The Louisville men’s basketball team kicked off it’s 2021-2022 season with a 94-45 win over Kentucky State at the KFC Yum! Center on Friday night. This was the first chance for the public to watch the new-look Cards against another team. Jae’Lyn Withers lead Louisville with 14 points and 15 rebounds. Sameull Williamson scored 13 points with 10 boards. Malik Williams added 9 points and 9 rebounds. Noah Locke led all Cardinal scorers with 15 points.
— Louisville Basketball (@LouisvilleMBB) October 30, 2021
Much has been made about the new Louisville offense heading into the season. The long list of newcomers combined with the hiring of assistant Ross McMains has given fans plenty of reasons to be excited. The offense was an obvious sore spot last season, and Chris Mack made the necessary moves to improve on that end. Louisville scored more than 80 points just one time last season. This was obviously an exhibition game, but the signs are there that we should expect a serious change in approach on the offensive end of the floor for this team.
2. We Don’t Need to Worry About the Starting Frontcourt
The starting frontcourt of Jae’Lyn Withers and Malik Williams showed out on Friday night. The duo only had the chance to play three games together last season, but they could turn into an elite frontcourt if both stay healthy. Withers gained valuable experience playing in Malik’s absence last season, but he is clearly better playing as a true power forward next to a center like Williams. Both put up impressive stat lines in limited minutes. I will touch on some questions involving the rotation, but Jae’Lyn Withers and Malik Williams are locked-in starters and should be a major strength for this team from the jump.
3. Playing Time
There is still no way to possibly know how the rotation is going to look this season. I spoke about some certainty in the frontcourt, but overall I do not think a anyone can know for sure how the minutes will be distributed this year. Louisville is without a bonafide star, and there should be plenty of opportunities for players to earn minutes at nearly every position. Coach Mack has gone with a smaller rotation in recent years, but I have a hard time seeing that as a possibility in 2022. No one played more than 23 minutes on Friday. There are legitimately 11-12 guys who could challenge for playing time this season. If you are wondering how the playing time will be distributed with this crowded roster, you likely will not have an answer until a few weeks into the season.