Russ Smith gonna Russ Smith. It won't be pretty all the time, and in fact it'll be pretty damn ugly a lot of the time, but Russ Smith is going to do what he's going to do, for better or worse, and last year what he did was lead Louisville to the national championship, and on Saturday what he did was lead No. 11 Louisville to a gritty road win against No. 7 Cincinnati, 58-57 in front of a sold-out crowd of 13,176 at Fifth Third Arena.

"Today just wasn't my day," Smith said outside the Louisville locker room, and for most of the game it wasn't. But for just enough of the game it was, because it was Smith who hit a 15-footer with 2.2 seconds left for the winning points, the culmination of 90 final seconds when Smith was just brilliant enough to overcome what had conspired in the first 38 1/2 minutes.

"Couldn't hit anything," he said. "Didn't really turn it over, but couldn't make a shot."

He couldn't make his crazy forays into the lane. Couldn't make mid-range jumpers. Couldn't even hit the rim on his final 3-point attempt of the game, when he air-balled an open jumper in rhythm with 6:17 left and the Cardinals leading 47-40.

Cincinnati rallied behind Sean Kilpatrick, who entered the game needing 10 points to join Oscar Robertson -- sitting courtside -- as the only Bearcats with 2,000 career points. It took him almost 25 minutes to get that 10th point, but after that Kilpatrick was unstoppable. He scored 18 points in the final 15 minutes to help turn a 10-point deficit into a one-possession game.