Louisville, a tournament contender?

Story by: George Herbig

Sitting at 16-6, in fourth place in the ACC, and trending in the right direction, should we consider Louisville to be a quality contender?  As everyone knows by now, David Padgett has taken over the program after an alleged “pay-to-play” scandal involving the former head coach, Rick Pitino.  The Cardinals possess one of the most inexperienced coaching staffs in the nation, however; they also have one of the most experienced teams.  First, we have to answer what exactly is a “quality contender”, let’s take care of that below.


Primarily, I consider a quality contender to be someone to make it to the sweet sixteen, pretty sure we can all agree on that.  Can U.L. fit that role? Well, right now many projections have Louisville between a six seed and an eight seed.  In other words, where they’re seeded is absolutely critical to if they receive favorable matchups.  With that context in mind, it is my belief that the Cardinals have the ability to be a team to reach the elite eight and I’ll prove it.


In the modern world, we often judge athletes, teams, and high work performers on how they’ve produced (numbers) and rightfully so. Furthermore, let’s look at some of the numbers for the Cardinal program and how they match up with teams we consider to be title contenders.

Overall: 16-6 .727 W-L% (48th of 351)

Conference: 6-3, 4th in ACC

Coach: David Padgett (16-6)

PS/G: 77.9 (83rd of 351)

PA/G: 69.1 (99th of 351)

SRS: 15.70 (31st of 351)

SOS: 6.97 (34th of 351)

ORtg: 108.1 (102nd of 351)

DRtg: 96.0 (50th of 351)

The numbers are clear, Louisville posses’ a top 25 defense, top 100 offense and they do that while not shooting the three ball well and not having that “go to” player.  Particularly, they force around twenty turnovers per games. This is significant because they have a defense that creates extra offense. Most teams that possess this same defensive quality usually make a deep run into the tournament.


It is easy to conclude by the numbers (against a very good schedule), that the Cards are a “quality contender”. Moreover, I am not proclaiming them to be a champion. It’s obvious though, that this team if they can put it all together, should advance in the tournament. Conversely, that should be enough for a contract extension to David Padgett.


Source for stats: https://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/schools/louisville/2018.html

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