The 2020-21 ACC preseason poll and accolades were announced Wednesday morning and Louisville fans may not be happy with where their teams ranks.
After not being ranked in the AP Preseason Top 25 poll, Louisville now finds themselves ranked fifth in the 2020-21 ACC preseason poll. That may not sit well with Louisville basketball fans. The Cards finished 24-7 (15-5 ACC) a season ago, tying for second place in the conference, and were on track to be a favorite to reach the Final Four in the 2020 NCAA Tournament.
With Malik Williams out for at least the first two months of the season and Charles Minlend out for at least the first month of the season, the Cards will be playing a lot of new faces in their lineups in 2020 as only seven players from last year’s squad return this season. Sophomore guard David Johnson is expected to make a big leap this season and was named to the Preseason All-ACC Second Team.
David Johnson was the leading vote-getter on the Second-Team and fell four votes shy of being on the Preseason All-ACC First-Team. According to a Louisville Athletics’ press statement, over the last 15 games of the 2019-20 season, Johnson averaged 8.9 points, 4.4 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game while making 49.5 percent of his field goals (55-of-111). He was also the ACC assists leader among freshmen in conference games, averaging 3.8 assists, 7.9 points and 3.4 rebounds in ACC games.
Along with David Johnson, graduate transfer Carlik Jones is also expected to have a major impact for the Cards in 2020-21. Jones comes from Radford where he was named the 2019-20 Big South Player of the Year after averaging 20.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.4 steals per game while making 48.8 percent of his shots.
Carlik Jones earned some preseason honors of his own a few weeks ago when Stadium named him to their Preseason All-American Third-Team. Johnson and Jones give Louisville Basketball one of the most lethal backcourts in the ACC for the 2020-21 season and should be the difference makers if Louisville will out-perform their preseason ranking in the ACC.
On November 10, the ACC released their schedule for the 2020-21 season and Louisville released their conference schedule as well.
The Cards have a tough 5-game stretch to finish the season against North Carolina, Notre Dame, Duke, Clemson and Virginia; three of which (UNC, Duke & UNC) are ranked in the Top 5 of the ACC preseason rankings. If Louisville is to exceed expectations again this season, especially with all of the injuries they face early on, they will have to not only get massive production from their backcourt, but rely heavily on their depth.
Second-year players Josh Nickelberry, Sam Williamson, Jae’Lyn Withers, Quinn Slazinski and Aidan Igiehon will all be put into bigger roles this season and contribute in their own ways. With the addition of ESPN Top 100 recruit in D’Andre Davis as well, Louisville Basketball has the potential to compete for an ACC Championship once again this season. U of L will have to hope their senior leader in Malik Williams will be back sooner than later!