The Louisville Cardinals are five years removed from their last Final Four appearance and subsequent championship. But with Chris Mack taking the helm and a whole new batch of players coming in, the school is ready to rehabilitate their image, their standing, and the program as a whole.

With a solid schedule this season, they have a legitimate shot to sneak into the tournament and even the Top 25, with a potential of making a run deep into the field. Here are the most interesting games on their schedule to help them do just that.

Louisville Cardinals vs. Indiana Hoosiers

December 8 | 2:30PM

Just about 100 miles away in Bloomington, the Indiana Hoosiers are another squad hoping to recapture some of their past glory with an eye on reclaiming the sport from the current crop. The Hoosiers consistently make the Sweet Sixteen, but haven’t gone much further for most of this millennium. Hosting the Cardinals gives them a chance to show off their own freshly minted team. The Cardinals will have their work cut out for them when they come to town, but this is one game they can’t afford to lose. SHOP TICKETS HERE

Louisville Cardinals vs. Virginia Cavaliers

February 23 & March 9 | 12PM & TBD

Speaking of top ranked teams Louisville needs to perform well against, their matchups against the Top 10 Virginia Cavaliers are going to be barn-burners. With less than a second left during last year’s tourney, the Cardinals held a three-point lead that they somehow turned into a one-point loss. Yep, the Wahoos knocked down four points in less than a second due to some crazy foul action, weird penalties and errors, and general wackiness. Needless to say, Louisville wants revenge in a big way, and they have two chances this year. SHOP FEB. 23 TICKETS | SHOP MARCH 9 TICKETS

Louisville Cardinals vs. North Carolina Tar Heels

January 12 & February 2 | 12PM & TBD

Another divisional rival that the Cardinals will want to take down a peg are the Top 10 Tar Heels. Like the Hoos, they will have two chances at this squad, and they may need it. The last time these two teams met, the Heels wrecked Louisville, dominating them up and down the court to the tune of a 17 point win. Another chance at revenge and to prove that they are no longer the whipping boys of the ACC, Louisville needs to take at least one of these games to prove themselves. SHOP JAN. 12 TICKETS | SHOP FEB. TICKETS

Louisville Cardinals vs. Kentucky Wildcats

December 29 | 2PM

The Kentucky Wildcats may not be the best team in basketball this season, but they’re in the top two. If the Cardinals are hoping to make a statement, their best chance is when their cross state rivals from Lexington come to visit just before the New Year. Among the best rivalries in the sport, the Cardinals have long been on the receiving end of a losing record against their biggest foes. Still smarting from the last time the Wildcats bounced them from the tournament in 2012, this is one game the school is always amped up for. SHOP TICKETS HERE

(Cropped image courtesy of Eric Wong via Flickr. | CC BY-ND 2.0)