Louisville's late regular-season slide has turned into a postseason surge.
Russ Smith had 17 points as Louisville held off a late New Mexico rally 59-56 Saturday night for its sixth consecutive win, advancing to the regional semifinals for the first time since 2009.
The Cardinals lost three of their last four regular season games, then swept through the Big East Tournament with four straight wins. The No. 4 seed then beat Davidson in their opening tournament game before facing the fifth-seeded Lobos.
Coach Rick Pitino said the Cardinals' Big East run was just what they needed.
''I'm really delighted, because I thought this team had a lot of limitations,'' he said. ''I wanted to win that Big East tournament in the worst way because I knew their confidence would grow.''
They'll need that boost next week when then face the winner of Sunday's Saint Louis-Michigan State game at the West Regional semifinal in Columbus.
''It just feels good. Everybody really battled today,'' said Lou...