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Louisville's 2011-2012 schedule is elite

Complaints about Louisville's non-conference basketball schedule have become as common an annual occurrence as Kevin Harned morphing into Snake Plisken whenever bad weather strikes during the summer months. These detractors always somehow fail to see that U of L will face more top 25 opponents than just about anyone in the country because they play in the Big East, and that Pitino's Cardinal teams have consistently finished their seasons with a top ten strength of schedule ranking.

This may be the year the whining is silenced, however, as Louisville will play three games that rank in the top seven of Jeff Goodman's list of the 20 best non-conference games in all of college basketball for the upcoming season.

2) Louisville at Kentucky, Dec. 31 – There’s nothing like a New Year’s Eve tilt between these two hated rivals. The fan bases despise one another – and there’s no shortage of disdain between the coaches, either.

6) Vanderbilt at Louisville, Dec. 2 – Vandy has everyone back and this is Kevin Stallings’ best chance to contend for a Final Four. Rick Pitino’s team has a blend of experience and talented young freshmen.

7) Memphis at Louisville, Dec. 17 – The former C-USA rivalry has been renewed and the timing is ideal – as both programs have no shortage of talent.

This is a good time to be a Louisville basketball fan.