Louisville Preview Capsule
Last season: 25-9; lost 73-69 to Michigan in NCAA Tournament second round.
Coach: David Padgett (interim).
Conference: Atlantic Coast.
Who’s gone: G Donovan Mitchell, F Jaylen Johnson, C Mangok Mathiang.
Who’s back: G Quentin Snider. The Cardinals’ backcourt belongs to the senior Louisville native, who’s focusing on defensive improvement. C Anas Mahmoud. The 7-footer established an inside presence on both ends of the floor last season, and looks to be more assertive near the basket. F Deng Adel. The versatile junior could be the scorer and defender Louisville needs. F Ray Spalding looks to finally take charge inside, while G/F V.J. King appears primed to blossom after a seesaw debut.
Who’s new: F Dwayne Sutton is eligible after sitting out last season per NCAA transfer rules. He averaged 12 points and 7.7 rebounds at UNC Asheville in 2015-16. The Cardinals also recruited frontcourt depth with 6-foot-11 F/C Malik Williams, 6-8 F Lance Thomas and 6-7 Jordan Nwora.
The Skinny: Louisville’s immediate task is finding normalcy after a tumultuous month following the program’s acknowledgment that it’s being investigated in a federal corruption probe. Coach Rick Pitino was fired after 16 seasons in the ensuing fallout, and Padgett has been elevated from second-year Cardinals assistant to interim coach. Veterans Adel, Mahmoud and Snider lead a roster with NCAA Tournament potential even without their Hall of Fame coach. Padgett’s sudden transition and how Louisville handles seismic program changes and distractions make this one of the most intriguing seasons in program history. The school is also appealing NCAA penalties levied in June following a 2015 sex scandal.
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