of Louisville's Russ Smith (left) and Julius Randle of Kentucky are featured on the cover of the latest Sports Illustrated.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It was inevitable that Louisville guard Russ Smith would crash the cover of Sports Illustrated. Ditto for Julius Randle, the Kentucky freshman who plays like a senior.
Now both guys will have to deal with the SI cover jinx because they're matched against each other on front of the current issue of Sports Illustrated, dated Nov. 18, 2013.
Smith is in attack mode, posing in the traditional triple-threat position. Randle is lined up to defend.
And one other thing: SI goes with Louisville as the top-ranked team in the nation.
Kentucky is ranked second, followed by Michigan State, Duke and Kansas.
Rick Pitino answers three questions about his team. One is about the next step in Smith's evolution as a player. This is what he says:
"For him to be a pro -- and I'm just quoting NBA people because for me as a college coach, he's great -- he needs a better assist to turnover ratio, better shot selection and less dribbling. His assist to turnover ratio was about even last year and they'd like to see it about 2.5 to 1."
This was one of the questions for John Calipari at Kentucky: What does Julius Randle bring to this team behind the scenes?
"He has a spirit -- it's what Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had -- that comes in and elevates practice and he doesn't care what it looks like. A lot of guys are afraid they're going to embarrass their teammates. I have to stop practice and say to (other guys), "Don't you feel bad that (Julius is) going that hard and you're choosing not to."
Arizona, Michigan, Syracuse, Florida and Oklahoma State finish the Top 10.
SI ranks Indiana 27th, Purdue 36th and Eastern Kentucky 62nd.
Louisville fans will also enjoy a feature story on two of the stars of Jeff Walz's women's team -- Shoni and Jude Schimmel.