Chris Mack has three clear scenarios for the Louisville basketball starting lineup for next season, but there’s one preferred lineup for the Cardinals.
Chris Mack and Louisville basketball entered the 2019-20 season with big expectations. Led by star forward Jordan Nwora, the Cardinals were the No. 5 ranked team in the country in the preseason AP Top 25. Moreover, they climbed up the polls early in the season and spent a couple of weeks as the top-ranked team in college basketball.
However, with non-conference losses to Texas Tech and rival Kentucky before having to weather the ACC schedule, Louisville was not able to maintain that position. Though they didn’t collapse entirely by any stretch, the Cardinals didn’t enjoy all of the success they’d hoped for. Mack’s club finished the season 24-7 overall and ranked No. 14 in the nation. They also finished tied for second in the ACC.
Now Louisville basketball will have to rely on new leaders to carry them moving forward as we eye the 2020-21 season. Nwora has declared for the NBA Draft while Fresh Kimble, Keth Oddo, Ryan McMahon, Steven Enoch and Dwayne Sutton have exhausted their eligibility. Furthermore, Darius Perry has elected to transfer. That means four of their leading scorers and veteran depth presences are gone from the Cardinals.
The good news is that Mack has reloaded solidly. Not only is the core of the No. 12 recruiting class from 2019 (per 247 Sports Composite rankings) returning to the KFC Yum! Center but the Cardinals also have the No. 25 recruiting class for 2020. And after adding stud graduate transfer Carlik Jones from Radford, Louisville should be in good hands.
But with so many departures and changes, Louisville basketball is still going to look much different. So let’s take a look at what their starting lineup could look like in the 2020-21 season, diving into the best-case, middle-of-the-road and worst-case scenarios for the Cardinals’ starting five.