IMPACT: Louisville's spring game Saturday at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium will showcase the team that should win the 2012 Big East championship.
Teddy Bridgewater has taken his game to another level this spring, which should make Shawn Watson's west coast offense exciting and dangerous this season. Bridgewater has drawn rave reviews this spring and appears poised to lead the Cardinals to a special season. Louisville's offensive line has made progress this spring, and the Cardinals have four talented running backs competing to be the 'go-to' guy. Wide receivers Eli Rogers and DeVante Parker have made big plays downfield this spring and figure to be dangerous weapons in the passing game.
Louisville's Red-White game kicks-off at 1:00 and fans won't want to miss the opportunity to see the progress Charlie Strong's players have made this spring. If the weather holds out it should be an exciting spring game.
IMPACT: Peyton Siva's decision to return next year is big news for Rick Pitino's Cardinals. With Siva, the MVP of the Big East Tournament and a major reason for Louisville's run to the Final Four, the Cardinals will open next season as a legitimate national title contender.
Siva still needs to fine tune his decision making and improve his outside jump shot, but his late season progression bodes well for the Cardinals next season. Down the stretch, the talented point guard took his game to another level, while proving one of the best assist men in the nation.
A big reason for Siva's improved late season play was his new-found ability to change pace - playing fast when needed, slowing it down and keeping his dribble alive when the situation called for it. Siva will work hard this summer on his perimeter shot, especially coming off the pick and roll. If Siva's jump shot becomes a reliable weapon, Louisville's offense will become extremely dangerous.
With Siva providing invaluable experience at the point, Pitino could have his best Louisville team. Gorgui Dieng, one of the nation's best shot blockers, returns, as does promising power forward Chane Behanan, the MVP of the NCAA West Region. Already one of the best defensive teams in college basketball, the Cardinals will have more length and depth on the perimeter with 6'5 Wayne Blackshear and 6'6 Luke Hancock, plus the return of Mike Marra and Angel Nunez.
Though Louisville's offense ranked as the lowest scoring at UofL in more than 60 years, Blackshear and Hancock should help fix that next season. Both players are multi-dimensional threats - Blackshear an explosive wing scorer; Hancock a talented playmaker who can create offense for his teammates. Hancock led George Mason in assists as a sophomore.
After an unexpected run to the Final Four to end a great season, the future looks ever brighter for Louisville next year.
NEWS: Louisville recruit Terry Rozier wins Derby Classic MVP honors.
IMPACT:Terry Rozier might not have been Louisville's top choice during the recruiting process, but the Cardinals uncovered a gem in the Cleveland, OH. point guard. Rozier, who burst on the scene last summer after playing on the AAU circuit with All-Ohio Red, is the definition of a late bloomer. Louisville discovered him last July and rightly went to work on him.
Rick Pitino's recruiting foresight will pay dividends for the Cardinals down the road. Though he wasn't a nationally-rated prospect when he committed to Louisville last fall, Rozier has earned a spot in the Scout.com Top 100 after averaging 22 points for Shaker Heights this season.
Last week, Rozier showed his stuff at the Derby Classic, winning White team MVP honors after leading his team to victory with 16 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. Rozier followed that performance with 21 points to lead his team to a win in the Ohio-Kentucky all-star game.
Rozier is exactly what Rick Pitino needs next season. He'll be able to learn at his own pace playing behind Peyton Siva, but should be a solid contributor because of his size, athleticism and talent. A strong all-around prospect, Rozier was the second-best point guard in the Derby Classic behind five-star Xavier recruit Semaj Christon. Rozier is athletic, plays under control, changes gears effectively and has solid scoring tools. He'll play next season because he's a capable defender and rebounder at his position.