The Louisville men’s basketball season starts on Tuesday night with a matchup against Southern University at the KFC Yum! Center. The Cards enter the year with just six returning scholarship players off of last season’s team that narrowly missed the NCAA Tournament. With an influx of new talent, expectations are high ahead of the 2021-2022 season. The CSZ staff is here with some bold predictions for Team 108.
- Jae’Lyn Withers will earn All-ACC First Team Honors.
- Louisville will win 13 of its first 14 games, sitting at 13-1 and inside the AP Top 10 on January 8 heading into a road matchup with Florida State.
- Louisville will reach the second weekend of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2015.
- The Cards will get down but get back up. By March the Cards are a top 5 team and a threat to win it all.
- Four Cards will average double digits in points. This team is too deep and filled with scorers for this not to happen. Been a long time since the Cards had 4 guys average in double digits
- First round draft picks. The Cards will have 2 top 20 guys in Slam Williamson and Jaie’Lyn Withers. Their prominence leads to other guys being wide open to knock down big shots in New Orleans
- Noah Locke will shoot over 45% from 3.
- Matt Cross will win ACC Sixth Man of Year.
- Samuel Williamson will average a double-double.
- During the Chris Mack era Louisville has faltered towards the end of the season. This year Louisville wins 8 of their last 10 games including the regular season finale against Virginia.
- Louisville will lead the ACC is scoring.
- Louisville’s win total is projected at 23.5. I predict Louisville goes over that total with 26 regular season wins.
- Louisville will win the ACC and reach the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
- Jae’Lyn Withers will make First Team All-ACC.
- Malik Williams will make the All-ACC defensive team.
- El Ellis will be the most effective and best PG on the team. Maybe not the boldest of takes, but with guys like Mason Faulkner and Jarrod West on the roster, it’s still far from a guarantee. Ellis is very similar to the guards of UL’s past and I think his ability to push the pace and score in all 3 levels will help separate himself from the others.
- Sam Williamson will make this his team. Sam more than doubled his scoring from his freshman to sophomore seasons (4.4 PPG to 9.6 PPG) and he became one of, if not the best, rebounding SFs in the entire ACC (averaging 8.1 RPG). So far in the 2 exhibition games he’s shown a lot more confidence and aggression on the offensive end, and I think that will lead to him taking over this team and becoming a go to guy.
- I think this UL team, as a whole, has a chance to be a top 5 defense in the country. We have multiple guys on the roster who are capable of locking their man down and due to the depth they should be able to keep the pressure on all game long if need be. There is essentially a lockdown defender at every position on this roster whether it be West at guard, Dre at forward, or Malik at center. This team has quality defensive players up and down the roster and I think they have the makings to be one of the country’s very best.
- Louisville will win the ACC regular season title, come up short in the ACC tournament, but bring it in March Madness.
- Coach Mack will win ACC Coach of the Year.
- Malik Williams plays his way into 1st or 2nd round draft pick.
- Noah Locke will make the All-ACC Second Team.
- The Cardinals will be top-2 team in ACC.
- El Ellis will average over 11 PPG.
- Noah Locke leads the team in scoring with about 17 points per game.
- Louisville will be a 3-seed entering the tourney (ACC Tournament Finalists and reg. Season champs).
- Louisville will make it to AT LEAST the Elite 8.