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House of Horrors: A look at Louisville’s road struggles against Notre Dame

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The Cardinals have not won at the Joyce Center since 1994.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Virginia at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re reading this, you’re likely at least somewhat familiar with the fact that the Louisville men’s basketball team has had some struggles in games played at Notre Dame.

Now there’s become something of a misconception that the Cardinals have never won in South Bend, which isn’t true. U of L has actually won on the road four times at Notre Dame. The futility didn’t begin until Louisville joined the Big East in 2005-06.

During U of L’s time in the Big East, the Cardinals beat every league opponent on the road except one: Notre Dame. Unfortunately, that trend has continued during the program’s brief stay in the ACC.

Let’s look at the games that have led to Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center becoming Louisville’s least favorite road venue.

Notre Dame 78, Louisville 62 — Jan. 3, 2007

Probably the least remembered of all these games because it took place less than 24 hours after the Louisville football team’s landmark Orange Bowl win over Wake Forest.

The Cardinals, who were coming off an NIT appearance the season before and had struggled a bit during the non-conference portion of their season, were handled from start to finish in their Big East opener. This happened despite the fact that Notre Dame had suspended leading scorer Kyle McAlarney because of an arrest for marijuana possession. In what would become a great tradition in this series, Mike Brey threw an unproven player into a leading role (Tory Jackson), and he dominated against U of L.

Notre Dame 90, Louisville 57 — Feb. 12, 2009

Even with a five overtime game in the mix, this remains the weirdest game on this list.

Louisville lost just two games on its way to the 2009 Big East regular season and tournament championships. One came against a Connecticut team loaded with NBA talent that would go on to be a fellow No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The other came by 33 points against a Notre Dame team that would lose 15 games and see its season in the NIT.

U of L couldn’t make anything and Notre Dame couldn’t miss anything. Luke Harangody resumed his role as primary Cardinal killer by dropping 32 points and 17 rebounds. It’s been almost a decade now and I still don’t believe what I saw in those two hours that February.

Notre Dame 89, Louisville 79 (OT) — Feb. 9, 2011

Forever remembered as “The Kyle Kuric Dunk Game,” what’s lost in the reverie of Kuric’s famous cram is that Louisville squandered a golden opportunity to take down a Notre Dame team that was 20-4 and ranked in the top 10.

Louisville controlled the bulk of the game before a late second half rally by the Irish forced overtime. The home team dominated after that, as Notre Dame scored the first 14 points of OT and rolled to a 10 point victory. The loss spoiled a career-high 28 points from Kuric.

But he still did this:

I’ll never forgive the official or Bob Knight for trying to ruin this.

Notre Dame 104, Louisville 101 (5 OT) — Feb. 9, 2013

Still the only game in program history where Louisville has scored 100 or more points and lost.

I was there. Some of you may have been there. The rest of you watched it, I’m sure. We don’t have to talk about it any more than this.

Notre Dame 71, Louisville 66 — Feb. 13, 2016

This was just the third game Louisville played after the self-imposed postseason ban was announced, and I think the reality of the situation was still just starting to set in for everyone.

U of L actually came out on fire in this game, shooting 49 percent in the first half and building a double-digit lead. They shot just 28 percent after the break and also couldn’t defend the Notre Dame duo of Demetrius Jackson and Steve Vasturia, who combined to score 47 points.

Notre Dame 77, Louisville 70 -- Jan. 4, 2017

The most recent meeting between these two came last season when the third-ranked Irish “upset” the ninth-ranked Cardinals. Vasturia scored a career-high 24 points, Matt Farrell tied a career-high with 22 points, and Bonzie Colson chipped in a workmanlike 18 and 14. The loss dropped U of L to 0-2 in conference play for the first time under Rick Pitino.

Here’s hoping the mojo finally gets flipped this evening.