Louisville announced as one of the 4 teams in the 2023 Empire Classic Tournament

U of L’s Mike James (1) reacted as he dribbled out their 68-58 victory over Georgia Tech at the Yum Center in Louisville, Ky. on Feb. 1, 2023. The Cards broke a ten game losing streak against Yellow Jackets.Uofl Tech02 Sam
U of L’s Mike James (1) reacted as he dribbled out their 68-58 victory over Georgia Tech at the Yum Center in Louisville, Ky. on Feb. 1, 2023. The Cards broke a ten game losing streak against Yellow Jackets.Uofl Tech02 Sam /
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The Empire Classic Tournament is held at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. The Empire Classic has been around since 1995 when the first participants included Penn State, Penn, La Salle, and Marquette.

The level of top-tier programs included in this tournament has increased over the years and now includes 2023 National Champion UConn to go along with Indiana, Texas, and Louisville.

Louisville is the most unproven of this group, but now boasts a Top 5 recruiting class in the country, which could not have been said last year. After a 4-28 season last year, it seemed highly unlikely for an entire roster overhaul and program turnaround.

But, that is exactly what Kenny Payne and staff have done so far this off-season. They were able to land commitments from Dennis Evans, Skyy Clark, and Trentyn Flowers and reportedly have been in on several other high-profile transfer portal options.

With the kind of talent they’ll have on the roster next season, Louisville won’t be as easy of an out for these three other teams in the tournament.

History between Louisville, Indiana, UConn, and Texas

The last time the Cardinals and the Hoosiers shared the court was on December 18, 2018, when IU secured the win by one point, winning 68-67. Indiana also holds the all-time series lead at 11-8.

As for the Longhorns, the last time these two teams shared the court was on March 21, 1997, in which the Cardinals beat the Longhorns, 78-63.

Last but not least, the Connecticut Huskies shared the court with the Louisville Cardinals on March 15, 2014. Louisville came out on top by 10 points with a final score of 71-61.

With a cumulative record of 2-1 over these three teams in their last matchups, statistics say that Louisville can hold up with the Hoosiers, Longhorns, and Huskies. And with the roster Kenny Payne is still putting together, it’s definitely not out of the realm of possibility.

If Louisville was in this tournament last year, it would have been a completely different story.