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. CAA Rookie of the Year transfers to BYU

    Jul 28, 2015, 10:04 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Elijah Bryant will have three years of eligibility remaining.

  2. Arkansas forward Jacorey Williams linked to pair of alleged assaults

    Jul 28, 2015, 8:43 PM EDT

    AP AP

    The Arkansas forward was charged with one count of forgery last week.

  3. Texas Tech commit to attend junior college

    Jul 28, 2015, 7:45 PM EDT

    Kelly Kline/adidas Kelly Kline/adidas

    The three-star forward failed to qualify earlier this month.

  4. Arizona State receives commitment from three-star center Jethro Tshisumpa

    Jul 28, 2015, 6:21 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Bobby Hurley off to a good start in his new gig in Tempe.

  5. John Calipari says 2016 “could be best class ever”

    Jul 28, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Tai Wynyard of New Zealand is the only commit currently in Kentucky’s Class of 2016.

  6. Michigan lands commitment from 2016 guard Ibi Watson

    Jul 28, 2015, 5:15 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    John Beilein gets his third commitment for 2016.

  7. Another mixtape for July’s biggest stock-riser, Wenyen Gabriel (VIDEO)

    Jul 28, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 2.15.47 PM

    If you can do things like this, you can play for Duke or Kentucky.

  8. If the NCAA is correct, Donnie Tyndall is in big, big trouble

    Jul 28, 2015, 3:58 PM EDT

    Donnie Tyndall AP

    The accusations against him include burner phones, hiding IP addresses and his mother’s cell.

  9. Tracy Abrams suffers second season-ending injury in 10 months

    Jul 28, 2015, 1:34 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Abrams was projected as the starting point guard for Illinois.

  10. Ben Howland’s first non-conference schedule at Mississippi State is unimpressive

    Jul 28, 2015, 1:03 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    The Bulldogs aren’t guaranteed to play a top 25 team until SEC play.

  11. Highlights of Bol Bol, 15 year old son of Manute Bol (VIDEO)

    Jul 28, 2015, 10:49 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 10.49.06 AM

    He is talented, just don’t call him the next Kevin Durant.

  12. Video tour of VCU’s new $25 million practice facility

    Jul 28, 2015, 10:12 AM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwi3otuyzgqyymy0yzdhm2mzntk2mzg5zmrlnzczm2vm AP

    Will Wade will have a beautiful facility to recruit to.

  13. Kansas, Indiana on opposite sides of 2015 Maui Invitational bracket

    Jul 27, 2015, 8:12 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Potentially four top-25 teams will be in the 2015 field.

  14. Colorado State’s Antwan Scott granted sixth year of eligibility

    Jul 27, 2015, 5:51 PM EDT

    Grambling State Grambling State

    Scott averaged 15.7 points per game for Grambling during the 2013-14 season.

  15. Nik Stauskas trolls Ohio State fans, claims Thad Matta didn’t know who he was (PHOTO)

    Jul 27, 2015, 5:18 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    The former Big Ten Player of the Year (inaccurately) trolls Ohio State fans

  16. Top two 2017 recruit Michael Porter Jr. dunks all weekend (VIDEO)

    Jul 27, 2015, 3:45 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 10.29.28 AM

    It’s pretty obvious why people like Porter.

  17. Highlights of Wenyen Gabriel, who’s been offered by Kentucky, Duke (VIDEOS)

    Jul 27, 2015, 2:17 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 2.15.47 PM

    Gabriel was the biggest stock riser for the month.

  18. Ron Baker was the best college player for Team USA at Pan-Am Games

    Jul 27, 2015, 1:51 PM EDT

    baker Getty Images

    Denzel Valentine and Taurean Waller-Prince also played well in stretches.