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Where Louisville basketball ranks in every early top 25 for 2017-18

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

It's that special time of the year where flowers are blooming, baseball is underway, and everyone (including your boy) is ranking college basketball teams despite having no idea which players are and aren't going to be playing for those teams.

Let's see where everyone has Louisville in their first looks ahead to 2017-18.

SB Nation: No. 4

4. Louisville Cardinals

2016-17 Record: 25-9

2016-17 Finish: Second Round

Donovan Mitchell is the decision to watch here. If the first-team All-ACC guard chooses to put the NBA on hold for one more year, then Louisville will return seven of its top eight scorers from a team that earned a No. 2 seed in the 2017 NCAA tournament. Rick Pitino also adds a top 10 recruiting class headlined by versatile 6'10 forward Malik Williams.

Sports Illustrated: No. 3


The Cardinals will probably lose 6'3" sophomore Donovan Mitchell to the draft, but three other starters, including point guard Quentin Snyder, will be back.

ESPN: No. 3

3. Louisville Cardinals

Louisville's atypically short stay in the 2017 postseason -- from its one-and-out loss to Duke in the ACC tournament to the second-round NCAA tournament defeat it took to uber-hot Michigan -- shouldn't obscure just how good the Cardinals were throughout the season or how good they will be again next season. Already an elite defensive team, coach Rick Pitino's group will slot in three top-100 talents ready to contribute on both ends next season, while maintaining almost all of the preexisting group. Mangok Mathiang is the only significant senior leaving, while star guard Donovan Mitchell looks to be the most likely potential departure, assuming Deng Adel comes back to campus after testing the NBA draft waters. (Both could ultimately return.) The pieces for another ACC title chase, and a much deeper postseason stay -- led by one of the best tactical minds in the game, mind you -- are very much in place.

Yahoo: No. 7


Key losses: C Mangok Mathiang, G Tony Hicks, G David Levitch, G Donovan Mitchell (projected)

Key returners: G Quentin Snider, F Deng Adel (projected), C Anas Mahmoud, F Jaylen Johnson (projected), F Ray Spalding, G V.J. King, G Ryan McMahon

Notable newcomers: C Malik Williams, G Darius Perry, F Jordan Nwora

Outlook: Losing Mitchell would be a blow, but Louisville has enough pieces in reserve to take the potential blow in stride. Snider had a down year that was interrupted by injury, but should be the team's leader as a senior. Adel and Johnson have both entered their names for the draft, but neither has hired an agent; both should be back. King at times appeared ready to step into a more significant role alongside Snider. Williams, the best of four incoming freshmen, will make the four-man frontcourt rotation fearsome. If Mitchell goes (he is also testing the waters without hiring an agent), Louisville lacks the star power of most top-10 teams, but it will have depth, experience and a Hall of Fame coach. That's more than most teams can say.

Fox Sports: No. 2

2. Louisville Cardinals

The Cardinals are arguably the toughest team to peg in these rankings. Donovan Mitchell, Deng Adel and Jaylen Johnson have all declared for the draft, with only Mitchell gaining real traction in draft circles. If Mitchell comes back - and the others as well - watch out, Louisville could potentially start the season ranked No. 1 in the country.

NBC: No. 1

1. Louisville

Who's gone: Mangok Mathiang, David Levitch, Tony Hicks

Who do they add: Malik Williams, Darius Perry, Jordan Nwora, Lance Thomas

Projected starting lineup: Quentin Snider, Donovan Mitchell*, VJ King, Deng Adel*, Jaylen Johnson*

Louisville has a chance to be very, very good next season. Just how good probably depends on what Donovan Mitchell decides to do — opinions seem split on him, as of this posting — but assuming Deng Adel is back and guys like VJ King, Ray Spalding and Anas Mahmoud take a step forward, the Cardinals might be the best team in the ACC. That says a lot this year.

The Sporting News: No. 6

6. Louisville Cardinals

Expected back: Quentin Snider, V.J. King
Definitely gone: Mangok Mathiang, Tony Hicks
Decision time: Donovan Mitchell, Deng Adel, Jaylen Johnson, Anas Mahmoud
Why they're here: So many draft decisions. If everyone comes back, heck, this could be your preseason No. 1 team. If only Mitchell goes (a reasonable scenario; he's at No. 21 in the most recent DraftExpress mock), you're looking at team in the mix for a No. 1 seed next March. And, not that this is a surprise, but Louisville's top-10 recruiting class includes four four-star players.