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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LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – FEBRUARY 22: David Johnson #13 of the Louisville Cardinals dribbles the ball against the North Carolina Tar Heels at KFC YUM! Center on February 22, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – FEBRUARY 22: David Johnson #13 of the Louisville Cardinals dribbles the ball against the North Carolina Tar Heels at KFC YUM! Center on February 22, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

#5 UNC Greensboro Spartans

Conference: Southern

2019-20 Final KenPom Ranking: 92

2020-21 Preseason KenPom Ranking:: 93

Preseason AP Poll: Unranked

The Spartans are led by senior guard Isaiah Miller. Miller is as impressive of a player as you will find at any level of college basketball. Not only does he come into his senior season after averaging 17.8 points per game in 2019, but he is the two-time defending Southern Conference defensive player of the year.

Miller averaged a stunning 2.8 steals per game in 2019; His 89 steals on the season were good for second in the country by any individual player. Miller also averaged 5.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists.

Redshirt junior 6’4″ guard Kaleb Hunter is another returning double-digit scorer for the Spartans. Hunter shot 51.0 percent from the field in 2019 while playing in 27 games. Hunter is a very efficient player inside the three point arc.

The final component to the Spartans is Central Arkansas transfer Hayden Koval. Koval received a waiver from the NCAA that granted him eligibility for the 2020-21 season.

Koval, a 7’1″ 220-pound center, averaged 12.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, and a whopping 3.1 blocks per game for Central Arkansas his junior year. Now, he adds a huge element to UNC Greensboro that Louisville will have to account for.

The Spartans have a veteran squad with a dominant guard and a very good big. Despite the so-so KenPom ranking, this team could easily give Louisville trouble.

Carlik Jones will have to face off against one of the nation’s best defenders while one of the young players of Aidan Igiehon or Jae’Lyn Withers will have to account for Koval in the paint.

Although the Spartans could easily knock Louisville off if they are not careful, Louisville’s starting five from top-to-bottom should allow the Cardinals to come away with a victory.