Posted: 10:25 p.m. Friday, March 29, 2013
By Mike Rutherford
The Louisville Cardinals are the last No. 1 seed standing.
A game Oregon team fought out of a hole all night, but never allowed itself to be buried. The Ducks trailed by as many as 18 in the second half, but used a stretch where they hit six consecutive shots to cut the lead to 70-64 with 5:13 to play.
Every time Oregon threatened to put Louisville's run to the national title in serious jeopardy, Russ Smith had an answer. The junior hit 9-of-16 shots and tied a tournament-high with 31 points. The performance lifted his three-game point total to a tournament-best 81.
"I think Russ Smith is the runaway player of the year," Rick Pitino said after the game. "Runaway."
The biggest concern for Louisville now might be the health of several key players, including Smith, Peyton Siva and Kevin Ware who were under the weather Friday night.
Siva says he's in the early stages of strep throat. Taking antibiotics. Smith, Ware also under the weather.— Eric Crawford (@ericcrawford) March 30, 2013
The Cardinals were already going to have their hands full with either Duke or Michigan State on Sunday.
More in a bit.
Six down, three to go.