Louisville–Virginia rivalry

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Louisville Cardinals–Virginia Cavaliers
Louisville Cardinals Logo  Virginia Cavaliers Logo
Basketball Series Virginia leads, 5–3
Latest Meeting February 17, 1990
Latest Result #18 Louisville 72, Virginia 56
Football Series Tied, 1–1
Latest Meeting October 28, 1989
Latest Result Virginia 16, Louisville 15

The Louisville–Virginia rivalry refers to a new Atlantic Coast Conference designated cross-divisional rivalry between the Cardinals of the University of Louisville and Cavaliers of the University of Virginia. The two schools have not met in twenty-five years in either men's basketball and football, in both cases last meeting during the 1989–90 school year. The rivalry has come about because of the imminent departure of the Maryland Terrapins, Virginia's former cross-divisional rival, from the ACC to the Big Ten Conference. Louisville took Maryland's place in the ACC's rivalry matchups to be placed against Virginia and Pittsburgh.

Although their shared history is limited, the two schools shared several intense men's basketball matchups in the 1980s with national implications. Though these previous games were played in Freedom Hall and University Hall, the two teams will now play in two of the five largest basketball arenas of the 15-member ACC: the 14,593 capacity on-campus John Paul Jones Arena at U-Va., and the 22,090 capacity KFC Yum! Center in downtown Louisville.

Both programs are major modern powers in college baseball, each being a part of the 2014 College World Series as well as several prior CWS events each. Louisville is also a major basketball power, with Virginia recently challenging for such notoriety with its 2014 ACC Men's Basketball Tournament Championship and 30-win season. Approximately three months prior to Louisville officially joining the ACC on July 1, 2014, the two programs were both part of the Sweet Sixteen in the 2014 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.

Men's Basketball[edit]

1982: #3 Virginia 74, #17 Louisville 56[edit]

Virginia, led by center Ralph Sampson, dictated the tempo of a game at Freedom Hall where he faced off with such athletic Louisville greats as Rodney McCray. His brother Scooter McCray grabbed ten rebounds, the same as Sampson, and Louisville overall outrebounded the Cavaliers 32–21. But Virginia held Louisville to 40% field goal shooting, while making over 50% of their own shots. Moreover, Virginia forced 16 Louisville turnovers and committed only 11 on their end. Jerry Eaves scored 21 for Louisville, but Sampson had 26 for Virginia, while future Virginia coach Jeff Jones added 17. The game was in some doubt until Virginia closed with an 18–6 run in the last five minutes of play. Despite the lopsided outcome of the game, Louisville would later advance to the Final Four while top-ranked Virginia would fall in a great upset to the UAB Blazers in the Sweet Sixteen.

1983: #6 Virginia 98, #8 Louisville 81[edit]

Sampson had one of the finest games of his college career, making a statement in a game between two Top 10 teams nationally televised from University Hall. Highly touted Louisville was never really in the game, as Sampson exploded for 35 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 blocked shots while going 14-for-18 from the field. Louisville would have the last laugh, however, ending the season ranked #2 to Virginia's #3, and advancing to the Final Four for the second straight year while Virginia was upset again in an earlier round, this time by eventual champions NC State. Virginia would itself journey to the Final Four for the second time in four seasons the following year, without Sampson.

The Houston Rockets, with two of the top three picks in the 1983 NBA Draft, would take both Sampson (#1 overall) and Rodney McCray (#3 overall) with these picks after the end of the season.

1989: #13 Louisville 74, Virginia 71[edit]

The Cardinals, not the Cavaliers, now enjoyed the services of one of college basketball's most celebrated centers in the late 1980s. Pervis Ellison quietly controlled the game down low against the Cavaliers, scoring 14 points, pulling down 7 rebounds, and blocking 4 Virginia shots. After freshman Bryant Stith pulled Virginia close with a three-point play late in the game, "Never Nervous" Pervis' own three-point play gave Louisville a five-point lead with a minute and a half to play, and highly ranked Louisville held on against an unranked Virginia team visiting Freedom Hall.