The 2013-2014 college basketball season came to an end last night, with UConn beating Kentucky 60-54 to win the National Title. Props to the Huskies for an outstanding run that no one expected. It’s a new season now and it won’t start until six or seven months from now. However, that doesn’t mean college basketball talk has simply disappeared. There’s always news of a coaching change, players leaving, suspensions, and, of course, way-too-early preseason polls. The offseason is officially underway and today ESPN and CBS Sports released their way-too-early preseason polls. CBS has Louisville ranked #21 while ESPN pegs them at #15. Below are the excerpts on Louisville.
Notable players definitely gone: Russ Smith, Luke Hancock, Stephan Van Treese, Tim Henderson, Kevin Ware
Others expected to leave: Montrezl Harrel
Notable players expected to return: Chris Jones, Wayne Blackshear, Terry Rozier, Mangok Mathiang, Anton Gill
Notable newcomers: Shaqquan Aaron, Jaylen Johnson, Chinanu Onuaku, Quentin Snider, Matz Stockman, Anas Osama Mahmoud
The Cardinals are losing a ton. There’s Russ Smith, an All-American and the lead force on the Cardinals’ 2013 national title team. There’s Luke Hancock>, the Most Outstanding Player of that Final Four. Stephan Van Treese leaves with size and hoops IQ in tow. And Montrezl Harrell, who became a dominant interior force this season, looks likely to enter the NBA draft. Yet Rick Pitino’s team might still be a title contender by next March, and not just because Pitino has been masterful in working through roster changes in recent seasons. He also brings in the No. 4-ranked recruiting class — including four solid, top-100 players in Shaqquan Aaron, Quentin Snider, Anas Osama Mahmoud andChinanu Onuaku. Pitino may need to get more out of Mangok Mathiang and (especially)Wayne Blackshear, but the Cardinals won’t lack for talent.