Overall No. 1 seed Louisville showed why it earned that ranking by completely dominating No. 12 seed Oregon from the opening tip.
The Ducks refused to submit to the Cardinals’ frantic pace of play for much of the contest, but it was eventually too much to overcome. Oregon put together a number of scoring runs, but Russ Smith and company had more than enough firepower and won 77-69.
Oregon continued to make second-half pushes, but the early deficit it dug itself was the ultimate undoing. Louisville only forced 12 turnovers with its high-pressure defense but still controlled the pace.
Smith led the way with a career-high 31 points and the Cardinals are returning to the Elite Eight yet again. They will play the winner of the Michigan State and Duke clash for the right to go to the Final Four in what will undoubtedly be a much-hyped regional final.
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