CBS Sports’ Jeff Goodman is one of the most beloved sportswriters by Louisville fans. Well, perhaps beloved is not the most accurate of terms. In any case, CBS Sports’ top college basketball writers have released their lists of teams they believe should enter the 2012-13 college basketball season as number one and guess who Goodman has as his top team?
That’s right, our very own Louisville Cardinals.
Gary Parrish believes Kentucky should be number one, while Matt Norlander has Tom Crean’s Indiana Hoosiers as the top ranked team. However, those two aren’t smart; Goodman knows what’s going on, at least for one article. The main reason for Goodman’s decision to put the Cards at number one is because they are coached by Rick Pitino. According to Goodman, Rick is the best coach of the three teams under consideration for top ranking and combined with the roster he has, UofL is clearly numero uno.
In terms of players, here’s a bit of what Goodman has to say about Louisville.
He’ll have a point guard in Peyton Siva that has three years of experience — including the last two as a starter. He’ll have a pair of talented wings that no one truly saw last season: Wayne Blackshear was a heralded freshman who was coming off two shoulder injuries and didn’t make his college debut until mid-February; and Luke Hancock will vie for a starting spot after sitting out a year ago following a transfer from George Mason.
Pitino has a big-time duo up front. The ever-improving Gorgui Dieng, who nearly averaged a double-double as a sophomore and is one of the most intimidating shot-blockers in the nation, to go along with undersized but strong power forward Chane Behanan, who grabbed 7.5 boards per game as a frosh a year ago.
The starting lineup isn’t the only place where Louisville holds the advantage over both Kentucky and Indiana.
The Cardinals’ second unit could give plenty of teams a run.
Russ Smith can come off the bench and give Louisville instant firepower. Long and talented guard Kevin Ware — who was never able to be a consistent producer after missing the first semester of 2011-12 due to academics — is ready for a full contribution. Zach Price is a more than capable backup to Dieng and the team’s top perimeter shooter, while Mike Marra returns after missing nearly all of last season with a torn ACL. Then there’s late addition Montrezl Harrell, the one-time Virginia Tech signee whose high motor and ability to rebound and run the court earned him a spot on the U-18 team that went to Brazil.
Card Nation, please join me in welcoming Jeff Goodman aboard the Louisville basketball bandwagon.
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