I'm still a little unsure on what the best way to approach playing this tournament out is, so I'll consider this a trial run (a trial run that counts mind you) and then I'll make any necessary adjustments before the next round.
Tournament voting will begin today as we tackle the first-round matchups in the "Red Region," headlined by Darrell Griffith. Voting will close at 2 a.m. this evening (days don't actually change until 5 a.m. in my eyes), and the final results will be posted sometime tomorrow.
Here we go.
1) Darrell Griffith (1976-1980)
Louisville's all-time leading scorer, "Dr. Dunkenstein" led the Cardinals to a 33-3 record and their first national championship in his senior year of 1980. He holds the single-season scoring record with 825 points, and remarkably is the only player in Louisville history to score more than 700 in a season. In 1980 he was the recipient of the John Wooden Award, which is given annually to the best player in the country.
Kentucky's Mr. Basketball in 1976, the Male High product had his jersey retired in a ceremony immediately following the 1980 championship. His road jersey is on permanent display at the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
16) Tony Kimbro (1985-1990)
The pride of Seneca High School in the 1980's, Kimbro was Kentucky's Mr. Basketball in 1985 and was widely considered one of the best five players in the country. It's safe to say that his Louisville career did not live up to the insane hype.
Though he did miss an entire season due to ineligibility, and only averaged double figures in his sophomore season, Kimbro did log just under 18 minutes a game on the '86 national championship team, and ranks fifth at U of L in career games played.
8. Taquan Dean (2002-2006)
One of the most popular U of L players in recent memory, Dean left Louisville two years ago as the school's leader in made three-point field goals, and currently ranks 12th in career scoring. He was a team captain in three of his four seasons and helped the Cardinals to the 2005 Final Four, most notably by pouring in 23 points despite playing with a sprained foot and leg cramps during a remarkable comeback victory in the Albuquerque Regional final against West Virginia.
9. Phillip Bond (1972-1977)
An exceptionally trustworthy point guard for four seasons, Bond was the MVP of the Midwest Region during Louisville's run to the Final Four in 1975, and holds the U of L record for most assists in one NCAA Tournament (35). He is second all-time at U of L in career assists with 528, and his 14 assists against UCLA in the 1977 NCAA Tournament was a single-game record for 27 years before Francisco Garcia dished out 15 against Murray State in 2004.
4. Billy Thompson (1982-1986) Eleventh on Louisville's career scoring list, Thompson was the top scorer on the '86 national championship team (14.9 ppg). He is the only player to rank among U of L's top 11 in scoring (11th, 1,685 points), rebounding (7th, 930 rebounds) and assists (6th, 459 assists). Thompson is also one of 19 Louisville players to have his jersey retired.
13. Jack Coleman (1946-1949)
Another Cardinal to have his jersey retired, Coleman led U of L to the 1948 NAIB championship by averaging a team-high 13.3 ppg. He was a two-time captain, and led the Cards in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage in each of his three seasons.
5. Lancaster Gordon (1980-1984)
Louisville's 14th all-time leading scorer, Gordon played in multiple Final Fours and was a Sporting News Second-Team All-American in 1984. He ranks 4th all-time at U of L in steals, and fifth in field goals made. He was the eighth overall selection in the 1984 NBA Draft.
12. Phil Rollins (1952-1956)
A member of the U of L Athletic Hall of Fame and another player to have his jersey retired, Rollins was the captain and leading scorer on Louisville's 1956 NIT Championship team. Though scoring has fluctuated over the years, Rollins' 37-point performance against Eastern Kentucky in his senior season still stands as the sixth highest single-game mark at U of L.
3. Reece Gaines (1999-2003)
Louisville's 4th all-time leading scorer, Gaines remarkably ranks in the top five in scoring, assists, steals, three-point field goals and free throws at U of L. Despite playing with a sub-par supporting cast, Gaines almost single-handedly made Rick Pitino's first two years at Louisville much easier than they could have been. He was a finalist for National Player of the Year as a senior in 2003, when he led the Cards to a Conference USA Tournament Championship and a four seed in the NCAA Tournament.
14. Tick Rogers (1992-1996)
Though he averaged only 6.8 ppg for his career, Rogers is one of the best defensive players in Cardinal history, ranking first in most steals in one game (10) and tied for first with Darrell Griffith in most steals in a season (86). He was Conference USA's Defensive Player of the Year for the '95-'96 season. Tick also gets major cool points because: 1) his name is Tick, 2) he's from Hart County but still came to Louisville, 3) his cool dunk to start the UMass game, and 4) I spent around 72% of the 1990's imitating his jump shot.
6. Felton Spencer (1986-1990)
The sixth overall selection in the 1990 NBA Draft, Spencer ranks first at U of L all-time in both career field goal percentage (.628) and season field goal percentage (.681). The Eastern High School product played behind Pervis Ellison for three seasons, but was a star in his senior year when he averaged 14.9 points and 8.5 rebounds, and blocked 69 shots.
11. Bob Lochmueller (1949-1952)
Lochmueller's average of 19 points per game in 1951 guided Louisville to its first NCAA Tournament appearance, and is the 12th best single-season average at U of L ever. An all around player who averaged double figures in each of his three seasons, Lochmueller is another one of the 19 Cardinals with their jerseys retired. He was selected eighth in the 1952 pro draft, and is a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
7. Marques Maybin (1997-2001)
One of a very select group of players to start as a freshman under Denny Crum, Marques Maybin scored 1,624 points (13th all-time) during his career as a four-year starter at U of L. An All-Conference performer in both his junior and senior seasons, Maybin ranks seventh in three-pointers made at Louisville, and his 22 points against Hofstra in his first game as a Cardinal ranks second all-time in the category of most points scored in a freshman/debut game, surpassed only by Jerry Smith's 24 against Northwestern State this past year.
10. Scooter McCray (1978-1983)
Carlton Lamont McCray had the misfortune of missing the 1980 championship run because of a knee injury, but he still managed to make appearances in a pair of Final Fours, one of which came in 1983 when he averaged 32.4 minutes of floor time a game. Though he never averaged more than the 10.1 ppg he did as a freshman, McCray knew how to deliver the ball, and he ranks 11th on U of L's list of career assist leaders because of it.
2. Junior Bridgeman (1972-1975)
Ulysses "Junior Bridgeman" was twice named the Player of the Year the Missouri Valley Conference, and would go on to have his jersey retired by the Milwaukee Bucks. He earned All-America honors as a senior when he averaged 16.1 ppg and led the Cards to the 1975 Final Four.
15. Kenny Reeves (1946-1950)
Another member of the U of L Athletic Hall of Fame with his jersey retired, Reeves helped U of L win the NAIB Championship in 1948 by averaging 10.5 ppg as a starting sophomore guard. The Maysville native led the Cards to a combined 90-33 record over his four seasons.