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Louisville 2010 NCAA Tournament Preview

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Louisville Cardinals - Big East Conference (20-12, 11-7)

Seed: #9 - South Region

Big Wins: 2/14 at Syracuse (66-60), 2/17 Notre Dame (91-89), 3/6 Syracuse (78-68)

Bad Losses: 12/5 Charlotte (65-87), 12/12 Western Carolina (83-91), 2/11 at St. John’s (55-74)

Last NCAA Appearance: 2009, Elite Eight loss to Michigan State

Coach: Rick Pitino (38-13 in 14 NCAA appearances)



Probable Louisville Starters:

  • Edgar Sosa, Senior, Guard, 13.3 ppg, 4.5 apg

  • Jerry Smith, Senior, Guard, 8.4 ppg, 1.9 apg

  • Reginald Delk, Senior, Guard, 6.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg

  • Terrence Jennings, Sophomore, Forward, 5.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.3 bpg

  • Samardo Samuels, Sophomore, Forward, 15.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.1 bpg

 

Key Louisville Roleplayers:

  • Rakeem Buckles, Freshman, Forward, 3.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg

  • Preston Knowles, Junior, Guard, 7.3 ppg, 2.4 apg

  • Kyle Kuric, Sophomore, Guard, 4.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg

  • Mike Marra, Freshman, Guard, 3.3 ppg, 1.1 rpg

  • Peyton Siva, Freshman, Guard, 3.9 ppg, 1.8 apg

  • Jared Swopshire, Sophomore, Forward, 7.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg

 

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Why The Cardinals Can Surprise:
Coach Rick Pitino has put together a very deep and talented team this season. While some big names are gone, there are plenty of others remaining and plenty of future stars on this roster to make another deep run in March. The development of Samardo Samuels has been a big reason for the success of the Cardinals. The 6-9, 260 pound sophomore has increased his role on this team and has turned into the star everybody expected him to be. He leads the team in scoring and rebounding and his presence under the basket is evident on both ends of the floor.

Another sophomore forward has progressed very well too. Jared Swopshire does not get the accolades that Samuels has gotten, but he has turned from an inexperienced freshman into a consistent sophomore. The 6-8 Swopshire is a versatile forward who can hit the outside shot and battle in the paint. His ability to stretch the defense has made him a very valuable player on the offensive end of the floor. Yet, he is also a solid rebounder. Terrence Jennings and Rakeem Buckles have both earned a few starts on the year and are capable players off the bench. Jennings is a great shot blocker and Buckles is a developing big man who has a nice touch on his mid-range jumper.

 

Why The Cardinals Can Disappoint:
This is a team that gets into foul trouble, but with so much depth that is not much of an issue. They also commit quite a few turnovers, but that is expected from a team that scores 76.7 points per game. And the fact that they create more turnovers than they give up makes it even less of an issue. The main problem could end up being their three-point shooting. The two players who are usually manning the shooting guard spot both hit under 30 percent of their attempts from long range. Jerry Smith and Preston Knowles certainly have the capability to get hot, but it just takes one cold day for the two of them for the Louisville offense to sputter a little bit. Yet, Smith is capable of attacking the basket when his shot is not falling and Knowles is a quality ballhandler. However, Smith is recovering from a hand injury and may not be at 100 percent for the tournament. Add Peyton Siva, Mike Marra and Kyle Kuric to the mix and somebody should be hitting the long ball.

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Who To Watch for Louisville:
The best two shooters on the team are point guard Edgar Sosa and wing Reginald Delk. Sosa does a superb job running the show and he is a dynamic scorer who will rarely score over 20 points, but will consistently put up decent numbers. Delk does not look to score often, but he is easily the most consistent outside shooter on the team and when he starts hitting his shot, he can score in bunches. As long as those two are hitting the outside shot, it makes the inconsistencies of Smith and Knowles less of an issue.

 

Louisville By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 76.7 (37th in nation, 6th in conference)

Scoring Defense: 69.6 (204, 11)

Field-Goal Percentage: 44.8 (105, 8)

Field-Goal Defense: 43.0 (164, 10)

Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.0 (35, 2)

Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.4 (196, 9)

Free-Throw Percentage: 70.6 (115, 5)

Rebound Margin: 2.4 (105, 9)

Assists Per Game: 15.5 (28, 5)

Turnovers Per Game: 13.7 (170, 11)

 

Joel’s Bracket Says: Second Round loss to Duke

 

By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Basketball Writer

 

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