COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Mack Era begins tonight when Cards host Nicholls State

He has helped bring positivity and buzz back to a program desperately in need of both after it was implicated in the FBI investigation into college basketball, which ultimately led to the firing of Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino and long-time athletic director Tom Jurich.

He has helped bring back fans, including some of whom stayed away last season in response to the ousting of Pitino and Jurich and others who were just turned off by NCAA investigation fatigue and the overall product the Cardinals put on the court under interim coach David Padgett.

His first Louisville team will need plenty of both after the Cards lost four of their top five scorers off a squad that went 22-14 last season and was blown out in the NIT quarterfinals.

Louisville should win its first three games: Tonight, against Southern on Tuesday and Vermont next Friday before facing Tennessee, which is ranked No.

Sophomore forward Jordan Nwora was a four-star recruit coming out of high school, as was junior big man Steven Enoch, a Connecticut transfer.

All three will have to play major roles and minutes, especially considering Louisville’s lack of depth up front, for the Cards to have success this season.

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