It’s no secret that Rick Pitino has got it going once again at Louisville. The Cardinals will come into the 2014 College Basketball season as the defending National Champions, and also with a proven product. The Cardinals will return 3 players who have been on Back-to-Back Final Four teams and played critical minutes in both, in Wanye Blackshear, Chane Behanan, & Russ Smith.
No other team in the Country can say that.
No other team in the Country can say they have the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player returning…and coming off the bench in Luke Hancock.
Not to mention, the Cardinals return over 75% of their scoring of a National Championship.
While the Cardinals lose glue guys in Gorgui Dieng and Peyton Siva, they replace them nicely. Taking over in the 5 spot for Gorgui Dieng, will most likely be Sophomore Montrezl Harrell. Harrell has shown nothing but promise in his short time at Louisville. Some mock drafts already have him going in the Top 15 of next year’s draft, as he appears to be poised for a monster season. As for Peyton Siva, replacing him will be quite the challenge. Siva was the undisputed leader of the 2013 Cardinals and a proverbial glue-guy. However, the Cardinals will look to replace him with JUCO Player of the Year and Freshman Chris Jones. Jones certainly has the pre-requisites to be a superstar at Louisville. A prolific scorer in High School, and a guy who has won two National Player of the Year awards at the JUCO level.
Many will cite Peyton Siva’s absence as reasoning for having the Cardinals out of the #1 spot. However, for a Country that seems all but resigned to the fact that the Kentucky Wildcats, will win the 2014 National Championship with a group of Freshman; I find it strange that they can trust 1 at Louisville.