2009-2010 Louisville Cardinals Basketball Preview
In each of the last two years, Rick Pinto’s Louisville Cardinals (31- 6 overall, 16- 2 Big East) have made it to the Elite Eight. Last season, after finishing first in the Big East, they went to the Big Dance and beat Morehead State, Siena and Arizona before losing to Michigan State 64- 52. This season, the Cardinals will be competitive but they don’t look to be as strong as they were last year.
In 2008- 2009, Louisville was second in the conference in three pointers, hitting 37%. They were also second in scoring defense, allowing just 61.8 PPG. The Cards created turnovers and then gunned it on the other end. The primary problem for the club was it’s poor foul shooting, which eventually caught up to the Cardinals in the post season. Louisville hit just 64% of their foul shots, ranking them 14th in the Big East.
Although forwards Earl Clark (14.4 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.4 BPG) and Terrence Williams (12.5 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 2.3 SPG) are gone, the frontcourt still looks solid. The duo generated a lot of offense and defense upfront. Big sophomore forward Samardo Samuels (11.8 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 0.9 APG) is a hard working, solid bodied player. Another sophomore, Terrence Jennings (4.2 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 0.2 APG), did not start last season, but he put in quality minutes and will be a starter this year. Senior Reginald Delk (1.6 PPG, 0.6 RPG, 0.5 APG) could be the third forward but if he can’t find his shot, then defensive minded Jared Swopshire (1.4 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 0.2 APG) might get the nod.
Two senior guards, Jerry Smith (7.8 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.3 APG) and Edgar Sosa (7.3 PPG, 1.4 PG, 2.4 APG), could be the backbone of the backcourt and this team. Sosa, who’s a fine assist man and playmaker, seems primed for a breakout season and Smith has a fine three-point shot. Smith has been instructed to lose weight to improve his movement and speed. If he does, he’ll find more daylight and be able to take more shots. Pinto does have alternatives if either is unable to come through.
The Cardinals lost three of their primary players from last season. And although it’s hard to imagine these guys contending for the 2009- 2010 conference title, it’s never a good idea to dismiss a Pinto team. If there’s a way to win, he’ll find it.