The University of Louisville men's basketball team will headline the 2021 Empire Classic at Madison Square Garden, according to CBS Sports college basketball insider Jon Rothstein. They will be accompanied by the Gonzaga Bulldogs, Providence Friars and the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
This will be Louisville's first appearance in the Empire Classic, with the Cardinals having most recently played at The Garden last season in a 70-57 loss to the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Dec. 10, 2019.
Louisville is a combined 15-8 against the 2021 Empire Classic, with winning records against two of the programs. The Cards hold a 12-6 record against the Friars (have won 8 of the last 10), a 3-1 record against the Cowboys, and Louisville's lone game vs. the Bulldogs resulted in a 77-66 loss in the opening round of the 2000 NCAA Tournament.
Oklahoma State had originally been scheduled to play the Louisville Cardinals in the 2020 Armed Forces Classic, but the even was cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That date was then tentatively and unofficially filled with a resumption of the rivalry against Cincinnati.
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