The Cardinals and Tigers have had one of the games fiercest rivalries dating all the way back to January 6, 1949 when the visiting Cards declawed the Tigers, 72-53. In fact, the Cards got off to a 6-0 start in the series, beating the hated team to the south by an average score of 74.5-60.5. The two rivals have played a total of 88 times with the Cardinals holding a 53-35 advantage. Memphis took the first meeting this season 73-67 on January 9, 2014 at the KFC Yum Center and with Saturday’s meeting being possibly the last, there’s even more pride riding on the outcome for both sides.
The rivalry has had some very memorable moments and players from Tigers fans throwing batteries at Cardinals players to Darius Washington, who was a 72% free throw shooter at the time, missing two out of three from the line in the closing seconds and costing the Tigers a chance to knock off the No.6 Cards. His tears streaming and total body collapse at the free throw line still haunt the most rabid Memphis fans today.
It’s also had some funny moments off the court. In 2008 a television commercial for Sheraton Hotels called “Play Nice”, had actors portraying fans of specific teams interacting in nice ways with fans from one of their most hated rivals. Two men were shown laughing and enjoying a moment at a computer while donning UofL and Memphis gear. Check out the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NypXiCtXe4
The Cards and Tigers have played in four different conferences together, helping fuel the rivalry fire but with Louisville joining the ACC in 2014, this great rivalry may be coming to a close for the foreseeable future. Starting in the Missouri Valley conference together, the two also battled as members of the Metro, Conference USA and currently the American Athletic.
Notable stats and records in the rivalry:
Longest win streak – 7 by UofL from 1964-1970
Number of 100-point games – UofL (5) Memphis (0)
Most points scored by a team – 115 by UofL on February, 25 1978
Most points combined in one game – 212 (UofL 115 Memphis 97)
Largest margin of victory – 30 UofL 95 Memphis 65 on February 16, 1981
March 2, 1986 (UofL 70 Memphis St. 69) – Senior gurad, Milt “Ice Man” Wagner gets fouled with :01 left and the Cards trailing by 1. Wagner, who had made 48 of his previous 50 free throws and hit game winning free throws against South Carolina just a few days before, calmly drains both free throws to help the No.13 Cards beat the No.7 Tigers and win the Metro Conference regular season title.
March 12, 2005 (UofL 75 Memphis 74) – Down 73-71, Louisville’s Larry O’Bannon hits a 3-pointer and is fouled on the shot by Arthur Barclay with :27 left. O’Bannon would miss the free throw so the Tigers had a chance to take the lead but Ellis Myles was able to draw a charging foul on the Tiger drive to the basket. Louisville threw an outlet pass to Brad Gianiny who got behind the defense. He was fouled with 6.7 seconds left and hit the first free throw while missing the second. Trailing 75-73, freshman phenom, Darius Washington Jr. raced down the court and got a 3-point shot off that went wide left but a foul was called on Louisville’s Francisco Garcia. Washington missed the first, hit the second and missed the third, allowing the Cards to win the CUSA championship.
Who’s ready for some Cardinals and Tigers basketball?