#54 Louisville Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview

Louisville Cardinals
2021-2022 Overall Rank: #54
Conference Rank: #9 ACC
Louisville Logo
Louisville was hit by game cancellations in a big way last season, limited to just 20 games overall and 13 ACC matchups. The lack of games led to Louisville not having a strong enough resume to make the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinals have now missed three of the last five NCAA Tournaments, though they would have easily been in if there was a tournament in 2020. This season, Louisville must replace their top two scorers, including Carlik Jones who was one of the best players in the ACC last year. The Cardinals do return three starters and have a good group of newcomers, so they should find themselves in the mix for an NCAA Tournament selection.

2020-21 Record: 13-7, 8-5
2020-21 Postseason: None
Coach: Chris Mack
Coach Record: 57-28 at Louisville, 272-125 overall
Key Departed Players:
Carlik Jones, Guard, 16.8 ppg
David Johnson, Guard, 12.6 ppg
Quinn Slazinski, Forward, 6.2 ppg
Josh Nickelberry, Guard, 2.8 ppg
Aidan Igiehon, Forward, 2.6 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Jae’lyn Withers, Sophomore, Forward, 10.0 ppg
Samuell Williamson, Junior, Forward, 9.6 ppg
Dre Davis, Sophomore, Guard, 7.5 ppg
Malik Williams, Senior, Forward, 5.0 ppg
JJ Traynor, Sophomore, Forward, 3.9 ppg
Gabe Wiznitzer, Sophomore, Center, 1.1 ppg
Key New Players:
Matt Cross, Sophomore, Forward, Transfer from Miami (FL)
Sydney Curry, Junior, Forward, Transfer from Junior College
El Ellis, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Junior College
Mason Faulkner, Senior, Guard, Transfer from Western Carolina
Mike James, Freshman, Guard
Noah Locke, Senior, Guard, Transfer from Florida
Jarrod West, Senior, Guard, Transfer from Marshall
Roosevelt Wheeler, Freshman, Forward
Losing Carlik Jones and David Johnson will sting, but Louisville returns three starters along with Malik Williams who was injured for most of last season. Williams was limited to just three games last season, but was a key player for the Cardinals the two years prior. Jae’lyn Withers, Samuell Williamson and Dre Davis all return after each started at least 15 games last season as underclassmen. JJ Traynor only played 13.1 minutes per game as a freshman, but was a four-star recruit and should be more involved this season. Louisville also brings in six transfers this season. Mason Faulkner spent the last two years at Western Carolina after starting his career at Northern Kentucky. Faulkner was an all-conference selection in both seasons at Western Carolina as he averaged 17.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists in his career there. Jarrod West spent the last four seasons at Marshall and was named to an all-conference team each of the last two seasons. Last year, West averaged 12.5 points, 6.0 assists and 2.5 steals. Noah Locke spent the last three seasons at Florida, where he started 79 games, averaged 10.1 points and shot 41.7% from three in his career. Matt Cross is a former four-star recruit who played 14 games at Miami last season, averaging 6.9 points and 3.5 rebounds. El Ellis is a junior college transfer who was a first team NJCAA All-American last season behind 17.7 points and 4.3 assists per game. Sydney Curry is also a junior college transfer who was a third team NJCAA All-American last season. Lastly, Mike James and Roosevelt Wheeler join the Cardinals as true freshmen, both of which are four-star, top 100 recruits. Louisville should have no shortage of talent on their roster, but most of them are new additions that will have to adjust to a new environment.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 68.0 (255th in nation, 12th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.5 (61, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.1 (219, 11)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.2 (118, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.3 (323, 15)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 30.8 (297, 14)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.7 (144, 8)
Rebound Margin: 4.8 (46, 3)
Assists Per Game: 11.1 (299, 15)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.4 (56, 5)
Madness 2021 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#72 Michael James
#73 Roosevelt Wheeler