We know the 2013 Louisville Cardinals are certainly of the best squads in program history, but where do they rank among other recent title winners?
Dan Greene of Sports Illustrated recently ranked the previous team college basketball teams to win the national championship.
The 2013 Louisville Cardinals came in at No. 4. [Full Rankings]
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4. 2013 Louisville
Adjusted efficiency margin: +32.92 (1st nationally)
Adjusted offensive efficiency: 117.7 (7th nationally)
Adjusted defensive efficiency: 84.8 (1st nationally)
Championship game starters: G Peyton Siva, G Russ Smith, F Wayne Blackshear, F Chane Behanan, C Gorgui Dieng
It’s likely the drama of reserve Kevin Ware’s gruesome compound leg fracture in the Elite Eight that first comes to mind for most, but these Cardinals’ swarming defense deserves its place in the collective memory too. Only two teams of the analytics era—last season’s Texas Tech team and 2015 Kentucky, both of which lost over the season’s final weekend—had a stingier defensive efficiency than the one that won coach Rick Pitino’s second (and since-vacated) national championship, thanks in large part to Siva and Smith’s backcourt pressure and Dieng’s shot-swatting anchoring inside. But the offense, as teams like Michigan and Duke found out in the tourney, could heat up quickly, especially when Smith and top reserve Luke Hancock were connecting from deep.
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It’s hard to argue the three teams ranked ahead of Louisville, but with that said no one would be shocked if Louisville’s 2013 team beat all nine teams in the rankings. The Cards were that good in 2013.
Also, not surprising that UConn had the two worst title teams despite being one of only two programs to have multiple titles.