Louisville, KY, United States (4E Sports) – Louisville head coach Rick Pitino expects an exciting season when it defends the national title against several highly touted rivals, such as preseason No. 1 Kentucky.
“It’s going to be an exciting season,” the Cardinals coach told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “We are one year away from a potential mini-dynasty — one year.”
Louisville has been to seven straight NCAA tournaments, made the 2011-12 Final Four and then won it all last season.
“If these players rise to the occasion once again — win another conference championship, go back to the Final Four — it takes three to have the makings of a dynasty,” Pitino added.
Pitino will have returning key players such as senior captains Luke Hancock and Russ Smith. However, the Cardinals will start the season without junior forward Chane Behanan, who has been suspended indefinitely.
Pitino said he will slowly integrate some new players into the starting lineup.
“I think this team is nowhere near its potential,” he said. “We have so many new parts … you’ve got five guys you’re trying to put into the lineup, and then you try to take Montrezl Harrell and take him from a role player to someone who will play a lot of minutes.”