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March 21, 2013
Louisville rolled to an easy 79-48 win over North Carolina A&T Thursday night in Rupp Arena during the Cardinals' first game of the NCAA Tournament. CardinalSports.com was courtside for the action.
RUSS COMES UP BIG
Junior guard Russ Smith had 23 points and seven steals for Louisville against North Carolina A&T. Louisville's leading scorer and the most dynamic player in the Big East, Smith was a national award candidate for much of the season.
Smith was 10 of 16 from the field, 2 of 4 from the foul line, had eight steals and had three assists. He only played 25 minutes.
Louisville played nine players for seven or more minutes during the first half against North Carolina A&T. Substitutions Kevin Ware, Luke Hancock, Montrezl Harrell and Stephan Van Treese totalled 35 minutes and 18 points.
UofL outscored NC A&T 18-0 in bench points during the first half. They hit 6 of 8 shots in the first half, providing a good amount of offensive kick off the bench.
Louisville's lineup included Tim Henderson, Wayne Blackshear, Michael "Dark Slime" Baffour, Montrezl Harrell and Zach Price in the final two minutes.
The Cardinals played 12 players and 11 players played at least seven minutes.
Louisville subs Logan Baumann and Jordan Bond were up in the stands along with redshirting big man Mango Mathiang. The NCAA limits the number of players allowed to be on the bench.
Gorgui Dieng was efficient, but his statistics did not appear to be spectacular until you realize he only played 20 minutes.
Dieng had eight points, seven rebounds and was a perfect 3 for 3 from the field and 2 for 2 from the foul line. He had an assist, a block, a steal and three turnovers.
The game was noteworthy for a couple of the worst calls we have seen in person. The first was an over and back call on Luke Hancock. The referee missed a clear push by a North Carolina A&T player.
Rick Pitino was livid, pointing to the place where the push occurred. Hancock walked away shaking his head.
The other call was a dubious charge call on Russ Smith near the North Carolina A&T baseline. Smith was still talking to the referees about the call five minutes of game clock later.
Rev. Jesse Jackson was sitting 3 rows behind the media at Rupp Arena.. He's a big NC A&T fan.
Midway through the first half, we asked fans on Twitter to tweet me what you think he'd say at halftime to fire up his team.
@ChrisLindy1 "Down with hope... if we thought we could beat the Cards we must have been on dope." #JesseSays
@PhilRich0911 "KEEP HOPE ALIVE!" #JesseSays
@macdaddeus1 "He will recite "Green Eggs and Ham" #JesseSays
@paulieworld "Rise up against this full court oppression!" #JesseSays
@M_Lega 6m "Guys, in about an hour we get to go home" #Jessesays
@JDrumUK "Forget Louisville's jive. As long as we have five, we keep hope alive." #JesseSays
And our favorite...
@ChrisLindy1 "The demonstration of this physical domination leads me to great frustration." #JesseSays
CardinalSports.com's Bracket Challenge includes the most brackets ever submitted in one of our contests - 379.
Thank you to everyone who submitted their brackets. Here is the link to check your standings:
CardinalSports.com Bracket Challenge