As if revenge for a five overtime loss and the final home game for one of the most memorable senior (slash junior) classes in recent memory wasn't enough, Saturday's showdown with Notre Dame just got even bigger.
Villanova's upset of Georgetown Wednesday night means that a Louisville victory over the Fighting Irish guarantees the Cardinals of at least a share of the Big East regular season championship. U of L can win the title outright with a victory if the Hoyas lose to Syracuse and Marquette loses to St. John's.
Despite owning the best winning percentage of any team in the conference since 2005-06, Louisville has won just one regular season Big East title since joining the league. The Cardinals finished in a tie for second place in both 2006-07 and 2007-08, and won the conference championship outright in 2008-09. U of L also won the Big East Tournament in 2009, a feat they repeated last season.
While the chances of both Georgetown and Marquette losing aren't great (especially the latter occurrence), even a share of the conference title would be an accomplishment worthy of a pretty hefty celebration. For starters, it's a feat that didn't seem very possible after the Cardinals lost three straight games in late January. On top of that, the fact that this is the final season of one of the most storied conferences in the history of college basketball would make a title that much more of a keepsake.
As far as seeding for the Big East Tournament is concerned, Georgetown will clinch the No. 1 seed with a win, while Louisville can do no worse than the two seed if it wins. The Cards will be the No. 1 overall seed if they win the regular season title outright or if they finish in a first-place tie with Marquette.
Let's get one championship this Saturday, and another on the Saturday after that.