The Cardinals, rightfully so are starting to be talked about as a favorite to win it all and repeat in the NCAA tournament. Coach Pitino has the Cards peaking at the right time as he does every March. The Cards are Lead by two AAC 1st teamers, one of which will likely be named to every All American list in Russ Smith, and the modern day Doctor of Dunk, Montrezl Harrell. We expect these two to continue their great play well into the tournament but in order to cut the nets down again Louisville will need others to perform at a high level.
A player I think will step up this post-season is Chris Jones. Jones who hasn’t performed well against his hometown team this season will get a chance to play in Memphis against other squads before a possible 3rd opportunity against the Tigers. I think the Rutgers’ game will give Chris the perfect kick start in what I think will be a great post-season for the ultra competitive junior guard.
Three may be the key to the Cardinal’s tournament success. Not just the 3 point shot, but the three/small forward position. Luke Hancock and Wayne Blackshear have both had good games this year and during stretches both have had their struggles. I feel Luke like Chris Jones will turn it up when the bright lights are on, as we seen during last year’s Final Four. Wayne has been inconsistent this year but possesses the ability to be a major contributor for the Cardinals.
Louisville’s biggest concern heading into post-season play is the five spot. While both Van Treese and Mathiang have improved throughout the year, it will take a real solid performance from these guys if the Cardinals get matched up with a team with good bigs, which should be expected at some point during the tournament.
It’ll be interesting to see how the back-up guards do this March as well. Freshmen Terry Rozier will be expected to be a factor in the guard rotation and the Cardinals hope to get the solid, under control play like we’ve gotten all year from him in his first NCAA tournament. We also hope Tim Henderson can step up when his number is called as he did last year during Louisville’s epic journey to the championship.
This team has been a very entertaining team to watch. When players were lost earlier in the season and the Cardinals dropped a couple of games, fans started to lower their expectations for them. But now Card fans are confident we can make a deep run and possibly repeat as national champions. Louisville has everything it needs to repeat: a masterful coach, an All American, and a possible lottery pick, now is the time to shine. Go Cards! Give me a team to be proud of in Dallas this year.