What To Expect From Louisville Cardinals' Russ Smith In Upcoming Season

By Trevor Lowry
Russ Smith
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

I know the 2012-13 college basketball season wasn’t too long ago, but let me just remind you that Russ Smith was a beast. So, what can we expect from Louisville Cardinals‘ star in the upcoming season?

Matching his 18.7 points per game will be a tough feat, but I think Smith will score at least 20 points per game. Sure, the NCAA tournament is all about doing or dying, but Smith gave it his all on a nightly basis, whether if it was in the tourney or in a non-conference schedule game. Not to mention, the Cardinals usually need Smith to score at will.

In the Big Dance, he managed to score 20 or more points in every game except for the championship game against Michigan. Still, he averaged 22.3 points per game in the tourney. No big deal, since the NCAA tourney tends to consist of the best teams in college hoops.

Smith improved his shot quite a bit this past season, so it would be hard to see him averaging better than 41.4 percent from the field and 32.8 percent from behind the arc. However, some players tend to have their best season in their final year in college, or that was at least the case for Duke‘s Seth Curry and Mason Plumlee this past season.

The American Athletic Conference will have plenty of talented teams in the 2013-14 season, but it will be nowhere near as tough as the Big East was this past year. As a result, Smith will be playing easier competition and could score more points per game because of weaker defenses alone. But yes, there will still be teams that challenge Louisville in the conference, but really not a whole lot.

Smith will enter the season as a favorite to be the Player of the Year, as he should be. He is going to put up big numbers in the scoring department once again and he has the ability and teammates around him to have an even better season than this past one, where Smith helped lead the Cardinals to a national championship.

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