LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Russ Smith scored 28 points and top-seeded Louisville advanced to the Sweet 16 with an 82-56 win over eighth-seeded Colorado State in the Midwest Regional of the NCAA tournament Saturday.
The Cardinals (31-5) suffocated Colorado State with their full-court press from the opening tip, and the Rams could not break through.
Some thought the Rams would be a tough matchup for Louisville because of its veteran poise and ability to hold on to the ball. But once Rupp Arena got rocking -- the 24,000-seat arena was nearly full of red-shirted fans who made the 75-mile drive from Louisville -- Colorado State wilted under the Cardinals' defense.
Louisville forced turnovers in all kinds of ways: steals, 10-second backcourt violations, traveling, out-of-bounds calls and three-second violations. Colorado State was even once called for traveling during a dead-ball inbounds play.
The Rams (26-9) finished with a season-high 19 turnovers.
From the opening tip, Colorado State was disturbed by the press but was hot enough once it got past midcourt that it led 16-14 with 12:02 left in the first half.
But as the turnovers piled up, even 55.6 percent shooting from the field (10 of 18) in the first half couldn't make up for the volume of shots the Rams weren't able to take. Louisville was 18 of 32 before halftime.
The Cardinals steadily built a lead but really took off with five minutes before halftime. Louisville scored eight straight points in a span of 36 seconds to open a 38-24 advantage. Colorado State would not get within single digits the rest of the game.
NOTES: Louisville qualified for its 19th Sweet 16 appearance since 1975. The only schools with more appearances in that time are North Carolina, Kentucky, Duke and Kansas. The Tar Heels lead with 25 Sweet 16 trips during that span. ... Smith has scored 81 points in three career games at Rupp Arena, Kentucky's home arena. He had 23 points and a career-high eight steals in the Cardinals' NCAA opener Thursday against North Carolina A&T. ... Colorado State's previous high for turnovers in a game this season was 16. The Rams committed their 17th turnover Saturday with about 16 minutes to play in the second half. ... Colorado State finished its season with a school-record 26 wins. The previous record was 23, set in 1988-89.