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Louisville basketball ranked No. 16 in preseason coaches poll

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I would guess that the Cardinals were one of the most difficult teams to rank.

NCAA Basketball: Louisville Red-White Scrimmage Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Despite all the problems and question marks surrounding the program, the Louisville basketball team will begin its 2017-18 season ranked No. 16 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

The Cards earned 295 points from the coaches who voted, placing them just ahead of No. 17 Xavier and just behind, ironically enough, Richard Pitino’s Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Duke tops the poll, earning 20 of the 32 first-place voted. The Blue Devils are joined in the top five by Michigan State, Kansas, Kentucky and Arizona, in that order.

Here’s the full poll: