Norse to open The Bank of Kentucky Center against Louisville

Valentine’s Day is marked with red roses and warm felt cards. For Northern Kentucky University, the color red means a little bit more Thursday night, during the halftime of the men’s basketball game versus St. Joseph’s.

NKU President James Votruba announced that the University of Louisville will face the Norse, to open the state-of-the-art The Bank of Kentucky Center, Nov. 8.

“It will be a great start for a new era in Northern Kentucky basketball,” Votruba said.

Athletic director Jane Meier also spoke during the halftime ceremony saying, “It is a truly exciting and historic time for the school, the program, and also for the community. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity for NKU and The Bank of Kentucky Center.”

The game will be a double-header, featuring the Lady Cardinals against the Lady Norse in a 5:30 p.m. tip-off. The men will follow facing head coach Rick Pitino and his Cardinals at 8 p.m.

NKU will play its final game at Regents Hall, Feb. 16 as it will play Indianapolis, with the first game at 5:30 and the men following at 7:45 p.m., before what is expected to be a sold out finale.

“Come out Saturday night for the last game at Regents Hall,” Votruba said. “We have seen many teams play on this floor. We have seen national champion teams and great players and we are excited to start a new era at The Bank of Kentucky Center.”

The thought of a game between Louisville and NKU has been going on for almost nine months, according to Meier. “It has taken this long, because the University of Louisville had to get a waiver to play away from home,” Meier said.

What is even bigger for the Norse, is that the game will be televised in Louisville.

With the moratorium that was issued by the NCAA Aug, 9, 2007, will keep NKU from moving to Division I, but for Votruba it is still a decision he is waiting to make.

“At some point we will revisit a move to Division I,” Votruba said. “This game will allow us to the test ourselves against Division I teams. The game will also give the crowd an entertaining game. Eventually with timing and funding for athletics, we will look at moving, but you can’t go unless you have the funding.”

It will be a homecoming for a former Northern Kentucky resident and graduate of Highlands High School. The women’s coach for Louisville is former NKU basketball player Jeff Walz.

Ticket prices have not been announced for the game, but for more information on tickets, call (859) 572-6639.