LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- We're about a third of the way through the college basketball season already. Things really heat up with some fine match-ups involving all the local teams this weekend, beginning tonight at Knights Hall.
Three former national champions are in the field as Bellarmine hosts the Holiday Inn Southwest Classic. 2nd-ranked Bellarmine won its title in 2011 and the field also includes No. 7 Southern Indiana (1995 NCAA Champs), Virginia Union (1980, 1992, 2005 NCAA Champs) and Ohio Valley.
Play begins Friday night with a 5 pm tip between USI and OVU followed by the Knights hosting the Panthers of Virginia Union at approximately 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, Southern Indiana takes on Virginia Union at 5 p.m., and Bellarmine squares off against the Fighting Scots of Ohio Valley at 7:30 p.m.
Louisville is back in action for the first time in a week when they host Western Kentucky at the KFC Yum! Center in a Noon start Saturday. This is the sixth-straight season that the Hilltoppers and Cardinals have met, with Louisville winning the last four while the Hilltoppers hold a 39-37 edge in the all-time series, one that Rick Pitino hopes to continue for years to come. It's the third straight road game for WKU (5-3), while U of L (8-1) is playing for the 8th time at home in ten games.
The two winningest programs in the country meet in Chapel Hill when North Carolina (6-2) hosts Kentucky (8-2) Saturday at 5:15 pm. It's the Wildcats first true road game of the year and John Calipari won't have to deliver much of a pre-game speech to get his team ready.
"It's Carolina-Kentucky, what do I got to do?, said Calipari. "I need a Knute Rockne speech? It's Carolina-Kentucky. Both programs, the most wins in the history of the game. Think about the players that have gone through there and the players that have gone through here. You think about, from Frank McGuire, Dean Smith on; from Adolph Rupp on; it's craziness. This is why you coach and this is why you play, to play in games like this."
Indiana (8-2) will be in Indianapolis Saturday for the Crossroads Classic against Notre Dame (5-3). That's a 3:15 pm start at BankerLife Fieldhouse. The Hoosiers won the last meeting between these two, a couple of years ago in this event. Indiana leads the nation in rebounding margin at plus 16 per game.
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