Written and authored by NCAA Basketball March Madness Expert Analyst Charlie McDougall. Charliessports.com produces it for Basketball news and notes. The 2014-15 Louisville Cardinals basketball team is in turmoil. Head Coach Rick Pitino released former starting Point Guard Chris Jones from his scholarship and kicked his off the team late Sunday for violating team rules. Jones, a 6’3″ Guard from Niceville, Florida was scoring thirteen points per game and an All-ACC third team selection in the preseason. The loss has put pressure on leading scorer Terry Rozier and All-American Forward Montrezl Harrell. The Cardinals will probably drop a few spot in seeding for the upcoming Atlantic Coast Conference and NCAA March Madness Tournaments.
This Sports Handicapper believes the loss of Jones is huge for Pitino and the Cardinals going forward. Jones usually set the tone defensively and new how to create shots for teammates. There have been a few instances where teams dropped in seeding for the annual classics. In 2010 Purdue star Robbie Hummell went down late in the season with a torn ACL, the Boilermakers could have been a number-one seed with Hummel. The March Madness selection committee dropped the Boilermakers at a four-speed. The 21-6 Cardinals lost at Syracuse in their first game without Jones 69-59 and his replacement Quentin Snider was inconsistent. Snyder, a freshman from “DERBY CITY,” must grow up quick and gain confidence however he can. Jones did come back Saturday February 21st, to help Louisville to a 55-53 home win over Miami, Florida. Jones scored seventeen points in the win. The Louisville Cardinals have dropped their last two 2015 NCAA Basketball ATS Picks staying under the betting odds total both times. The Cardinals have four games remaining on the regular-season schedule, and then it’s tournament time. It’s up to the legendary coach to rally the troops around Snider.
Louisville is also playing for a bye in the first-round of the prestigious Atlantic Coast Tournament. Louisville still has plenty of talent on the roster but will miss Jones tenacity, his on-ball defense skills and outside shooting. Harrell and Rozier must take up the majority of the slack, by taking their game to another level. Louisville will still get a 2015 NCAA March Madness Tournament bid, but the question is how far can they go?. Pitino is also good at making changes as they arise, and he must do his best coaching job of his career. Louisville closes the regular at home on March 7th against Virginia, a team they lost to 52-47 on February 7th in Charlottesville. Good luck Louisville in replacing Jones. Kids will be kids but at some point you have to grow up. Jones is responsible for himself. He is in a privileged position and must take advantage of his next chance.