Louisville Basketball: 3 Cardinals that will dominate Evansville

We take a look at three Louisville basketball players that will dominate the Evansville Purple Aces on Friday night.

The Louisville basketball team is ready to take on the Evansville Purple Aces on Friday night in the Yum Center at 7:00pm. It will be the Cardinals first game of the 2016 season as they look to start their brutal 2016 schedule.

This has a lot of young players, but that doesn’t mean they come with inexperience. The Cards only have three Seniors are their roster in Mangkok Mathiang, Tony Hicks, and David Levitch.

At the same time, Louisville will be depending a lot on their Juniors to keep the train on course throughout this season. Quentin Snider, Matz Stockman, Jaylen Johnson, and Anas Mahmoud need to take their game’s to another level this year

Here is a short snapshot of the Evansville Purple Aces, courtesy of Louisville’s official athletic website:

“The Purple Aces have six seniors on their roster, led by guard Jaylon Brown, who averaged 10.8 points and was named to the MVC Most Improved Team last season as UE’s starting point guard. An Evansville graduate whose 25.9 points per game as a senior in 1987-88 was sixth in the nation, UE Coach Marty Simmons is in his 10th season at his alma mater and his next victory will be the 250th of his head coaching career.

Evansville has a 13-12 advantage over Louisville in a series which dates back to 1924. It has been 59 years since the teams last met, with Evansville prevailing 92-82 on Dec. 2, 1957. Evansville won nine of the first 10 meetings.”

It’s pretty surprising that Evansville has the series lead over the Cardinals, but expect that number to even itself out at 13-13 at the end of Friday night.

Here are three Cardinals that will dominate the Purple Aces:

Nov 28, 2015; Brooklyn , NY, USA; Louisville Cardinals guard Donovan Mitchell (45) points in his game against the Saint Louis Billikens at Barclays Center. The Cardinals won, 77-57. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

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Donovan Mitchell

Guard, University of Louisville

Mitchell has spent a lot of time in the offseason working on his jump-shot, of which we saw improvement in the two exhibition games. Evansville comes into the Yum Center losing a few key pieces of their starting line-up last year, I expect Mitchell’s athleticism to be a major problem for the Aces.

If he can stay in rhythm from the game against Bellarmine, then Mitchell will easily be in the double digits. However, I am more interested to see how dominant he can be on defense.

Rick Pitino is looking to take the defensive intensity to another level this season and Mitchell is a player who can help the Cards achieve that goal. We saw some flashes of great defense against the Knights, but I think we will see it get rolling even more against Evansville.

Mitchell’s combination of athleticism and improved shooting should be a major concern for the Aces going into Friday night.

Feb 24, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers forward Jamel Artis (1) shoots a three point shot over Louisville Cardinals forward Jaylen Johnson (10) during the first half at the Petersen Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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Jaylen Johnson

Forward, University of Louisville

Even though the media is saying that Louisville may have to rebound my committee, I still believe in Johnson’s ability to be the Cards’ guy. He has shown his rebounding skill in the two exhibition games, but let’s be honest, it’s extremely hard to grade a player’s performance against low-level competition.

Evansville won’t be a major challenge for the Cards, well, at least at rebounding the basketball. Not only did the Aces lose their top scorer from last season, but they also lost their leading rebounder.

I expect Johnson to have his way with the board on Friday, as the Aces won’t have anyone to match him.

This could be a game where Jaylen Johnson gets his first double-double of the season.

Feb 24, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Louisville Cardinals forward Deng Adel (22) dribbles the ball as Pittsburgh Panthers forward Michael Young (2) defends during the first half at the Petersen Events Center. Louisville won 67-60. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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Deng Adel

Forward, University of Louisville

This Louisville basketball team is going to go as far as Donovan Mitchell and Deng Adel can take them. These two Sophomores are the life-blood of a very young, but talented Cardinals’ basketball program.

Adel played very well in the exhibition games, as he was tied for being the leading scorer in the last one against Bellarmine. Not to mention, Rick Pitino believes in his ability to be one of the ACC’s best players this season.

I predict that Adel will be Louisville’s leading scorer on Friday night. Just like Johnson and Mitchell, the Aces do not have anyone on their team that can shut him down defensively.

Adel is in for a huge opening night in the Yum Center.

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