---NKU athletic director Jane Meier (left) and president Dr. James Votruba (right) announced Thursday night that the University of Louisville will open The Bank of Kentucky Center basketball schedule Nov. 8 with a men’s/women’s doubleheader against the Norse.

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - Rick Pitino is bringing his University of Louisville Cardinals up I-71 North this November to meet Northern Kentucky University in The Bank of Kentucky Center’s first-ever men’s college basketball game.

NKU president Dr. James Votruba announced Thursday night that Louisville and NKU will open The Bank of Kentucky Center’s 2008-09 college basketball schedule with a men’s/women’s exhibition doubleheader on Nov. 8. The women’s game is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m., and the men will tip off at 8 p.m.

"For the past several years, those who follow NKU basketball know that our men’s and women’s teams have been tipping off their seasons with exhibition road games against big-time national Division I powers," Votruba told the Regents Hall crowd at halftime of the NKU/Saint Joseph's game.

"We’ve played the likes of the UK, UC, Ohio State, Xavier and Indiana. It’s always fun to face those kinds of opponents, and we’ve come pretty close to beating several of them. I was thinking - maybe the thing that has been missing, the thing that might help us score a victory over one of these programs, is a home court advantage.

"That’s why it’s my pleasure to announce that in about nine months – on Saturday, November 8, 2008 – we will play the grand-opening and first-ever doubleheader in the Bank of Kentucky Center against none other than the University of Louisville Cardinals."

Louisville, a perennial NCAA Division I powerhouse and a member of the Big East Conference, has never played Division II NKU in men’s basketball. The Norse, coached by Dave Bezold, compete in the Great Lakes Valley Conference East Division.

NKU has played its basketball games in Regents Hall since the 1972-73 season, but both Norse teams will move into their new, state-of-the-art facility in 2008-09. The Bank of Kentucky Center will have a capacity of 9,400 for basketball.

Former NKU basketball player Jeff Walz, a graduate of Highlands High School, coaches the Louisville women’s team.

Walz will go up against NKU head coach Nancy Winstel, who has more than 500 career victories and ranks in the all-time top 10 for victories in NCAA Division II history.

For ticket information, call (859) 572-6639.

  NKU president Dr. James Votruba (left) talks with Local 12 sports reporter Tara Pachmayer following the announcement Thursday night that the University of Louisville will meet the Norse on Nov. 8 to open The Bank of Kentucky Center.