Louisville basketball fans are already dreaming about where the 2007-2008 season might end, but for now they'll have to settle for knowing where it begins.
Rick Pitino's seventh season at U of L will officially begin on Nov. 17 when the Cards host Hartford in their first game of the seventh annual Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Invitational. Freedom Hall will again be the site one night later when Louisville takes on reigning SWAC champ Jackson State.
On Nov. 21, Louisville will head to Las Vegas to take on the Runnin' Rebels at the Thomas and Mack Center in a standard regular season game. The Cards will then resume play in the Vegas Invitational on Nov. 23 with a third-round contest against BYU at 9 p.m in Orleans Arena.
Should U of L defeat the Cougars, they would then play the winner of the North Carolina/Old Dominion game at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2 the next night. The two losers will square off at 4:30 p.m. that same day.
Tickets to Louisville's third and fourth round games can be acquired by calling the U of L ticket office at (502) 852-5151 or toll-free at 1-800-633-7105. Travel packages will be available through Champion Sports Tours by calling 866-995-7444 or online at www.ChampionSportsTours.com.
The Hartford Hawks finished the '06-'07 season with a 13-18 record and a 19-point loss to regular season champ Vermont in the America East Tournament. Leading scorer Bo Taylor is gone, but guards Joe Zeglinski and Jaret Von Rosenberg both return after a season that saw them average double figures.
Defending SWAC champions Jackson State will be looking to make its second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance in 2008, but will have to do so without the graduated Trey Johnson, who averaged over 27 points a game last season. No player returning to the team averaged more than nine points.
The Brigham Young Cougars saw last season end in the first-round of the NCAA Tournament with a heartbreaking two-point overtime loss to ninth seeded Xavier. Four of BYU's six leading scorers were seniors, including top scorer Keena Young and point guard Austin Ainge.
An at-large selection to the NCAA Tournament in 2007, the Old Dominion Monarchs are coming off of one of the most successful seasons in school history. ODU finished its '06-'07 campaign with a 24-9 record that included wins at Georgetown at Drexel and at Toledo. They will likely start three experienced seniors, but will still have to cope with losing their three leading scorers to graduation.
The North Carolina Tar Heels are going to be really good.
Vegas Invitational Third and Fourth Round Schedule
Nov. 23 at Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, Nev. (times listed are Eastern)
1:00 p.m. Iona vs. South Carolina State
3:30 p.m. Jackson State vs. Hartford
6 p.m. Louisville vs. BYU
9 p.m. North Carolina vs. Old Dominion
Nov. 24 at Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, Nev. (times listed are Eastern)
11:30 p.m. Loser of Iona/S.C. State vs. loser of Jackson St./Hartford
2 p.m. Winner of Iona/S.C. State vs. winner of Jackson St./Hartford
4:30 p.m. Loser of Louisville/BYU vs. loser of North Carolina/Old Dominion
7:30 p.m. Winner of Louisville/BYU vs. winner of North Carolina/Old Dominion