College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, March 5, 2014
#11 Louisville took another step towards at least a share of the American conference title, knocking off #18 SMU, 84-71.
The Cardinals are 14-3 in conference play, with one game left - Saturday, March 8, against Connecticut. Only Cincinnati, at 13-3, with two games remaining - March 6, Memphis; March 8, at Rutgers - has a chance to tie or beat out the Cardinals for the regular season championship.
If anything, Louisville is underrated, even at #11 in the AP Poll, and their deserving superstar, Russ Smith, gets less attention than other big-name players in the college basketball universe.
Smith had another of his routinely awesome outings on Wednesday against the Mustangs, leading all scorers with 26 points while nabbing six rebounds, handing out five assists and making two steals. Going 9-for-15 from the field, Smith was a perfect 6-for-6 from outside the three-point arc, as Louisville knocked down 13 treys.
Smith scored 22 of his points in the second half, at one point making three straight threes in a span of just a minute-and-a-half early in the second half. Despite his hot shooting, the Mustangs managed to stay close, but a later outburst from Smith of seven points in just over a minute increased the Cardinals' lead from seven to 12, and essentially put the game away.
Elsewhere, #3 Arizona managed a 73-69 win at Oregon State, #4 Duke scored just six points in the final five minutes, losing, 82-72, on the road at Wake Forest. #8 Kansas powered past Texas Tech, 82-57; #9 Wisconsin topped Purdue, 76-70; #10 San Diego State rallied past UNLV, 73-64; and #17 St. Louis was beaten by Dayton, 72-67.