Louisville is coming off of a national championship and they return many players from last year’s team. The most important player returning is Russ Smith. Smith is arguably the best player in the country. He averaged 18.7 points per game last season and was a big reason why the Cardinals won the title.
Two players not returning are Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng. However, Chane Behanan has been suspended indefinitely, according to USA Today.
Louisville should still be one of the best teams in the country, but they are not the No. 1 team in the nation entering the season. The Kentucky Wildcats are bringing in arguably the best recruiting class of all time and the Coaches Poll got it right by ranking them No. 1.
Louisville and Kentucky will meet up on Dec. 28, so we will get to see which team is actually better. It is important to note that the Michigan State Spartans are ranked No. 2, though.
The Spartans basically return everyone from a team that made the dance as a No. 3 seed last year.
Regardless, Louisville is still a great basketball team and they could repeat. They will need Behanan in the lineup, though. He is not the best player on the team, but his 9.8 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game are very much needed. Until he returns–assuming he does–the Cardinals will be without their two best rebounders from last season. Dieng led the team with 9.4 rebounds per game last year.