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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The University of Louisville men's basketball team will open the 2005 NCAA Tournament against Sun Belt Conference champion Louisiana-Lafayette on Friday, March 18 at 7:10 EST at the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville, Tenn. The Cards (29-4) are the No. 4 seed in the Albuquerque Region while the Ragin' Cajuns (20-10) are the No. 13 seed.
The winner of the Louisville/Louisiana-Lafayette first round game will meet the winner of the (5) Georgia Tech vs.(12) George Washington matchup on Sunday, March 20 at either 2:15 p.m. EST or 4:45 p.m. EST. Other first round meetings in the Albuquerque Region include: (1) Washington vs. (16) Montana; (8) Pacific vs. (9) Pittsburgh; (6) Texas Tech vs. (11) UCLA; (3) Gonzaga vs. (14) Winthrop; (7) West Virginia vs. (10) Creighton; (2) Wake Forest vs. (15) Chattanooga.
The Cards enter the NCAA Tournament on a nine-game winning streak following a 75-74 win over Memphis on Saturday in the championship game of the Kelly Tires Conference Tournament. U of L also won the C-USA regular-season title and has won 18 of its last 19 games overall. ULL enters the first round game having won three-straight and 14 of its last 18 overall, including an 89-68 win over Denver in the championship of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament to earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
Game times for all NCAA Tournament games will be set on Monday. The Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville will host the Cards' first round game, the Georgia Tech/George Washington game as well as (4) Florida vs. (13) Ohio and (5) Villanova vs. (12) New Mexico.
Comments from Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino 
(on the matchup with Louisiana-Lafayette) "At the beginning of the year when we were looking at scheduling, (U of L administrative assistant) Scott Davenport  was watching a lot of film on who to play and who not to play (non-conference). We were looking at playing Louisiana-Lafayette. Scott said `Coach, that's one of the teams we don't want to play.' They're a veteran team and they're loaded with talent, so we do know them. The good news is that we know them, but the bad news is that they're very talented. We have ourselves a very difficult opening round game. We've got to go right to work and be ready for them."
(on the Cards' seeding in the tournament) "I told people before the announcement that we shouldn't be surprised if we ended up a No. 3 seed because of the way everyone seemed to be talking up Washington. It's my job to lift our players' spirits up. I told our players before the announcement - because I had a feeling that after what had happened the last couple of years - to be sure you're not down about getting a No. 3 seed. That's what I said to them at dinner, so I guess I've got to lift them up a little bit. But we're in the NCAA Tournament and we've met all the challenges, so we've just got to keep going because we've a got very tough opening game."