LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — The University of Louisville’s short absence from the Associated Press Top 25 is over, but the Cardinals will have a job on their hands to stay in the rankings.

Louisville made its debut at No. 24 in the AP poll on Monday, and at No. 22 in the ESPN Coaches Poll. Kentucky held onto its spot at No. 1 in both polls. Indiana dropped out after two losses in the Maui Invitational.

When U of L didn’t appear in this year’s preseason poll, it marked the end of a 60-week stretch in which the Cardinals had been ranked, dating back to March 5, 2012 — before their surprise run to the Final Four.

The Cards were preseason Top 10 in each of the past four seasons before this year’s absence.

This season, the Cardinals are 5-0 and already had been rated highly in some of the more prominent computer rankings, including No. 3 by Sagarin and No. 11 by Ken Pomeroy.

But in Michigan State, the Cardinals face their toughest test of the young season.

The Spartans are ranked No. 3 in the nation and have one of the country’s best players in Denzel Valentine, a 6-5, 220-pound guard who posted a triple-double in the first game of the Wooden Legacy tournament in California.

They already have wins over Kansas and Providence, but head coach Tom Izzo said he believes Louisville will pose a challenge.

"This will be a good test for us, because it's going to be against a quality team," Izzo said. "One of our goals was to win the preseason (Wooden Legacy) tournament, and we accomplished that, but having big games at home and winning those games is also a goal."

The game Wednesday is part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and will air at 7:15 p.m. on ESPN.

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