Louisville basketball: Cards look like legitimate title contenders

It’s early, but Louisville basketball looks like legitimate national title contenders as Team 106 continues to take care of business even with two major contributors injured.

It’s only year 2 in the Chris Mack era for the Louisville basketball program, and the Cardinals are already back in the national title picture.

Louisville came into the year with a lot of hype, lofty goals, and a top-five ranking – it looks like they will stay there. With other presumed contenders like Kansas, Michigan State, and Kentucky showing some considerable weaknesses early on, it seems like there are two blue bloods that have separated themselves – Louisville and Duke. They’ve taken care of the competition in front of them, and will rightfully be #1 and #2 when the next AP Poll comes out.

With the major upset witnessed on Tuesday night, some fans were nervous about last night’s matchup against the Indiana State Sycamores.

There were some legitimate reasons for concern, considering Indiana State was picked ahead of the mighty Evansville Purple Aces in the Missouri Valley Conference.

All jokes aside, Indiana State does have a talented backcourt and is capable of catching some teams off guard. But that did not happen on Wednesday night.

Louisville came out hot and ready to play, with star forward Jordan Nwora lighting it up early in the first half.

Not only did Louisville continue to shoot the ball well, they also rebounded extremely well, doubling Indiana State in rebounds.

We’re starting to see the program look more and more like Mack’s Xavier teams that were known for toughness, playing hard, and shooters all over the floor, and people are taking notice.

Stephen A. Smith and Jay Williams have also been major believers in this Louisville team, as we saw last week.

Let’s also give a major shout out and big props to UConn Basketball Beat Writer David Borges, the sole AP Voter to give Louisville a first-place vote on Monday. David got berated by UK fans for it until, well.. we know what happened to UK against Evansville right after that.

Borges did not shy away either, he let Big Blue Nation have it on Tuesday night and it was glorious.

Enjoy this Cards fans, you’ve earned it. It’s been a tough few years, I think you can celebrate and gloat a little bit. Some could call it poetic justice, especially when we go down there to Lexington and beat them in their own house, but that’s for another article.

It was a big night for Louisville for many reasons.

For one, it was a big night for us at the Ville’ns. We’re super excited about how far the student section has come in such a short time. We know it wasn’t good just a few years ago. But we believe it’s quickly becoming one of the best in the country, as many people said last night.

I also might add, UK was facing a very similar level opponent on a mid week night game just like we did, and our student section put their’s to shame. We have exams too, just saying.

https://twitter.com/UofLVillens/status/1194846559655084032?s=20

Is Louisville’s student section better than UK’s? You tell me. I think the evidence is clear.

Now back to the guys on the court.

The newcomers are making strides, which is good to see as Louisville’s bench will only get deeper. Playing these mid-majors for the next few weeks sprinkled in with tough games against Michigan and Texas Tech will be huge for these guys’ development and confidence.

It’s going to be very tough to keep Samuell Williamson off the floor going forward. He had another big game (15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists). This guy is just a complete stud, he can do it all. He’s everything we hoped he would be and is quietly one of the better freshmen in the country.

It was also extremely encouraging to see a big game from Fresh Kimble. Some fans were getting nervous about him, but he came to play. 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists in a big night for the grad transfer point guard. He will only continue to get more comfortable as he settles into his role. Kimble will be just fine.

Dwayne Sutton was Dwayne Sutton, another double-double from the ever-so-reliable glue guy senior forward.

Lastly, I think there’s something not enough people are talking about.

Ryan McMahon has developed into a complete player here at Louisville. He is not the spark plug, spot-up shooter that he was when he got here. Ryan has been putting the ball on the floor and getting into the paint and kicking it out. This is just another dynamic added to the team. I’m not saying McMahon is gonna be one of the best guards in the ACC, but I am saying it’s encouraging to see him begin to become another playmaker for this team and not just a spot up shooter.

We’re witnessing quite possibly the most complete team in the country. This team has it all. An All-American veteran wing in Jordan Nwora, an elite big man in Steven Enoch, a great physical glue guy in Dwayne Sutton, experienced guards, shooters all over, a deep bench, and a super talented freshman in Samuell Williamson that can do it all. I think it’s the perfect mixture of talent and experience and you should be excited about that if you’re a Cards fan.

Next: Ranking the top 100 players in Louisville basketball history

We’ll see you all back in the Yum this Sunday at 5 against NC Central.

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