Despite losing two pieces from last year’s national championship team, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino may actually have a deeper team in 2013-14. Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com (Insider Article) recently ranked the twelve deepest teams in college hoops. Louisville came in at No. 2 in the rankings behind Kansas.
2. Louisville Cardinals
This team can legitimately go 10 deep. There are guards, wings and bigs. Rick Pitino can play the way he wants, running and pressing and rotating guys to keep them fresh. The perimeter has Russ Smith, junior college standout Chris Jones, returning wings Luke Hancock and Wayne Blackshear, freshmen Terry Rozier and Anton Gill as well as recovering wing Kevin Ware. The frontcourt may have lost Gorgui Dieng, but will still feature Montrezl Harrell, Chane Behanan and backup big man Stephan Van Treese. Pitino also has walk-on Tim Henderson, who sank a couple of key baskets against Wichita State in the Final Four, and might also be able to get something from Mangok Mathiang, a 6-foot-10 athletic frontcourt player who sat out last season.
ESPN’s Top 12 Deepest Teams
10. Notre Dame
I still think that the front-court is a little thin, particularly the center position, but other than that, I can’t think of a year where Pitino has had more weapons. It’ll be tough to replace the leadership that Dieng and Siva provided, but with that said, I think this team will be much more dynamic than last years. We’ll have to wait and see if this team turns into a national title contender, but I think the potential is definitely there.