Originally written on Louisville Card Game  |  Last updated 1/14/13
Scary start after a rough day, the University of Louisville basketball team arriving a day late because of Sunday evening fog at the Hartford airport. The late arrival forcing changes in the pre-game routine, the flight possibly affecting early execution and timing. The players learning around noon their team was ranked No. 1 in the country. How should they be affected? Not a personal decision. Rick Pitino will not allow any distractions. An unwelcoming crowd of 16,200 UConn fans awaiting the Cards at the XL Hartford Center, reaching a fever pitch early, taunting the visitors, Pitino describing the student section as “rude and crude” afterwards. The UConn players feeding off their adrenaline, the student frenzy, Big Monday on ESPN, memories of past glories and visions of an upset. All these distractions possible excuses for the early shakiness, resulting in seven straight missed gimmes from point blank range for Gorgui Dieng, Wayne Blackshear and Chane Behanan. Peyton Siva going to the bench with two fouls in four minutes, missing the rest of the half. Two baskets off turnovers but not a single assist in that nightmarish first half. Russ Smith thriving on chaos (UofL photo) Chaotic conditions, the perfect launching pad for Russ Smith to do his thing. Without his point guard partner around, Russ will penetrate time and time again with those impossible, but impossible-to-stop, shots going through the net. Nineteen points in that first half, 23 for the game. Keeping the Cardinals within six points at the intermission. Russ will gladly go with the team concept in the second 20 minutes, handing the leadership back over to Peyton Siva. A fully rested Siva will bring some order, actually running some designed plays, finding his teammates with four actual assists while scoring nine points. He and Smith will make life miserable for the UConn guards, challenged on every dribble, every pass and every shot, running out of adrenaline, resulting in long scoring droughts. With Siva running things, Chane Behanan could begin contributing again, making 14 of his 16 points in the second half. Gorgui Dieng, playing dazed in the first half, was happy to see Siva again, too. While he had 16 rebounds for the night, he missed his first five shots and turned the ball over three times in the first half. He would contribute six points when they were needed in the second, his total for the game. But it was Russ Smith, playing in his element, streaking through the chaos, leaving his mark on this win.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Three teams achieve separation in Aldridge chase

WATCH: Serena Williams wags finger at Wimbledon crowd, says, 'Don’t try me'

Report: Rajon Rondo headed to Sacramento Kings

Dez Bryant deal with Cowboys could be announced Monday

Brandon Saad, Ryan O’Reilly sign long-term contracts with Columbus, Buffalo

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mavs solidify future, sign Wesley Matthews, DeAndre Jordan

A-Rod, Yankees settle dispute over home run milestone bonus

Report: Robin Lopez, Knicks finalizing four-year deal

Becky Hammon will coach Spurs' Summer League team

Jimmy Butler on Derrick Rose: ‘I don’t think we have any issues’

Yankees get A-Rod's 3,000th hit ball for $150,000 donation

The top American sports moments since the last Fourth of July

Nine former college football rivalries that need to come back

The most patriotic uniforms in American sports

Jeanie Buss: Brother Jim will step down if Lakers don't make deep run within two seasons

DeAndre Jordan to Dallas: The Los Angeles Clippers are literally mad men

Remember when the Cincinnati Bearcats were the scariest team in America?

Are the Angels now the worst organization in baseball?

Five reasons the Browns should play Johnny Manziel

Blue Jays need rookies to keep producing for success in 2015

WATCH: Sean Doolittle gets cup check from teammate

University of Florida developing high-tech smart mouth guard

Pat McAfee is the best punter in NFL history

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

A brief history of non-star All-Stars

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.