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Louisville Cardinals the Obvious Favorite at the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off

Mark Zerof-USA Today Sports

On Tuesday morning, the brackets for a few of college basketball’s early season tournaments and events were released and the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off is one of your average, run-of-the-mill, four-team brackets.

The 2013 participants include the Louisville Cardinals, North Carolina Tar Heels, Richmond Spiders and Fairfield Stags, but it’s obvious who the favorite among the four squads will be. That title belongs to the defending National Champion Cardinals, but you might be able to pump the breaks on that prediction if P.J. Hairston is able to take the court when this tournament kicks off in late November.

In the semifinal round, Louisville will battle Fairfield, while North Carolina will square off with Richmond. Assuming both Louisville and UNC survive their first opponents, a nice title bout of two of college basketball’s more traditional-rich programs will hit the court in an early season showdown.

Despite the losses of Peyton Siva, Luke Hancock and Gorgui Dieng however, the Cardinals are returning an immense amount of talent, highlighted by potential National Player of the Year contender, Russ Smith. Louisville will enter this quick, four-team event with the obvious title of tournament favorite, but the potential that the Tar Heels will bring to Springfield, Massachusetts hinges on Hairston’s availability because North Carolina is talented, but will they have enough to take out the Cardinals without their star shooting guard?

Louisville gets the nod here early on, but a lot can happen between now and late November. Either way, a Cardinals-Tar Heels’ title contest would certainly be can’t miss basketball in late November.

 

Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS