Russ Smith scored 16 points and No. 2 Louisville overcame a terrible offensive effort for a 51-46 victory over Northern Iowa on Thursday night in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
The Cardinals had a bad first half, looked as if they straightened things out but then stumbled to the finish.
Louisville (4-0) will face No. 13 Missouri in Friday night's semifinals. The Tigers beat Stanford 78-70.
The Cardinals somehow held a 26-20 halftime lead despite shooting 27.0 percent from the field (10 of 37) and committing 10 turnovers.
They held Northern Iowa (3-1) to one field goal over the opening 10:47 of the second half and that cut Louisville's lead 40-24. It was far from an easy ride to the finish as the Cardinals went 5:12 without scoring and suddenly the Panthers were chipping away.