College Basketball Predictions: Louisville Cardinals Futures Odds
by George Monroy - 9/20/2013
The Louisville Cardinals will soon raise the school’s first NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship banner since 1986. The team has won three national titles and has made 10 Final Four appearances its tournament history. Head coach Rick Pitino and his staff will be looking to be only the second school in the last 20 years to defend its National Championship by going back-to-back. The Cardinals are coming off consecutive Final Four appearances and are expected to be right in the mix of title contention again this season. The team is receiving the fifth-best odds in the nation, according to Sportsbook.ag, and after another solid recruiting offseason could very well be one of the best in the nation yet again.
Let’s take a closer look at the Louisville Cardinals futures odds and overall roster.
NCAA title odds
The Cardinals were dominant last season on their way to a 35-5 record and beating every team in the tournament by an average of 16 points. The team had a more difficult time in the Final Four, yet still managed to get passed two very good teams in Wichita State and Michigan. This season the team is expected to be just as good, if not better, thanks to a very good recruiting offseason. Rick Pitino’s squad should easily dominate the AAC and qualify for the postseason tournament without any issues. The big question is how does the team matchup with Kentucky—which, to be quite honest, is the same concern for every team in the nation.
The Cardinals have experienced recruiting woes over the last couple of weeks as two players de-committed from the team. Jaquan Lyle, a top high school point guard, decided he did not want to attend the school and is looking to sign with the Kansas Jayhawks and pair himself with top prospect Andrew Wiggins. The Cardinals should be able to handle the loss without too many issues as they already have a roster loaded with excellent guards. The team has eight guards—including the injured Kevin Ware—and will be led by captain and 2013 NCAA Midwest Regional Most Outstanding player Russ Smith.
The team will have to rely on speed and perimeter play from its guards if it plans on making a deep run this year, because they only have one player on the roster that is taller than 6-foot-10. The team does have two 6-foot-9 forwards in Stephan Van Treese and Akoy Agau, but neither is expected to be a major contributor to the team. Forward Luke Hancock is expected to be a major player for the team and was a key player in last year’s title run. Hancock scored 14 first-half points in the Championship Game against Michigan to help get the team within one point before halftime and they eventually won the game by six points. Much of the Cardinals offense this season will probably run through Smith or Hancock, and the team will rely on speed and quickness as opposed to pounding the ball in the post.
The Cardinals are good and could easily make a third-consecutive Sweet 16 trip, but another national title seems unlikely. Size will probably be an issue throughout the season—particularly against Kentucky and Kansas—and wagering on this future should probably be left for the hardcore fans.
Read more articles by George Monroy
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