The Cardinals can win it all

Peyton Siva returned for his senior season and the chance to win a national championship. Tony Spinelli for ESPN.com

Leading up to Midnight Madness in October, ESPN Insider's "Countdown to Madness" series is previewing the top five seeds in each of the four regions in Joe Lunardi's preseason 2013 NCAA bracket. To read about the key stats and freshman impact for each team as the previews are published, plus get expert predictions from Jay Bilas, Fran Fraschilla and Lunardi, click here. This is the entry for the Louisville Cardinals, No. 1 in the Midwest (Indianapolis).

The key: A stifling defense

Stat to know: 0.764

Louisville enters this season facing the pressure of great expectations. The Cardinals are generating plenty of buzz as a preseason top-5 team with the potential to go all the way, and doing so would make Rick Pitino just the fifth active coach with multiple national championships to his name. Of course, to achieve that milestone, Louisville will again be relying on strong defensive play.