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Russ Smith Ensures Louisville Will Go On Long Winning Streak

Jamie Rhodes-US Presswire

Chane Behanan Louisville Cardinals

The Louisville Cardinals picked up a huge home win last night against the St. John’s Red Storm thanks in part to Russ Smith, who had a huge second half of play.

Smith scored 21 second-half points, including 12 straight, to ensure the Cardinals victory. With the win, the Cardinals got their 20th win of the season but more importantly they stay in the hunt for the Big East regular season title.

As of now there are six teams separated by just one loss in the conference standings. The Georgetown Hoyas, Marquette Golden Eagles and Syracuse Orangemen all sit atop of the standings with an 8-3 record, while the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Pittsburgh Panthers and Cardinals all are knotted with 8-4 marks.

So what will be the difference in one of these teams rising to the top. Well, injuries, of course, can play a huge factor for any of these teams, but all things being equal, it has to do with match-ups and the schedule.

Here is where the Cardinals have a distinct advantage.

The Cardinals are all but assured to win their next three games as they play the South Florida Bulls, Seton Hall Pirates and DePaul Blue Demons, the three worst teams in the conference.

Meanwhile, the other top teams do not have that luxury and will beat each other up to a certain extent.

The Cardinals only need to worry about Georgetown and Notre Dame rising to the top because they do not hold the tie breaker with them after losing their only head-to-head games against them this season.

With the Cardinals winning their next three games, they will be 11-4 in conference and probably in first place with three games remaining in the Big East schedule and most definitely in control of their own destiny.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo