With the end of what's widely considered the worst year ever for Louisville basketball mercifully approaching, the Cardinals decided to take a trip down a much sunnier memory lane for Saturday's game against Clemson by honoring their 2012-13 national title team. Louisville had to get creative in doing so because the NCAA vacated that national title in 2018, leading to the unveiling of a banner that drew laughs throughout the college basketball world.
The banner that rose to the KFC Yum! Center rafters read, "Final Coaches Poll #1," an image confounding on its own but only exacerbated by being sandwiched between banners celebrating the men's team's 1986 national title and the women's team's 2009 national championship appearance.
Here’s a look at Louisville’s new “Final Coaches Poll #1” banner lol…— Tristan Pharis (@TristanUda) February 19, 2023
Yes, this is 100% real. pic.twitter.com/55Fj8kxk6S
Louisville previously had a traditional championship banner, but had to take it down after the NCAA's 2018 ruling, one stemming from a scandal in which a director of basketball was found to have arranged "striptease dances and sex acts" for Cardinals prospects and student-athletes.
Saturday's celebration continued at halftime, when Louisville brought out members of the 2013 team -- including Peyton Siva, Montrezl Harrell, Luke Hancock and Wayne Blackshear -- to pump up the crowd. Siva, who led the team in assists over their national championship-winning campaign, shared a few words.
"Man, it feels like just yesterday..."@PeypeySiva3's speech as the 2013 @LouisvilleMBB team was honored last night.#GoCards pic.twitter.com/xnCMVwqII1— Louisville Athletics (@GoCards) February 19, 2023
Louisville's nostalgic tactics seemed to give the the team the juice they've lacked all season, as they pulled off an 83-73 victory to improve to 4-23 under first-year coach Kenny Payne. Next up for the Cardinals is a road matchup against Duke on Monday.