Sports Illustrated joined the ranks of networks unleashing their ACC basketball previews on the world Tuesday, and to no one's surprise, the publication has Louisville finishing second in the league behind only Duke.
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The Cards received even more love on the individual awards side of things, where Montrezl Harrell and Rick Pitino were both honored.
Coach of the Year: Rick Pitino, Louisville
Pitino has now won 30 games or more three seasons in a row, but this season will be a challenge. Not only are the Cardinals transitioning to the ACC, they also face a brutal out-of-conference schedule, including their annual showdown with Kentucky. With Montrezl Harrell, Chris Jones and Terry Rozier returning, Louisville will be able to score. And if the Cardinals are in the conversation for an ACC title and a top seed in March, expect Pitino to get his fifth career conference coach of the year honor.
Player of the Year: Montrezl Harrell, Louisville
It'd be easy to pick one of the many super-good Duke or North Carolina players who will probably end up grabbing most of the preseason votes (shout out Triangle Media), but I'm not so sure anyone in the ACC is ready for the type of energy and ferocity Harrell is bringing to the conference. Harrell, a bruising 6-foot-8 junior forward, has the opportunity to (borrowing a text from Johnny Football) wreck this league and boost his draft stock along the way.
You can read the entire preview here.