Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals stood atop the college basketball world last April, defeating the Michigan Wolverines in the national championship as they proved to be deserving of the tournament's No. 1 overall seed that they were pegged for prior to the NCAA tournament.
The Cardinals said goodbye to senior Peyton Siva and junior Gorgui Dieng but return three starters, several key reserves, as well as adding a strong recruiting class. The Cardinals start the 2013-14 season ranked third in the AP Poll, only behind the Kentucky Wildcats and Michigan State Spartans.
The Cards must also become accustomed to playing in a new conference, though only for one season. Louisville will be the clear favorites to win the American Athletic Conference before bolting for the greener pastures of the Atlantic Coast Conference a year from now.
The following will provide a look at the Cardinals roster, projected rotation, key newcomers and returning players, most important players, potential season scenarios and finally, a prediction of where I see Pitino's squad finishing at season's end.