Louisville coach Rick Pitino is baffled by Russ Smith.
Not by the star guard himself, who is managing to outdo himself each time he steps on the court. No, Pitino doesn't understand why the rest of the country isn't as impressed with Smith as he - and every opponent who's faced him - is.
''I look at (player of the year) lists, and I don't see Russ Smith. I don't see him on the All-America teams,'' Pitino said. ''I'm baffled, just baffled, because it wasn't like he was a Johnny-come-lately. He carried us on his back to a Final Four last year.''
And he's one game from doing it again.
With Louisville having a rare off night, Smith lifted the Cardinals to a 77-69 victory over Oregon on Friday that put them in the Midwest Region finals. He matched his career high of 31 points, including seven during what would wind up being the game's decisive run.
Smith is averaging 27 points through the first three games of the tournament.
''Russ Smith is a talented young man,'' Oregon coach Dana...