Russ SMith, Anthony James

VIDEO: No. 2 Louisville outlasts Northern Iowa

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No. 2 Louisville knocked off Northern Iowa 51-46 in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis on Thursday night in a game that was just as ugly as we expected. The two teams combined to shoot 32.4% from the floor, 26.8% from three and turn the ball over 41 times. (Although, somewhat surprisingly, there were only 29 fouls called and 19 foul shots taken.)

Louisville used a 21-2 run over 10 minutes that spanned both halves, opening up a 40-22 lead on the usually stingy Panthers. But you better believe that the Panthers had a run in them, as they immediately answered with a 22-5 run that cut Louisville’s lead to 45-44 with two minutes left.

The Cardinals pulled away in the final minutes, with an and-one lay-up from Russ Smith being the dagger.

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Frankly, there really wasn’t much to take out of this game that we didn’t already know heading in.

Louisville is going to be a tough team to play due to their size and athleticism inside and the pesky, quick defenders at the front of their press. They are going to be a tough team to watch offensively, at least early in the season, as Rick Pitino’s club figures out what, exactly, they want to do and what they are capable of doing offensively. Right now, the Cardinals are not a team that can be counted on to score a lot of points.

Northern Iowa also wasn’t a secret heading into the season if you were paying attention. They are probably the second best team in the Missouri Valley, and there were some out there that thought the Panthers had a real chance to win this game. They have size, they defend, they are experienced and they have a couple of talented, veteran guards. That’s a good combination.

Smith finished with 16 points, five assists, five boards and four steals for Louisville, who will play Missouri at 9:30 ET tomorrow night in the semifinals.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Clemson lands 2017 guard

Brad Brownell
AP Photo
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Clemson landed a quality commitment on Tuesday as Class of 2017 guard A.J. Oliver committed to the Tigers. The son of Clemson women’s head coach Audra Smith, Oliver is regarded as a three-star prospect, according to Rivals, although some others view him as a top-100 caliber player.

The 6-foot-4 Oliver attends nearby Daniel High School and should have some time to get acclimated with the players and coaches before he sets foot on campus. A versatile guard who plays hard, Oliver showed that he can make plays with the ball in his hands this summer with the Upward Stars.

Oliver is Clemson’s first commitment in the Class of 2017 and it’s a strong start for head coach Brad Brownell.

Arizona’s Tarczewski out 4-to-6 weeks

Kaleb Tarczewski, Sean Miller
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Arizona will be without senior center Kaleb Tarczewski for 4-to-6 weeks, the school announced on Tuesday. The 7-foot Tarczewski suffered a stress reaction and strained muscle to his left foot and he’ll have some time to heal before the main portion of the Pac-12 conference schedule.

The experienced Tarczewski was averaging 8.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game before going down with injury. Without the senior in the lineup, Arizona fell to Providence in the Wooden Legacy last week. Without Tarczewski in the lineup, the Wildcats could turn to center Dusan Ristic while forward Ryan Anderson has had some solid outings this season.

Missing Tarczewski for the rest of non-conference play will hurt but he’ll get to rest and recover for the stretch run while the Wildcats can mix in some new frontcourt pieces.