High expectations are a prelude to the upcoming season for the No. 5 Louisville Cardinals as they roll into the Watsco Center in Miami Tuesday for a 6:30 p.m. tipoff against the Hurricanes, who are looking to rebound off of last season’s injury-riddled campaign.
The Cardinals are picked to win the ACC by many preseason publications, but coach Chris Mack tempers that notion as he notes that the notoriety is just talk.
“Despite all the fanfare, all the preseason prognosticators and covers of magazines and all that stuff, I try to tell our guys, ‘Don’t drink that poison,’” Mack said. “We haven’t done anything yet, and we’re the same team that felt as low as we did in the NCAA Tournament at the end of the year.”
Much of the buzz around the Cardinals features the return of 6-7 forward Jordan Nwora, the preseason ACC Player of the Year and an AP first team preseason all-America. Nwora led the Cardinals in points (17.9), rebounds (7.6) , and steals (32) last season.
Nwora led the Cardinals with 28 points in their 75-65 win over Bellarmine which was their last preseason matchup before Tuesday night’s opener.
Mack assembled a Top 10 recruiting class, led by home grown Samuell Williamson, and Mack added a leader and a savvy talent in graduate transfer Lamar “Fresh” Kimble from St. Joe’s.
Louisville’s veterans paced a competitive win over Bellarmine which saw Williamson turn in the most assertive night of any of the freshmen.
“I thought he found his confidence a little bit,” said Mack. “He was much better defensively in the second half than he was in the first, and he has a nose for the ball and seemed to come up with some key rebounds.”