Ninth-ranked Louisville is trying to catch Cincinnati in the American Athletic Conference and can't afford to stumble when it visits lowly South Florida on Wednesday. The Cardinals are one game behind the Bearcats and the teams square off on Jan. 30 for the first of two meetings that will likely decide the regular-season crown. The Bulls are tied for eighth place in the 10-team conference and have lost six of their last eight contests.Louisville standout guard Russ Smith is on a roll with eight straight outings of 18 or more points, and he was named the conference's player of the week after averaging 20.5 points in wins over Houston and Connecticut last week. The Cardinals have won their last three games after a 2-2 stretch and coach Rick Pitino attributed the strong play to improved rebounding and defense, while South Florida coach Stan Heath sees opportunity knocking for his club. "Obviously we have nothing to lose," Heath said. "Nobody is expecting us to do anything in this game except the guys in this locker room, so we have to be the ones that go out there fearless, go out there with confidence and go out there aggressive."TV: 5 p.m. ET, ESPNUABOUT LOUISVILLE (16-3, 5-1 AAC): Forward Montrezl Harrell has three double-doubles over the last four games and stood out in last Saturday's victory over Connecticut with 18 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots. Harrell was 8-of-10 from the field and has been the squad's second-most reliable player behind Smith while averaging 12 points and a team-best 8.4 rebounds. The 6-8 sophomore will be asked to continue to pile up good efforts after the recent dismissal of key frontcourt player Chane Behanan.ABOUT SOUTH FLORIDA (10-8, 1-4): The Bulls are seeing improvement from guard Javontae Hawkins, a sophomore guard who scored a career-best 15 points in a loss to Cincinnati last Saturday. Hawkins was 6-of-9 from the field after scoring just seven points over his previous five outings. "It was very encouraging and well-needed," Heath said. "Hopefully that breakout game will build his confidence and he'll continue on. It gave us that outside shooting we'd been lacking and he also defended well."TIP-INS1. The Cardinals lead the series 27-4 but the Bulls upset Louisville during the 2011-12 season.2. South Florida F Victor Rudd (team-best 15.3 scoring average) is 22 points from becoming the 18th player in school history to reach 1,000 career points.3. Louisville PG Chris Jones (oblique) has missed back-to-back games and is questionable for this contest.PREDICTION: Louisville 86, South Florida 67