It is going to be here before you know it.  The college basketball season is right around the corner and Phenom Hoops wants to take their shot at previewing teams around the country for this upcoming season. All throughout the upcoming weeks, we will be previewing teams for this upcoming season, so be sure to check out all the latest talk.

Louisville Cardinals

2020-21 Season:
Record: 13-7 (8-5 ACC)
Points per game: 68.0
Rebounds per game: 38.2
Assists per game: 11.1
Points allowed: 66.5

Top Performers 2020-21:
Points per game: Carlik Jones (16.8)
Rebounds per game: Samuell Williamson (8.1)
Assists per game: Carlik Jones (4.5)
Field goal percentage: Jae’Lyn Withers (55.2)

Malik Williams staying healthy/ Jae’Lyn Withers continuing to take the next step
Center Malik Williams has played a key part for the Cardinals over the years, racking up the games and being a key piece down low with his size and ability to step out.  Last year though, didn’t go the way he wanted, as he only saw action in three games before facing a broken bone in his foot that forced him to miss the rest of the season.  He plays a critical part for this team and is one of the leaders for Louisville, so him staying healthy this year will be important.  On the other hand, the improvement that forward Jae’Lyn Withers made was impressive, as he finished the season averaging 10.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in only 25 minutes of play.  Can Withers take that next step and be that double-double machine for the Cardinals?  It would certainly help in a big way!

Will it finally start to click for Samuell Williamson?
Being part of the 2019 recruiting class, Williamson was ranked by ESPN as the No. 24 overall prospect in the class and there were a lot of expectations put on him early on.  And in two seasons, it hasn’t quite panned out the way many had thought but he has made improvements. He struggled as a freshman, averaging only 4.4 points but increased that production to 9.6 points per game in 28 minutes of play as a sophomore.  But will his junior season be the breakout year that many had expected from the Top-100 McDonald’s All-American?  He will need to improve his outside shooting but if Louisville can get the most out of him, Williamson will be a HUGE help for this team in an array of ways.

A new backcourt
Another year for Louisville, another group of players leading the charge in the backcourt.  The Cardinals will have some fresh faces coming in, so it will be interesting to see how they mesh all together.  Senior Jarrod West comes from Marshall and really will help on the defensive side as well as getting others involved.  Watch out also for CC transfer Eli Ellis, who was one of the top JUCO transfers last year and is a play-making guard that averaged nearly 18 points per game last year.  Then you also have 6’3 guard Noah Locke from Florida, who ranked fifth in the SEC in 3-point field goals and should provide some firepower.  And don’t forget incoming freshman Mike James, a 6’6 prospect that was nationally ranked and brings good size at his position.  How will they all come together? That will be the question many will want to find out early.

Key Stat to Watch:
Though the Cardinals were strong defensively, they struggled on the offensive end.  Averaging only 68 points per game (ranking 12th in the ACC), Louisville only shot 43.1 percent from the floor and 30.8 percent from three, two numbers that need to improve this upcoming season.