#2 Louisville Cardinals: College Basketball 111 in 111

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Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

Last season was the definition of a rollercoaster ride for the Louisville Cardinals that ended with the team finding their stride at the perfect time.  The Cards claimed the Big East Tournament title and then made a run to the Final Four before being ousted by in-state rival Kentucky.  With a ton of talent returning, Rick Pitino should have his squad back in the championship picture.

LOUISVILLE CARDINALS
Last Season: 7th, 10-8 in Big East, 30-10 overall
Predicted Big East Finish: 1st

Projected Depth Chart
C: Gorgui Dieng (Jr)/Stephan Van Treese(Sr)/Zach Price (So)
F: Chane Behanan (So)/Montrezl Harrell (Fr)
G/F: Ryan Hancock (Jr)/Angel Nunez (So)
SG: Russell Smith (Jr)/Wayne Blackshear (So)/Mike Marra (Jr-out for season)
PG: Peyton Siva (Sr)/Kevin Ware (So)/Terry Rozier (Fr)

Gone: G/F-Kyle Kuric, SG-Chris Smith, F-Jared Swopshire (transfer-Northwestern), PG-Elisha Justice (transfer-Pikeville), PF-Rakeem Buckles (transfer-FIU)

2012-2013 Outlook:
The Cards have one of the quickest backcourts in the country in Peyton Siva and Russell Smith.  The duo is a nightmare to stay in front of if you are a defender and when they are on the defensive end, will be all up in your shorts pressuring you from end line to end line.  Siva is at his best when creating for his teammates while Smith easily has one of the quickest triggers in college basketball.

George Mason transfer Ryan Hancock and Wayne Blackshear who battled through injury forcing him to miss the first 24 games of last season will battle for minutes at the three.  Mike Marra’s second straight torn ACL limits the depth on the wing but look for sophomores Kevin Ware and Angel Nunez to take on bigger roles this season.

In the frontcourt, developing big man Gorgui Dieng brings a true shot blocking presence and runs the floor as good as almost any big man in college basketball.  Starting power forward Chane Behanan returns to add some physicality to the front line though he will be pushed by freshman Montrezl Harrell who actually started Louisville’s opener versus Manhattan.  Stephen Van Treese and Zach Price will fight for minutes in the middle behind Dieng.

With Hancock and Harrell joining the fray along with a healthy Blackshaer, Louisville should actually be better than they were a year ago.  Their offense should be much improved and defensively, they will still be very tough.  As they did last year, peaking down the stretch run will be key for the Cards to get back to the Final Four and possibly cut down the nets.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/22 vs. Northern Iowa (Battle 4 Atlantis)
11/23 vs. Missouri/Stanford (Battle 4 Atlantis)
11/24 vs. Duke/Minnesota/Memphis/VCU (Battle 4 Atlantis)
12/1 vs. Illinois State
12/15 at Memphis
12/29 vs. Kentucky

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#3 Kentucky Wildcats
#4 Kansas Jayhawks
#5 Missouri Tigers
#6 N.C. State Wolfpack
#7 UNLV Rebels
#8 San Diego State Aztecs
#9 Florida Gators
#10 Michigan Wolverines
#11 Syracuse Orange
#12 Duke Blue Devils
#13 Ohio State Buckeyes
#14 Arizona Wildcats
#15 North Carolina Tar Heels
#16 Michigan State Spartans
#17 UCLA Bruins
#18 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
#19 Cincinnati Bearcats
#20 Marquette Golden Eagles
#21 Creighton Bluejays
#22 Gonzaga Bulldogs
#23 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#24 Memphis Tigers
#25 Baylor Bears
#26 Wisconsin Badgers
#27 Tennessee Volunteers
#28 Pitt Panthers
#29 New Mexico Lobos
#30 St. Mary’s Gaels
#31 Georgetown Hoyas
#32 North Texas Mean Green
#33 Ohio Bobcats
#34 Texas Longhorns
#35 Miami Hurricanes
#36 Purdue Boilermakers
#37 Alabama Crimson Tide
#38 St. Joseph’s Hawks
#39 Murray State Racers
#40 VCU Rams
#41 Davidson Wildcats
#42 Stanford Cardinal
#43 UMass Minutemen
#44 St. John’s Red Storm
#45 Butler Bulldogs
#46 Florida State Seminoles
#47 Drexel Dragons
#48 St. Louis Billikens
#49 West Virginia Mountaineers
#50 BYU Cougars
#51 Temple Owls
#52 Washington Huskies
#53 California Golden Bears
#54 Kansas State Wildcats
#55 Nevada Wolfpack
#56 Colorado Buffaloes
#57 Iowa State Cyclones
#58 Northern Iowa Panthers
#59 Colorado State Rams
#60 Iowa Hawkeyes
#61 South Florida Bulls
#62 Valparaiso Crusaders
#63 Illinois Fighting Illini
#64 Arkansas Razorbacks
#65 Wichita State Shockers
#66 George Mason Patriots
#67 Virginia Cavaliers
#68 Villanova Wildcats
#69 Maryland Terrapins
#70 Marshall Thundering Herd
#71 Iona Gaels
#72 Northwestern Wildcats
#73 Oklahoms State Cowboys
#74 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#75 USC Trojans
#76 UConn Huskies
#77 Harvard Crimson
#78 Xavier Musketeers
#79 Ole Miss Rebels
#80 Clemson Tigers
#81 Oregon State Beavers
#82 Texas A&M Aggies
#83 Providence Friars
#84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

 

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