Apr 10, 2013; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals guard Peyton Siva (3) gestures to the crowd at the KFC YUM! Center during their celebration for winning the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship.
The Louisville basketball community was the center of the sports world this past weekend, with the both the Cardinal men and women making it to the Final Four. On Wednesday, a near-capacity crowd draped in red welcomed both squads to the KFC Yum! Center for a giant bluegrass party.
Sharing the love
Men's coach Rick Pitino had the biggest weekend of all. Along with winning a national championship, he also got voted into the Hall of Fame, became the first coach to win championships at two schools, saw his son get hired as the head coach at Minnesota, and watched a horse he co-owns win a major Kentucky Derby prep race. On Wednesday, he was a grandpa, walking off the stage with granddaughters Audrey and Anna Pitino.
Grandpa at work
Before spending family time with his girls, Pitino addresses the crowd, and shares face time with one of the other stars of the day.
The REAL star of the day
The men's championship trophy was front and center during the party.
You know Ware was there
Guard Kevin Ware (far left) shares a laugh with forward Chane Behanan during Wednesday's party. Ware was the emotional spark that Pitino credits for lifting the Cardinals over Duke in the regional final and all the way through to the championship. It was Ware who suffered a horrific broken leg against the Blue Devils, leaving coaches and players ill and in tears, But, while on the floor being tended to by medical personnel, Ware told Pitino to not worry about him but instead focus on the game and beat Duke. 'Win It For Ware' became the Cardinals' rallying cry, and Ware's attendance at the Final Four proved to be an amazing inspiration.
Not to be outdone
He does not have the popularity of Pitino. Nor did he bring home the hardware. But for Cardinals fans, women's head coach Jeff Walz is just as deserving of face time after his team knocked off reigning national champion Baylor and mega-star Brittney Griner, and take out perennial power Tennessee, en route to the national championship game (where they lost to Connecticut).
Gotta get your swag
Championship merchandise was on display — and for sale — at the KFC YUM! Center. As if Cardinal Nation needed more red.
Point guard Peyton Siva, the senior leader of the men's team that won the national championship, gestures to the crowd during Wednesday's festivities.
Sharing a laugh
After a stress-filled March and early April, Pitino and Walz get a chance to sit back and enjoy some laughs in front of the Cardinal faithful.
Praise the basketball gods!
Louisville Cardinals fans cheer as they watch a video presentation during the celebration.
You go, girls!
Cardinals guard Antonita Slaughter (center, in glasses) and guard Shoni Schimmel (far right) watch a highlight video at the KFC YUM! Center on Wednesday. Perhaps the women's tournament's signature moment came when Schimmel scored a lay-up on Baylor's Brittney Griner, drew a foul on the All-American, then went into the chest of Griner, barking at her and letting the world know Louisville was not backing down.
The joy is spreading
The Cardinals' (from left) Chane Behanan, Wayne Blackshear and Zach Price enjoy the fun.