The Louisville Cardinals have established themselves as one of the premier college basketball programs in history with a resume that is hard to duplicate. The Cardinals began play in 1911 and participated in their first NCAA Tournament in 1951. Louisville reached their first Final Four in 1959 and hoisted their national championship in 1980. Overall, the Cardinals have participated in over 39 tournaments, reaching the Final Four more than nine times, and winning multiple national championships. The Cardinals rank in the top 10 of all-time in Final Fours, tournament appearances, and overall tournament victories.
Louisville became a national powerhouse in the 1980s when they reached seven Sweet Sixteens, four Elite Eights, four Final Fours, and their first two national championships in 1980 and 1986. The success by the Cardinals can be attributed to head coach Denny Crum. Crum was hired in the early 1970s and helped set the expectations for a college program that has become one of the best in the country. Crum coached the Cardinals for over 30 years, winning more that 670 games in his career, and eventually being inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame. Louisville has not missed a beat since Crum’s retirement as Rick Pitino took over the program and has led the Cardinals to a national championship along with multiple Final Four appearances.
Louisville had their most successful run in the NCAA Tournament occurred in 2013 under the leadership of Pitino. The Cardinals won their third national championship as they defeated the Michigan Wolverines 82-76. Louisville finished the season with a program best 35 victories.