College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, January 14, 2013
With Duke and Michigan each suffering losses over the weekend, Louisville was raised to the #1 position in the latest Top 25 Poll (AP), and, right away they were offered the opportunity to defend their position as the top team in the land.
Traveling to Connecticut to take on the Huskies, who had just toppled Notre Dame, 65-58, on Saturday, the Cardinals entered enemy territory with expectations as lofty as their ranking.
The Huskies took it to the Cardinals in the first half, shooting 50% from the field to take a 34-28 edge into the break, but the Cardinals came out breathing fire in the second half, quickly erased the lead and went on to dominate with 45 points in the half, cruising late to the 75-58 victory.
Led by a game high 23 points from Russ Smith (10-for-20, 2-for-6 on threes) and 16 points, nine boards and five assists by Chane Behanan, the Cardinals rolled to their 16th win against just one loss (76-71, to Duke), a 4-0 record in the Big East, tying them with #6 Syracuse for the conference lead.
The Cardinals will be put to the test again on Saturday, January 19, when they host the Orange in a 4:00 pm ET showdown, but for now, the #1 ranking rests peacefully in Kentucky, the ancestral home of hoops.