Skip to content

After win at No. 18 SMU, No. 11 Louisville is once again peaking in March

Mar 5, 2014, 10:41 PM EDT

source: Getty Images

Getty Images

Russ Smith scored 22 of his 26 points in the second half, hitting all six of his threes in the final 13 minutes as No. 11 Louisville went into Moody Coliseum and knocked off No. 18 SMU, 84-71.

The win is impressive in and of itself. The Mustangs are as tough as anyone in the country on their home floor. Ask UConn, Memphis and Cincinnati, who were all run off the floor by Larry Brown’s club. What’s more is that SMU came out on fire, taking a 26-12 lead with just seven minutes left in the first half.

Do a little bit of math, and the Cardinals scored 72 points in 27 minutes on the home floor of a team ranked 17th in the country in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom. The Cardinals outscored SMU by 25 points during that stretch.

They forced 23 turnovers and scored 25 points off of them. Their back court of Smith and Chris Jones combined for 47 points, seven assists and eight steals while shooting 10-for-13 from three, numbers made all the more impressive when you consider that Smith was dealing with a stomach bug (he threw up in a trash can after hitting his sixth three) and that Jones’ step-brother was shot and killed during the Memphis game; Jones is a Memphis native.

No matter how you slice it, this was a dominating performance from the Cardinals. If it wasn’t for a late-game collapse at Memphis last Saturday, the Cardinals would be in a position where they would look like a favorite to make a run back to the Final Four. As it is, the biggest hinderance to the Cardinal’s chances of making it back to Dallas in April could end up being the seed that they draw on Selection Sunday.

Louisville struggled in the non-conference, losing their only two quality games in non-conference play, but with a game against UConn this weekend and a trip to the AAC tournament the following week, a No. 3 seed isn’t out of the question for Rick Pitino’s club.

Here’s the thing about the NCAA tournament this season: there are no dominant teams. The difference between the teams that end up on the No. 1 seed line and the teams that are No. 4 seeds won’t be all that much. Louisville can absolutely make a Final Four, even if they have to play Stephen Van Treese for 27 minutes a night.

That’s how good their perimeter is, and that’s how dominant Montrezl Harrell can be.

For the third straight season, Louisville appears to be peaking at the perfect time.

Latest Posts
  1. Bucknell announces hiring of former assistant Nathan Davis as head coach

    Apr 19, 2015, 8:42 PM EDT

    Randolph Macon Athletics Randolph Macon Athletics

    Nathan Davis, who won 78.3 percent of his games as head coach at Randolph Macon, was an assistant at Bucknell from 2003-08.

  2. Former Wake Forest forward to finish career at Iona

    Apr 19, 2015, 7:25 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Aaron Rountree III was a role player at Wake Forest, but he’s headed to a program that has been successful with transfers under Tim Cluess.

  3. 6-foot-11 Tyler JC center commits to UCLA

    Apr 19, 2015, 6:50 PM EDT

    Steve Alford Steve Alford

    With their leading rebounder off to the NBA, UCLA is hoping that this 6-foot-11 center can be of service in that area.

  4. Former Texas A&M forward to complete eligibility at UMass

    Apr 19, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    With Cady Lalanne and Maxie Esho out of eligibility, this addition gives UMass some added front court experience.

  5. Former Iowa State guard finds a new home in the Missouri Valley Conference

    Apr 19, 2015, 5:25 PM EDT

    (Getty Images) Getty Images

    A former Iowa State guard will continue his career in the Valley.

  6. Former Kansas State guard transferring to Creighton

    Apr 19, 2015, 4:41 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Foster struggled as a sophomore, but a change of scenery could do him some good.

  7. Kansas State lands a three-star Class of 2015 forward

    Apr 19, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    Bruce Weber AP

    Kansas State badly needed some bodies after an offseason filled with roster turnover. They landed a three-star forward on Sunday.

  8. Louisiana Tech lands impact guard transfer who can play immediately

    Apr 19, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    (Florida A&M athletics) (Florida A&M athletics)

    Louisiana Tech might have found its new starting point guard for next season.

  9. Highly-recruited Class of 2015 point guard lists eight schools

    Apr 19, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    (Nike) (Nike)

    One of the best players left in the 2015 class is down to eight schools.

  10. E.C. Matthews will return to Rhode Island

    Apr 19, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    E.C. Matthews AP

    Rhode Island is getting E.C. Matthews back for his junior season.

  11. Former Vanderbilt guard finds a new home in the ACC

    Apr 19, 2015, 11:45 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    A former top-100 player found a new home in the ACC.

  12. Former Alabama guard transfers to Georgia State

    Apr 19, 2015, 10:45 AM EDT

    (AP) AP

    A former top-150 prospect is heading from the SEC to Georgia State.

  13. Mixtape of No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2017, DeAndre Ayton (VIDEO)

    Apr 19, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT

    ayton

    DeAndre Ayton is one of the best prospects in high school basketball.

  14. UNLV awaiting two important personnel decisions in its front court

    Apr 18, 2015, 10:27 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Wood returning would ensure that this young but talented front line wouldn’t lack for experience.

  15. Missouri receives commitments from two John A. Logan College players

    Apr 18, 2015, 8:56 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Missouri is hopeful that these two junior college products can help them rebound from a tough 2014-15.

  16. Vermont signee injured in car crash speaks first words in more than ten weeks

    Apr 18, 2015, 7:44 PM EDT

    Vermont Athletics Vermont Athletics

    Josh Speidel hadn’t spoken since the crash February 1. His first word: “Mom.”

  17. Three-star forward Rapolas Ivanauskas becomes Northwestern’s first 2016 commitment

    Apr 18, 2015, 6:15 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Chris Collins and his staff have done a good job of recruiting local talent, and they reeled in another player Saturday.

  18. 2016 New Mexico commit Mitch Lightfoot decides to reopen recruitment

    Apr 18, 2015, 5:25 PM EDT

    Craig Neal Craig Neal

    Lightfoot was on the receiving end of offers from Arizona State and Utah before committing to UNM, and the new staff at ASU has already reached out to him.

  19. Former Cornell forward Shonn Miller headed to UConn for final season of eligibility

    Apr 18, 2015, 4:39 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpte4mwi1zmrlntq4ndc4yjfiywyzztq3zgnhzgfhmgu0 AP

    Miller averaged 16.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game last season, and he’s an important addition for the UConn front court.

  20. Five members of Iowa State’s 2014-15 team have been arrested after two more arrests this week

    Apr 18, 2015, 4:15 PM EDT

    Dustin Hogue AP

    More arrests at Iowa State as two more members of the 2014-15 roster were charged within the last week.