Just when it looked like the upstart SMU Mustangs were poised to make another statement at home against another vaunted opponent in the Louisville Cardinals, Russ Smith erupted and rained threes like only Smith can when he is at his most Russdiculous.
The ESPN play-by-play is living proof that Smith buried six threes and added two more field goals in a 10 minute span that boosted a 46-41 Louisville lead with 13 minutes left in the game to a 75-63 cushion with three minutes to go. The 22-point outburst that Smith displayed in those 10 minutes was so convincing and dominant that maybe even Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones was at the edge of his seat at Moody Coliseum, churning the idea that maybe the Russdiculous athletic ability of Smith could convert to the gridiron as a cornerback in the NFL.
Even a venerable head like the incomparable Larry Brown (head coach for SMU) had to be sifting through his Methusalahian memory to conjure something akin to the Russdiculous performance that his squad was helpless to stop.Mar 5, 2014; Dallas, TX; Louisville Cardinals guard Russ Smith drives to the basket against Southern Methodist. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
Smith finished with 26 total points and had plenty of help from his supporting Louisville Cardinals’ cast. Guard Chris Jones bounced back from a disaster at Memphis (1-10 FGA) to notch 21 and Montrezl Harrell force fed a total of 19 to an overmatched SMU defense. Swingman Luke Hancock is starting to recollect his Manu Ginobli resemblance that catapulted him to Most Outstanding Player of the 2013 NCAA Final Four and added 15 points in the 84-71 win.
With the win, Louisville edges past the Cincinnati Bearcats for first place in the American Athletic Conference (14-3) and ups their record to 25-5 overall. The tune-up against SMU after a bad loss to Memphis should put the Ville back in the right state of mind for a conference tournament showing that will hopefully be worthy of a defending national champion.
The overall game of Louisville might still be lacking from the big-man, mid-range perimeter ability of Gorgui Dieng from last year’s squad and the added dimension of physical play underneath from the booted-off-the-team Chane Behanan, but the win over SMU and the revival of Smith at his most Russdiculous best is a sign that the Cardinals are ready to defend their title and perhaps make the Final Four for a third straight year.