For the first time in 17 years, the Vanderbilt men’s basketball team will play Louisville.
The Commodores will travel to play the Cardinals on Dec. 2 as part of the Big East/SEC Challenge, which will span three days, starting on Dec. 1. All 12 Southeastern Conference schools will participate in the fifth year of the event, which formerly featured just four teams from each conference.
Louisville went 25-10 last season and reached the Big East tournament title game. Like Vanderbilt, the Cardinals lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament — to in-state rival Morehead State. The Commodores were 23-11 and lost to Richmond just hours after Louisville’s defeat on the same floor in Denver.
The upset losses spoiled a possible second-round matchup between the two power conference schools.
The Cardinals have an 8-7 edge in the all-time series against Vanderbilt, including a 5-3 record in games played in Louisville.
“We are excited about our match-up at Louisville in the Big East/SEC Challenge,” Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings said. “Louisville has an outstanding program and it will be a great opportunity to play in a big-time road environment. We are continuing to build a quality non-conference schedule, and this game certainly helps our effort.”
It will be one of two non-conference matchups against Big East teams for Vanderbilt during the 2011-12 season. The Commodores will also play at Marquette in the second chapter of the teams’ home-and-home series. Vanderbilt edged the Golden Eagles 77-76 at Memorial Gymnasium in December.
The news of the Louisville matchup comes a day after the announcement that Vanderbilt will compete in the Legends Classic in New Jersey in November. The Commodores will also be joined by Texas, North Carolina State and Oregon State in a championship round, which will be played Nov. 19 and Nov. 21 at the IZOD Center in the New Jersey Meadowlands Sports Complex.
Vanderbilt, Texas, North Carolina State and Oregon State will host regional round games from Nov. 13-17. Regardless of the outcome of those games, all four hosts will advance to New Jersey and the championship round.
It is the fifth straight preseason tournament Vanderbilt has played under Stallings. The Commodores competed in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off last year, the Maui Invitational in 2009, the 2008 Cancun Challenge and the 2007 South Padre Invitational.
2011 BIG EAST/SEC CHALLENGE
Thursday, Dec. 1
Georgetown at Alabama
Providence at South Carolina
St. John’s at Kentucky
Mississippi at DePaul
Friday, Dec. 2
Auburn at Seton Hall
Florida at Syracuse
Cincinnati at Georgia
Vanderbilt at Louisville
Saturday, Dec. 3
Arkansas at Connecticut
West Virginia at Mississippi State
LSU at Rutgers
Pittsburgh at Tennessee