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The best Louisville game of the decade tournament: Sweet 16

My uncontrollable affinity for year-end lists has been pretty well documented on this site, so with an actual decade coming to a close in about 50 days, you can expect rankings of just about anything and everything to be hurled your way at a furious pace for the next month and-a-half.

The pageantry begins with a 16-team (or game) tournament to decide what was the best Louisville Cardinal game of the culminating decade.

Some notes:

1. Only basketball and football games were included since those are the two major sports this site covers.

2. Only Louisville wins were selected.

3. I didn't use any specific criteria to determine which games were selected and how they were ranked. There's a healthy mix of great games, games that were important to the program and blowout victories that were awesome for one reason or another.Your voting philosophy is your own.

The seedings were extremely hard for me to do and are easily debatable, but this leads me to believe that a lot of the matchups will be highly competitive. Everything will be settled on in the field voting box.

Without further ado, here's your opening matchup: a very solid 8/9 death game .

8. THE 2004 LIBERTY BOWL (12/31/04)

The '04 Cardinals were a dropped interception at Miami away from an undefeated regular season and a likely spot in a BCS bowl game. Instead, the C-USA champions were relegated to the Liberty Bowl and a date with undefeated Boise State.

What followed was nearly 900 combined yards of total offense, the highest scoring Liberty Bowl of all-time and a Louisville victory sealed with an interception by Kerry Rhodes, the star safety who had let the ball bounce off his chest months earlier in the Orange Bowl.The 44-40 victory snapped Boise's 22-game win streak and vaulted the Cardinals to a season-ending ranking of No. 6.

Senior quarterback Stefan LeFors earned MVP honors by going 18-of-26 through the air for 193 yards and rushing 12 times for 76 more yards. The Cardinals rushed for 329 yards against a defense that had been the nation's fourth-best against the run. In all, Louisville outgained the Broncos 564 to 284.

The game also served as a coming out party of sorts for one, Michael Bush.


In what Rick Pitino stilo refers to as the best win of his coaching career, the 20th-ranked Louisville Cardinals came into Rupp Arena and stunned No. 1 Kentucky 65-56, snapping the Wildcats' 27-game regular-season winning streak. UK hadn't been beaten outside of the postseason since an 18-point pummeling by the Cards the year before.

"Kentucky is a great basketball team that just happened to lose tonight," Pitino said after the game. "We were very fortunate to win. We had that special moment that happens once in a lifetime."

The surprising star of the game was reserve Otis George, who finished with 13 points and eight rebounds. Larry O'Bannon and Luke Whitehead each added 11 points while Francisco Garcia netted 10.

"This is just a great feeling," Whitehead said. "Coach Pitino already told us how much this game means to him. He said it meant a lot to us, him and the city and it just makes us so happy."

The Cards trailed by five at halftime but shot 54.2 percent from the field in the second half and knocked down 15-of-16 free-throw attempts. They also out rebounded the heavily-favored Wildcats 38-30.

So who moves on to the round of eight? It's your call.

The poll closes tomorrow at noon.