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Louisville's Smith both helps, hurts Louisville

Published: Tuesday, July 28 2015 12:38 a.m. MDT

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, right, hugs his player Russ Smith after his team defeated Florida 72-68 in an NCAA tournament West Regional final college basketball game on Saturday, March 24, 2012, in Phoenix.  (Matt York, Associated Press) Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, right, hugs his player Russ Smith after his team defeated Florida 72-68 in an NCAA tournament West Regional final college basketball game on Saturday, March 24, 2012, in Phoenix. (Matt York, Associated Press)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville guard Russ Smith is the Cardinals' offensive catalyst who plays entirely by feel — often frustrating coach Rick Pitino.

Yet, Pitino knows he can't win without his frenetic playmaker.

The sophomore is averaging 13.3 points per game in the NCAA tournament and his play will be pivotal when Louisville faces Kentucky in Saturday's rematch at the Final Four in New Orleans.

Smith scored 30 points in the Cardinals' 69-62 loss to the Wildcats on Dec. 31. It was the most points any individual scored against Kentucky this season.

But Smith has lapses that raise Pitino's ire. He is often caught apologizing to his coach. Smith sums up his play saying he doesn't know why he does what he does.

Pitino coined another term for his inconsistency: "Russdiculous."

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