- Jordan Brenner, ESPN The Magazine contributing writer
2012-13: 35-5 (14-4 Big East)
In-conference offense: 1.06 points per possession (3rd in Big East)
In-conference defense: 0.88 points allowed per possession (1st in Big East)
For the first time in three seasons, college basketball has a legit contender to repeat as national champion. And if you want to argue against Louisville doing it again, you'll have to contend with a lot of facts. For instance:
• Louisville brings back seven of its top nine players from last season.
• Luke Hancock, the first reserve to win most outstanding player of the Final Four, will still come off the bench this season.
• For all of the impact freshmen entering the college game this season, Russ Smith has proved to be a game-changer at the highest level. And he's a senior.
• Louisville's adjusted defensive efficiency last season -- 83.1 points allowed per 100 possessions -- was the best since Memphis in 2008-09. The Cardinals' intense ball pressure forced turnovers on 27 percent of possessions (second in the country), and almost all the key pieces of that stifling unit are back this season.