The Cards got a taste last April, but now they want more.
CBS Sports and their stable of writers have made no secret about their love for this year’s Louisville basketball team. Every one of those writers except one (Matt Norlander) at least picked the Cards in their preseason Final Fours. Jeff Goodman believes the Cards will ultimately cut down the nets in Atlanta next April. However, one other writer, Jeff Borzello, might be jumping on board with Goodman as he wrote a piece last night stating that after a Final Four loss last year, the Cards should have enough talent to get back – and win it this time. No argument here. With his best collection of talent since he arrived here 12 years ago, head coach Rick Pitino will have a team battle tested and ready to go from day one. Which is certainly a rare luxury, given the fact that his teams typically are prone to slow starts. Louisville fans are excited for what should be a monumental season and it looks like the national media are starting to believe the hype. Here’s a quick excerpt and you can read the entire piece here.
Despite not having one-and-done stars across the board, Louisville will be one of the deepest and most talented teams in the country. It starts with Siva in the backcourt, one of the more experienced point guards around. Dieng and Behanan anchor the frontcourt, while sophomores Wayne Blackshear and Kevin Ware seemed primed for breakout years. Smith can make an impact in spurts, and most people around the program seem high on freshman forward Montrezl Harrell.
And it looks like Hancock, the George Mason transfer, could be the missing piece — the difference between a trip to the Final Four and being the last team standing in Atlanta.
“He’s the key to our team,” Pitino said. “He gives us shooting. We had the lowest field-goal percentage in 50 years at the Final Four. He’s something we need desperately. We had a void, and he’s the guy we have to have.”
In addition to Hancock and the returning players, the biggest difference between last year and this year? The experience of getting to the national semifinals — and falling short.
According to Siva, the defeat in New Orleans was a learning experience.
“I think it’s going to help us,” he said. “It’s big motivation, falling short last year. Everyone knows what it takes to reach that point. We know how it feels to make the Final Four. We want to get one game closer.”