25-10 overall, 12-6 Big East (T-3rd)
Rick Pitino (11th season, 245-96)
Projected starting five:
G: Peyton Siva, Jr.
G: Chris Smith, Sr.
F: Kyle Kuric, Sr.
F: Chane Behanan, Fr.
C: Gorgui Dieng, So.
Preston Knowles 14.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.1 apg
Terrence Jennings 9.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg
Inside the numbers:
66 percent scoring returning
67 percent rebounding returning
F: Chane Behanan, 6’6”, 250 – Rivals #21
F: Wayne Blackshear, 6’5” 210 – Rivals #36
C: Zach Price, 6’1”, 240 – Rivals #67
G: Kevin Ware, 6’4”, 167 – Rivals # 70
F: Angel Nunez, 6’8”, 190 – ESPNU #91
Toughest nonconference game(s): 12/2 vs. (7) Vanderbilt, 12/31 at (2) Kentucky
Toughest in-conference stretch: 2/23 – 3/3 at (22) Cincinnati, vs. (11) Pittsburgh, vs. South Florida, at (5) Syracuse
4th in BE; 25+ wins; Second weekend of NCAA Tournament
What to expect:
One of the strongest recruiting classes in the nation gives the Cards more than enough to replace Preston Knowles and Terrence Jennings. As Louisville showed last year, they don’t have any real standout players, although Siva is on the cusp and Kyle Kuric showed on multiple occasions last season he can take over the game — and win homecoming king.
Louisville’s depth give the Cards the chance to wear out their opponents running Pitino’s full-court press, creating turnovers and forcing tough shots late in the shot clock. With Siva and Kuric in the backcourt, accompanied by Chris Smith, the Cards will look down low to Gorgui Dieng.
Dieng will take Jennings’ place on the low block and will act as the last line of defense if a team were to break the Cardinals’ pressure. Dieng’s length gives him the ability to alter shots around the rim, although Dieng, as well as the team as a whole, could benefit from picking up more boards. If the Cards can get past the idea of only having one ball between their dynamic playmakers, look for Louisville to make a run at a league and possibly, a national championship.
Next: Marquette Golden Eagles
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