15. Louisville (4-4, 0-1)
Quite possibly one of the laughing stocks of college basketball last season, things aren’t going too much better in year two for Kenny Payne. While the Cardinals (likely) won’t match last year’s 4-28 finish, it’s pretty clear that the program has not been heading in a great direction since Rick Pitino’s removal back in 2017. This may not be specifically related to Pitino or successor like Chris Mack and Payne, but you have to wonder if Payne is the answer.
With a double-digit home loss to Chattanooga back in early November, people were certainly wondering about this direction. Louisville nearly shocked the world in New York City, with a Max Abmas buzzer beater the one thing that stopped them from upending Texas. They had a very entertaining overtime win against New Mexico State and somehow survived Bellarmine a few days later before falling to Virginia Tech in their initial ACC contest.
The results have been a mixed bag that certainly leans more towards the negative, and we’re not even considering their exhibition loss to Kentucky Wesleyan. One positive is that they haven’t matched the 0-9 start from last season and are starting to see some results from young players like Skyy Clark. Certainly things could turn around for Louisville this season; there’s no question about that. However, it’s hard to imagine them pulling themselves too far out of the basement in this conference.