Louisville basketball: Ranking the non-conference opponents

Samuell Williamson #10 of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Samuell Williamson #10 of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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The Louisville basketball team has seven non-conference games for the 2020-21 season. Where does each team rank from the easiest to most difficult?

The Cards will only be playing seven games out of the ACC this year after totaling twelve in the 2019-2020 season. Of course, the reason for this change is Covid-19 and all of the complications that come with it.

In positive news, U of L will be playing six of their seven non-conference games on their home court in the KFC Yum! Center.

One of the only perks of this odd Covid year is that Louisville was able to host their very own multi-team event (MTE) as tournaments such as Battle 4 Atlantis were canceled for Covid reasons.

The Cards will begin hosting their MTE from their first game of the season on November 25th through December 4th. In that span, the Cardinals will play five games in the “Yum.”

Louisville will play a mix of teams from five different conferences in the event. Then, they will be apart of the annual ACC-Big Ten challenge. And, of course, they will move forward with their annual matchup with Kentucky.

How is the Louisville basketball team likely to fare against each of these non-conference foes?

For this exercise, I will be including Ken Pomeroy’s advanced metrics rankings as a starting baseline for the rankings. This is also better known as “KenPom.” If you would like to know more about the system or how it actually works, check this out.

#7 Prairie View A&M Panthers

Conference: SWAC

2019-20 Final KenPom Ranking: 213

2020-21 Preseason KenPom Ranking: 318

Preseason AP Poll: Unranked

The Panthers are going to be replacing a ton of their scoring for the 2020 season after their five leading scorers all departed as seniors following 2019-20. The Panthers’ top returning scorer is junior guard Faite Williams who averaged 4.9 points per game during the 2019 season.

Prairie View A&M is likely to have contributions from several transfers including Jeremiah Gambrell from Western Kentucky and Boe Nguidjol from Detroit Mercy.

It is not yet known if Nebraska transfer Cam Mack, who averaged 12 points, 6.5 assists, and 4.5 rebounds per game for the Cornhuskers as a sophomore in 2019, will be given a waiver by the NCAA before the season. Mack put up the first triple double in Nebraska basketball history in 2019. If he gets a waiver, Louisville could have their hands full.

Overall, the Panthers lost a lot of scoring from 2019 and could take some gel-ing before really being competitors in the SWAC. Louisville will have the likes of Carlik Jones and David Johnson with possibly no answers for either on the Prairie View A&M roster.

If Mack is available, it changes everything. However, it does not appear that Mack has been granted a waiver to play the season at this time.