#2 Louisville Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Louisville Cardinals

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #2
Conference Rank: #1 American

Louisville Team Page#2 Louisville Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Louisville Basketball Tickets

Remember that thrilling five overtime game on February 9th when Louisville lost 104 to 101 against Notre Dame? That was the last time the Cardinals lost. Louisville won their final seven regular season games before dominating the competition at Madison Square Garden in the Big East Tournament. From there, Coach Rick Pitino’s squad was not seriously tested as the #1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament until they reached the Final Four. But they got the job done, beating Wichita State and Michigan. The goal will be back-to-back championships, but there are some changes. Most notable is the new conference.

2012-13 Record: 35-5, 14-4
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Rick Pitino
Coach Record: 310-111 at Louisville, 664-239 overall

Who’s Out:
There are changes on the floor though too. Peyton Siva is gone after averaging 10.0 points and 5.7 assists and leading his team to a national title. Finding a new point guard is not the only concern though. Gorgui Dieng spent most of his collegiate career playing amazing defense, but he emerged as a quality interior scorer during his senior season. Not many players are going to have an easy time replacing his production on both ends of the court. Zach Price, who did start seven games last year but averaged less than eight minutes per game, is the only other departure.

Who’s In:
Replacing Siva is not going to be easy. He was a stable presence in the backcourt. If you have to replace somebody like Siva with newcomers, you cannot do much better than Chris Jones and Terry Rozier. Jones was named the junior college Player of the Year in 2012-2013 while at Northwestern Florida State College and he certainly has the skills and experience to be the leader of this team. Rozier does not lack in talent, but his lack of experience should allow Jones to get the first crack. The backcourt also adds walk-ons Dillon Avara and David Levitch as well as Anton Gill. Gill is a superb athlete who can get up and down the floor. Mangok Mathiang, a 6-10 redshirt freshman, and Akoy Agau are both raw offensively, yet there is potential on the defensive end of the floor.

Who to Watch:
Kevin Ware will compete with Jones for minutes at the point. Recovered from his horrific injury, Ware is capable of running the show if he can keep the turnovers to a minimum. Russ Smith and Wayne Blackshear will be starting on the wings. Smith has not been the most consistent shooter around, but he can have some absolutely amazing outings. Smith easily led the squad with 18.7 points and he is capable of taking over any game. Blackshear is capable of scoring inside and out and he can be a tough matchup for many opposing defenders. The best shooter on the team is Luke Hancock. The 6-6 senior connected on 39.9 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc and should again make a great sixth man for Louisville.

Final Projection:
The expectations are that Montrezl Harris can pick up where he left off in the NCAA Tournament. The 6-8 sophomore has a slew of talent and it showed late last season. If he can keep it up, replacing Diegn will be easier than it sounds. Chane Behanan averaged 9.8 points and 6.5 rebounds during his sophomore season. As the team’s top returning rebounder, Behanan will be asked to do more work on the glass. He can also emerge as a big time scoring threat in the paint and be a consistent double digit scorer now that there are more shots to go around. Stephan Van Treese will battle it out with the newcomers for minutes backing up Behanan and Harrell. If the depth pans out and Jones and Harrell are capable replacements at the point and the center spot, this is a Louisville team with legitimate hopes of winning it all again.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Chris Jones, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Russ Smith, Senior, Guard, 18.7 points per game
Wayne Blackshear, Junior, Guard, 7.6 points per game
Chane Behanan, Junior, Forward, 9.8 points per game
Montrezl Harrell, Sophomore, Forward, 5.7 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.5 (29th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 58.8 (21, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.6 (62, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.5 (37, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.8 (213, 9)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.3 (203, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.9 (120, 5)
Rebound Margin: 3.6 (66, 5)
Assists Per Game: 14.6 (55, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.4 (101, 6)

Madness 2014 NBA Draft Rankings:
#45 Chane Behanan
#62 Montrezl Harrell
#67 Russ Smith
#92 Wayne Blackshear

Madness 2013 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#18 Terry Rozier
#49 Anton Gill
#85 Akoy Agau


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