Watching film of Louisville demolishing Colorado State is going to be scary enough for anyone who has to face the Cardinals over the next...
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Watching film of Louisville demolishing Colorado State is going to be scary enough for anyone who has to face the Cardinals over the next two weeks.
Hearing what coach Rick Pitino said afterward is going to be downright terrifying.
“We can play much better,” Pitino said. “This is the best we have played so far at both ends of the floor. … But we can definitely get better and improve.”
Russ Smith scored 27 on 7-of-15 shooting, three other Cardinals reached double figures and top-seeded Louisville put on a defensive clinic in dismantling Colorado State 82-56 on Saturday.
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“Just give him the ball. It’s as simple as that,” Franklin High product Peyton Siva said of Smith’s hot streak. “He’s a scoring machine. He makes my job a lot easier. I just have to feed him the ball, get my assists up and get back on defense.”
Siva had 10 points and five assists.
Louisville forced the eighth-seeded Rams into a season-high 20 turnovers and outrebounded Colorado State 29-24 — no small thing considering the Rams came in with a nation-best plus-12 margin. Colton Iverson and Pierce Hornung, the country’s best rebounding tandem, managed just eight. Greg Smith led the Rams (26-9) with 14 points while Dorian Green, who had scored 26 against Missouri, was held to just six on 2-of-13 shooting.
“I don’t want to put the pressure on Rick and his guys, but they’re special,” Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy said. “They need a little luck like everybody does to win it all, but that’s as impressive a team as I’ve been against, certainly.”
Louisville (31-5) will play Oregon on Friday in Indianapolis. The Cardinals have won 12 straight since a five-overtime loss to Notre Dame.
“Our preparation coming into every game has to be sky-high,” Kevin Ware said. “Coach P doesn’t allow any letdowns.”
Playing Louisville and its relentless press is about as much fun as facing a really angry octopus. The Cardinals look as if they have eight players on the floor, what with all the arms waving and bodies smothering whoever has the bad luck to have the ball, and when one guy sits down, there’s one just as physical right there to take his place.
Michigan State 70,
In Auburn Hills, Mich., Gary Harris scored 16 of his career-high 23 points in the first half and the third-seeded Spartans cruised past sixth-seeded Memphis, putting the Tom Izzo-led program in the regional semifinals for the fifth time in six years and the 11th time in his career.
Michigan State (27-8) will play the winner of the Duke-Creighton game on Friday in the Midwest Regional semifinals at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Michigan State and the winner of the Kansas-North Carolina game on Sunday are the only schools to make it to the round of 16 five times in the last six years,
The Tigers (31-5) advanced in the NCAA tournament for the first time in Josh Pastner’s four seasons. The Conference USA champions are headed home because they struggled to stop Harris on the outside or his teammates inside all afternoon.
The Spartans’ top post players — Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix — combined for 27 points and 18 rebounds.
Memphis’ Geron Johnson scored 13 of his 16 points in the first half, and Joe Jackson finished with 12 points.
“The way it’s changed since 2000 is, a high seed used to get you out of the first weekend,” Izzo said. “Now it barely gets you out of the first game, as we’re all seeing.”
Izzo improved to 18-3 in the second game at an NCAA tournament site.