Report: Louisville Finds Fourth Team For Non-Conference Bubble
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Spots are starting to fill up fast for the University of Louisville men's basketball program's multi-team event, or non-conference bubble, at the KFC Yum! Center for this upcoming season.
The Cardinals have now received a commitment from the Arkansas Little Rock Trojans to play in the event, as reported by the Courier-Journal's Shannon Russell.
They are the forth program to commit to the event, as Russell & CBS Sports insider Jon Rothstein both reported that the Duquesne Dukes, Winthrop Eagles & UNC Greensboro Spartans were the first three programs to ink a contract. No official word has been made by Louisville.
Ever since the NCAA made the decision to push back college basketball's start date, Louisville's non-conference schedule has been in a constant state of flux. It had been reported that the Cardinals had withdrawn from the MGM Resorts Main Event in Las Vegas, and head coach Chris Mack confirmed that their rivalry matchup with Cincinnati would be pushed back to next season.
One way that Louisville has attempted to remedy this is by hosting a non-conference 'bubble' at the KFC Yum! Center. According to Mack, 8-12 teams including Louisville would play 3-5 games from Nov. 25 to Dec. 5.
Arkansas Little Rock was voted to finish second-to-last in the Sun Belt last preseason, but flipped the script and went 21-10 & 15-3 in league play - winning the regular season conference title.
Duquesne returns all five starters from a team that went 21-9 & 11-7 in the Atlantic 10. They won 21 games for the first time since 2009 and their fifth-place A-10 finish is the highest since 2011.
UNC Greensboro (23-9, 13-5 Southern Conference) returns reigning SoCon Player of the Year & Defensive Player of the Year in Isaiah Miller, and doesn't back down from a fight. They kept it close against No. 3 Kansas and outright beat Georgetown.
Had March Madness not been cancelled, Winthrop would have made their 11th appearance in program history. The Eagles (24-10, 15-3 Big South) shared the regular season conference title and won their conference championship.
Louisville has never faced Winthrop or UNC Greensboro, and is 1-0 vs. Arkansas Little Rock & 2-2 vs. Duquesne all-time. The Cards defeated the Trojans 76-71 in the first round of the 1989 NCAA Tournament, and last played the Eagles back in 1956 in the first round of the NIT - winning 84-72.
(Photo of Chris Mack: Jamie Rhodes/USA TODAY Sports)
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