The Cardinals (6-1), who lack size and bulk in the frontcourt (the tallest U of L player today stands 6-8), rely heavily on their quickness and outside shooting. Meanwhile, Kentucky (6-1) is a big and physical team up front, boasting 6-6 bruiser Chuck Hayes, 6-11 center Randolph Morris, and 7-3 reserve Shagari Alleyne. The Wildcats prefer a little slower tempo than do the Cardinals to take advantage of their size.
"Louisville's the type of team that can really hurt you with their outside shooting if you don't get out to their shooters," Smith said. "They have a great perimeter game with (Larry) O'Bannon, Taquan Dean, Francisco Garcia and (Juan Diego) Palacios. They have four outstanding shooters who look for their shots. They are a much better outside shooting team than we are at this juncture."
Having lost the past two games of the series to Pitino and the Cardinals, Smith believes one of the reasons his teams haven't fared well against U of L in recent seasons is because they've allowed Louisville to dicate the style and tempo of the game. If the Wildcats are to find success today in Freedom Hall, Smith says his squad can't allow the Cardinals to dictate the action.
"We can't get caught up and allow Louisville to force us to play their style," Smith said. "I thought that happened to us in the past. We tried to match three-point shots, and we had the wrong people taking shots at the wrong time."
Instead, Smith would probably prefer a half-court type of game where his team can exploit it's apparent advantages in both size and depth up front.
"We feel like [our play up front] is one of the things we're doing better," Smith admitted. "We're not shooting the ball well from the outside. We're shooting it better inside. We'll have to find ways to get the ball to our post players."
Smith, who is 1-2 against U of L on the road, knows his relatively young squad will face a major challenge in a boisterous Freedom Hall today.
"It will be a tough time going into Louisville," Smith said. "It's always a challenge. Coach Pitino has his team playing pretty well."