College basketball is coming, folks.
One of the refreshing indicators of the pending tipoff is the trickle of national preview magazine teasers that have been released in recent days.
Lindy’s 2013-14 preview won’t hit stores until September, but the perennial publication made an early splash when it unveiled its cover on Tuesday and revealed its top 10 teams.
Louisville is ranked seventh. Seventh.
Michigan State is the mag’s No. 1 team. That’s not crazy, considering the talent that will return for the Spartans next season. And the 2014-15 Charlotte Bobcats, also known as Kentucky, registered the No. 2 spot. That’s valid.
Reigning champion Louisville, however, finished seventh.
And you know, that’s … wait. Huh?
The same Cardinals who cut down the nets in Atlanta a few months ago?
I could digest a No. 2 preseason slot for Louisville behind Kentucky’s young NBA franchise (six McDonald’s All-Americans in its freshman class).
But let’s be real about this No. 7 situation. It’s nonsense. Ridiculous.
To me, Louisville and Kentucky are No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.
Again, Michigan State has an argument for No. 1.
But the Cardinals have the pieces to win another national title.
Ask Siva, who told ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman on Tuesday that the 2013-14 Cardinals could be "better" than last year's squad:
"People haven't seen Chris and a lot of people don't know who he is, but he can shoot, can really score and is as quick -- if not quicker than Russ," Siva said. "He's got a bulldog mentality and loves to pick guys up full-court. He's shorter than me, but he's so strong and athletic and won't be pushed around. He can go for 30 any night."
Siva said that Blackshear, who came into college with no shortage of hype three years ago, finally looks healthy and should be a major factor.
"He's finally had a full summer of workouts," Siva said. "The last two summers, he couldn't do anything because of his shoulders. He's a lot slimmer now. We can't call him 'Fat Wayne' anymore. He's got his explosiveness back and is much lighter on his feet."
Siva also was raving about Hancock, who averaged 8.1 points in a reserve role.
"He has so much more confidence and is shooting the ball much better," Siva said. "People forget that he was hurt last year coming into the season with the shoulder injury, and that's why he struggled early shooting the ball. He's pulling up on the break now and making 3s."
Louisville at No. 7?