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Cardiac Hill ACC Preview: #3 Louisville Cardinals

Louisville takes the number three ranking in our ACC preseason preview

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Coach - Rick Pitino (13 years at Louisville, 335-116, 1 national championship)

Arena - KFC Yum! Center (22, 090 capacity)

2013-14 Record - 31-6 (15-3 AAC) Lost to Kentucky in the Sweet 16  74-69.

Games with Pitt - @ Pitt Sunday, January 25  4:00 // @ Louisville Wednesday, February 11 8:00

Top Returning Players (Bold = projected starter)

Montrezl Harrell 6'8" JR PF   14.0 PPG  8.4 RPG

Chris Jones 5'10" SR PG   10.2 PPG  2.9 APG

Wayne Blackshear 6'5" SR SG   8.2 PPG

Terry Rozier 6'1" SO PG   7.0 PPG  3.1 RPG

Mangok Mathiang 6'10" SO C 3.4 PPG  3.4 RPG  1.4 BPG

Anton Gill 6'3" SO SG 1.3 PPG

Impact Newcomers

Shaqquan Aaron 6'7" FR SF #30 Overall Recruit on Rivals

Quentin Snider 6'1"   FR  PG #33 Overall Recruit on Rivals

Jaylen Johnson 6'8" FR PF #54 Overall Recruit on Rivals

Chinanu Onuako 6'10 FR C #74 Overall Recruit on Rivals

The Scoop - Louisville will begin play in their fourth different conference in the past decade, but it seems like they have finally found a home in the ACC. The Louisville Cardinals have been among the nation's top programs in recent years, and they still have some key players from their 2013 national championship coming into this season. Montrezl Harrell could be the most dominant force in the conference. The 6'8" junior forward is a rugged post player that is very good and very explosive.  A number of centers are competing for playing time alongside Harrell, but perhaps a talented shot-blocking sophomore, Mangok Mathiang, could win the job

In typical Louisville fashion, they have a number of quick undersized guards that will push tempo and play tough defense. Terry Rozier and Chris Jones both played considerable minutes last year, but will need to step up their respective games without Russ Smith around this season.  Wayne Blackshear is another holdover from the national championship team, and should be at his best this season as a senior small forward.


Final Outlook - Louisville comes in, and Maryland heads out, and the ACC adds another top ten caliber program in the trade. Rick Pitino always fields good teams, and this one has the makeup of a good one. They have good guards that create havoc, talented freshmen that can give them good minutes, and perhaps the best player in the league with Montrezl Harrell. If Louisville can overcome the loss of Russ Smith with Jones and Rozier, they will be in the league championship hunt and will have an opportunity to make a deep run in March.

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