Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Russ Smith scored 31 points in leading Louisville back to the Elite Eight, as the top-seeded Cardinals handled Oregon, 77-69, in the first Midwest Regional semifinal at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Louisville never trailed but had to fend off the 12th-seeded Ducks down the stretch to reach a regional final for the fourth time in the last six years, including last season's Final Four appearance.
Kevin Ware added 11 points while Gorgui Dieng chipped in 10 with nine rebounds for the Cardinals, who are riding a 13-game winning streak into Sunday's showdown between either Duke or Michigan State.
Rick Pitino, who was coaching in his 900th collegiate game, improved to 11-0 in Sweet 16 games, though this was the first victory by single digits.
Oregon (28-9) trailed by 18 at one point and fell short of a stunning comeback after pulling within six with five minutes to go. E.J. Singler's 15 points paced the Pac-12 Tournament champions, while Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson chipped in 12 apiece.