The Louisville Cardinals defeated the South Florida Bulls 59–41 in a game that probably should have ended with a margin of victory much larger than 18. The Cardinals didn’t even look like they were at their best during the game and still dominated.
Russ Smith led all scorers with 15 points, continuing his trend of being one of the best scorers in the NCAA. Smith has an uncanny ability to take shots when he needs to and knows when it would be smarter to pass. Smith continues to build his resume for Big East player of the year. However, the story of the game was not Smith’s points, but Gorgui Dieng’s 10 rebounds. Dieng was getting every rebound that came anywhere near him. If Dieng can dominate in the Big East tournament (and later the NCAA tournament) on the glass, expect Louisville to succeed.
Rick Pitino’s teams always seems to play well the longer the season goes, and although South Florida is a team under .500, this was a solid win for the Cardinals. Louisville needs to continue to play at a decent level the nest two games before the Cardinals take on a strong Syracuse Orange team in a game that could determine the Big East regular season title. Louisville is only half of a game behind first in the conference, and has two easy games before the final three game stretch of the season that sees the Cardinals play Syracuse, Cincinnati and Notre Dame – three games that could set the tone for the Cardinals expectations in March.