Louisville started out strong and never looked back in their game against Temple Thursday night. The Cardinals routed the last place Owls by a final score of 88-66. With the exception of their one point victory against Cincinnati last weekend, the Cardinals last nine victories have come by way of double digits.
Guard Russ Smith finished with one of his better scoring efforts on the year, posting 24 points to go along with four steals. Chris Jones was also very impressive for the Cardinals. The junior guard isn’t really known as a facilitator as he averages just three assists per contest. However, Jones dished out an array of dimes that concluded with a season-high eight assists.
On the outside, the Cardinals victory over an abysmal opponent doesn’t seem like much. But, tonight’s win moves Louisville to 13-2 in American Athletic Conference play and into a tie for first place with Cincy.
Right now, Louisville is playing their best basketball of the season at the perfect time. With the NCAA tournament just a couple of weeks away, the Cardinals are quietly emerging as one of the favorites to repeat as national champions. A pivotal game looms on Saturday as Louisville will visit the 21st ranked Memphis Tigers.
The Cardinals will have to be careful heading into this crucial three game stretch to finish the regular season. Win all three, and the Cardinals are in line for a number one seed come Selection Sunday. However, a couple of slip ups could possibly result in a tough first-round matchup.