team has been to watch play and grow as a team this season. This could be the most fun team to watch since the 2005 final four team with Garcia, Dean, Myles, O'bannon and Palacios (tangent: remember how that team used to be up by 40 points and still play ridiculous man-to-man defense?). Louisville jumped out to an early lead and held on for the rest of the game through tough defense and sporadic three point shooting. No one had a game that jumps out of the box-score, yet you're left with the feeling that it was one of preston and siva's best games of the year. Louisville shut down a very effective Pittsburgh offense and scored when it counted. It was an amazing, hard-nosed, albeit ugly at times, game to watch.
No one knows what to expect from the Cards heading into March. Yet, if their play against one of the toughest teams in the conference is any indication, this team could do great things in the BE and NCAA tournaments.