Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

College Basketball Countdown: Louisville Cardinals- #2

Published on November 8, 2012 by Scott Shirley   ·   No Comments

College basketball is right around the corner. Games will be starting before you know it, and practices are just right around the corner.

Here at Roundballchat I will release my top 100 teams for the 2012-13 college basketball season. I will start at 100 and count my way down. I will rank all the 75 programs in the six major conferences, as well as 25 mid majors in my top 100 countdown.

Along with my top 100 countdown I will also feature a ton of previews. Like the top players at each position, All Conference teams, top players by class, top games, previewing the early season tournaments and much more.

Who will put at number 1? Louisville or Indiana or maybe a surprise stay tuned to Roundballchat for the next month to find out.

# 2 Louisville Cardinals

Coach: Rich Pitino (10 seasons at Louisville 275-106) Overall 627-230, 26 years

2011-12: Record 30-10 overall, 10-8 in Big East (7th)

Starters Returning (3) Peyton Siva, Gorgui Dieng, Chane Behanan

Preseason Tournament: Battle of Atlantis

Top Non-Conference Games: at Memphis, vs. Kentucky

Transfer Out: Jared Swosphire (Northwestern), Elisha Justice

Sat Out: Luke Hancock (George Mason)

The Cardinals were on quite a run to finish last season before losing to Kentucky in the Final Four. Pitino did one heck of coaching job last season because of major injuries on his team. The Cardinals lose 2 of their top 3 scorers but they return about everyone else including three starters. Pitino also brings in some talented recruits and one player that sat out last season after transferring in. The Cardinals should have one of the top frontcourt and backcourts in the country.

Leading Louisville will be point guard Peyton Siva (9.1 ppg). Siva really improved as the season went out especially in the tournaments. Siva is a super quick athletic guard that loves to attack the rim. He is a great passer with 5.6 assists pg last season. He is also a great defender. He needs to cut down on his turnovers and shoot the ball better. Joining him in the backcourt will be Russ Smith (11.5 ppg). Smith is the Cardinals returning leading soccer but only shot 36 % from the field. His biggest strength is attacking the rim and he is also a capable three point shooter. His biggest strength might come on the defensive end where he averaged 2.2 steals per game. At the 3 spot will be George Mason transfer Luke Hancock. He is an extremely versatile player. In his last season at George Mason he averaged 10.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists. The top option off the bench will be wing Wayne Blackshaer (2.5 ppg). He missed most of last season with shoulder problems and he did some flashes of his potential. He is a strong physical wing that can score in a variety of ways. Kevin Ware (1 ppg) will back up Siva. After this the Cardinals lack depth because of the Mike Marra injury.

The Cardinals will have the best frontcourt in the Big East. Leading the way is center Gorgui Dieng (9.1 ppg). Deng was the most improved player in the country last season. His biggest strength is his rebounding ability and shot blocking . He finished last season with 9.1 rebounds and 3.2 blocks. Look for Dieng to average a double double this season. He continues to improve his offensive game. Joining him in the frontcourt is Chane Behanan (9.5 ppg). Behanan exceled in the NCAA tournament; he was the West Region MVP. Behanan is really a strong rebounder and scorer in the lane. The Cardinals have ton of depth here. Leading the way will be freshman Montrezl Harrell. He is a very strong athlete that can rebound and still raw on offense. Also providing depth here are Angel Nunez (2 ppg), Stephan Van Treese (1.3 ppg), Zach Price (.6 ppg) and freshman Mangok Mathinag.

Follow me on twitter @ScottBasketballĀ  http://twitter.com/#!/ScottBasketball

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