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The Kentucky Wildcats and Louisville Cardinals, athletic programs for the most prominent universities in Kentucky, are sport rivals. The teams first played each other in 1912 (football) and 1913 (basketball). The yearly men's basketball game is called the Battle for the Bluegrass and the yearly football game is played for the Governor's Cup trophy. Many of the schools' other sports teams also play annually despite the fact that the teams are not in the same conference.
The University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville are the two largest universities in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The Wildcats are charter members of the Southeastern Conference and the Cardinals are members of the American Athletic Conference, and will be joining the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2014. The University of Louisville was founded in 1798 as a municipally supported institution. With the combination of two medical schools and a newly established law school in 1846, it was given its current name, University of Louisville, by the Kentucky General Assembly. It remained independent until 1970, when, due to financial concerns, it joined the state system.
The University of Kentucky was founded when John Bryan Bowman founded the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Kentucky (A&M), a publicly chartered department of Kentucky University, after receiving federal support through the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act in 1865. The Kentucky-Louisville basketball rivalry has been ranked the 3rd best rivalry in all of college sports by Basketball Hall of Fame contributor Dick Vitale. Kentucky and Louisville first played against each other in 1913 but stopped playing each other in the 1920s. The rivalry was generally dormant with only occasional matchups until the teams met in the 1983 NCAA Tournament. Since then, the two teams have met each year in late December or early January. The rivalry was fueled when Rick Pitino was hired as Louisville's head men's basketball coach in 2001, as he had served in that same role with Kentucky from 1989-1997. Kentucky leads the all-time basketball series with Louisville 32 games to 15, and Kentucky leads the modern series 23 games to 12. In six tournament meetings as of 2014, Kentucky leads the series four games to two with their most recent win coming in the 2014 sweet sixteen 74-69. The teams met in the 2012 Final Four, and Kentucky defeated Louisville with a score of 69-61 en route to the national title. This was the deepest ever tournament meeting between the two schools and their first tournament meeting since 1984. The two schools have been the last two NCAA Tournament Champions, with Kentucky winning in 2012 and Louisville winning in 2013.