Why Louisville's Russ Smith Is Exceeding the Hype in 2013 NCAA Tournament

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Why Louisville's Russ Smith Is Exceeding the Hype in 2013 NCAA Tournament
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

Louisville continues to validate its top overall seed in the NCAA tournament. The Cardinals are cruising past opponents and led Oregon wire-to-wire Friday night in a Sweet 16 showdown with the Pac-12 champions. 

Star guard Russ Smith is the catalyst leading Lousiville's late-season surge. The sensational and scrutinized 6'1" junior has been spectacular during a run that features 13 straight wins and a Big East tournament title. 

Smith is playing the best basketball of his career and is on the verge of cementing his legacy as a March Madness monster.

The team has trailed for less than five total minutes through three tournament games with Smith setting the pace. Opponents simply haven't kept up with the Cardinals and the team's dynamic leader.

He led Louisville to a Sweet 16 onslaught against Oregon. Smith scored 31 points, shooting 9-of-16 from the floor in a 77-69 dismantling of the Ducks. 

The Brooklyn native hit his stride this season just in time to elevate Louisville from promising contender to tourney favorite. Here's how Smith is leading the Cardinals' championship chase. 

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