2007 Louisville Cardinals Basketball Preview
Last season, the Louisville Cardinals (24- 10 overall, 12- 4 Big East) tied for second in the league but were disappointed in the conference tournaments when they were knocked out in the second round by Texas A&M 72- 69. Coach Rick Pitino (142- 58 in five years with Louisville, 494- 182 in overall in 20 years) looks to notch victory 500 this season. That should happen very early in the season. And although that’s quite an accomplishment, it will not be the highlight of his season.
Last year, the Cardinals were eighth in scoring, averaging 71.6 PPG and fifth in scoring defense, keeping opponents to 63.1 PPG. Louisville’s rebounding margin, which was 10th in the Big East, was at plus-2.0. The team tied for third in plus/minus turnover ratio, going plus-2.5.
The frontcourt has depth, talent and athleticism. Forward/center David Padgett (9.5 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 59.7 FG%) is a skilled, tenacious player and a team leader. The senior has played through pain and injury and is a real go-to post guy. Sophomore guard/forward Earl Clark (5.9 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 48.0 FG%) looks ready to have a breakout season, while sophomore forward Derrick Caracter (8.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 55.8FG%) has shown unlimited potential. Look for junior Terrence Williams (12.4 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 3.8 APG, 36.7 FG%), who always plays like he’ll affect the college basketball lines, to start at guard.
In the backcourt, the versatile Williams may get playing time, making him invaluable as a second 2-guard. Sophomore point guard Edgar Sosa (11.4 PPG, 2.6 APG, 41.4 FG%) is extremely talented. This season look for Pitino to get him focused more on being the court general than shooting. Sophomore guard Jerry Smith (8.0 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 48.4 FG%) proved to be a go-to shooter and notched a three-point success mark of nearly 48%.
Pitino claims that this is the most talented team that he’s coached at Louisville. You’d better believe it. Overall, the Cardinals are young but they’ve also possess maturity. The Elite Eight is in this team’s future and maybe even the Final Four and are frequently included in college basketball betting parlays. If Padgett stays healthy that will be a big help, but if he doesn’t the gritty center will still be a dynamic force. Watch out Georgetown, this team is for real.