(Photo of Chris Mack: Michael Clevinger - Courier Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - We might be roughly eleven months away from the announcement of the 2022 NCAA Tournament field, but it's never too early to project how Selection Sunday will pan out.
Following a 2020-21 season which saw them miss the Big Dance by a razor thin margin, the Louisville men's basketball program has been busy positioning themselves this offseason to get back into the mix. If ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi is to be believed, the Cardinals won't have to wait very long to experience March Madness again.
On Tuesday, Lunardi released his first bracket projection for the 2022 NCAA Tournament. In it, he listed Louisville as a No. 8 seed in the Midwest (Chicago) region. Kansas, Michigan, Florida State and Michigan State are the top four seeds in the region, with Gonzaga, Alabama and UCLA claiming the other No. 1 seeds.
Louisville opened up the 2020-21 season at 9-1, and were ranked as high as the No. 16 team in the nation. But due to COVID issues, injuries, and at times offensive inconsistencies, they went 4-6 in the second half of the season to finish at 13-7. They were designated as the tournament's 'First Team Out'.
The Cardinals are losing David Johnson and potentially Carlik Jones to the NBA Draft, as well as Aidan Igiehon, Josh Nickelberry and Charles Minlend, but they are welcoming six newcomers for next season. Matt Cross, Jarrod West and Noah Locke are transferring in; with Class of 2021 signees El Ellis, Michael James and Roosevelt Wheeler also joining the fold.
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