NCAA basketball returns to Freedom Hall

Freedom Hall, which has hosted 6 NCAA Final Fours hasn't hosted a college basketball game since 2013.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- You can take a stroll down memory lane with basketball at Freedom Hall as the Bellarmine Knights host Mick Cronin and the Cincinnati Bearcats.

Freedom Hall, which has hosted six NCAA Final Fours, hasn't hosted a college basketball game since 2013. If you listen closely you can still hear the cheers from the last time a school from Louisville played a Division I basketball game inside of Freedom Hall.

"This place is an incredible venue, not just from a historical standpoint, it's a great place to watch basketball,” said Bellarmine Head Coach Scotty Davenport. “The proximity--you're so close it's a very intimate place. The tradition in here is second to none."

While you can feel the tradition in the air playing a game inside Freedom Hall takes more than just rolling out a ball and shooting out the lights.

"With Cincinnati renovating their arena you know they were looking for somewhere else to play their games this year,” said Bellarmine Director of Athletic Event Management Chris Cooper. “Mick was fortunate enough to suggest that we play here."

"It's all hands on deck,” said Davenport.

Bellarmine athletics has played a major hand in getting the facility ready.

"It's been an overwhelming experience,” said Cooper.

Making sure every last detail was ready all the way down to the floor.

"They have got Louisville floors, Kentucky floors, but we wanted one symbolic of Freedom Hall,” said Davenport. “They didn't have time to get a Bellarmine floor, so we said we wanted the Freedom Hall court.”

It would be easy for Coach Scotty Davenport to be nostalgic about his own past in Freedom Hall.

"I coached here as a high school head coach,” said Davenport. “I won a state championship in 1988 with Ballard High School. My son Doug was a ball boy at eight years old right here in Freedom Hall. He's going to walk down that ramp tomorrow night and coach them at Freedom Hall."

Now Bellarmine is aiming to make a little history of their own.

"It's going to be rocking,” said Cooper.

"There's a lot of feel-good about this, and we wanted everybody involved,” said Davenport. “There's going to be a great basketball game tomorrow night."

In the newly released rankings Bellarmine was the third-ranked team in Division II while Cincinnati is as high as 12th in Division I, and Coach Scotty Davenport says he believes this is the Bearcats best team under Mick Cronin.

Bellarmine returns 11 players from last year’s squad that won 32 games.

If you want to see them in person tickets are still available starting at $5.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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