Tipping Off The Big East Countdown: #10 South Florida

Posted by Dan Lyons on October 22nd, 2012

After starting the year at #14 in Big East preseason coaches poll, the USF Bulls went an astounding 12-6 in conference last year and earned a berth in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, the school’s first in 20 years. The Bulls went on to defeat Cal in one of the First Four games and Temple in the Round of 64 before losing to the upstart Ohio Bobcats in the next round, but overall, last season was a year of almost unprecedented success for Bulls basketball. The school loses a few key players this year, but they’re getting much more respect this preseason with a #8 spot in the 2012-13 preseason coaches poll.

2011-12 Record: 22-14, 12-6

2011-12 Postseason: NCAA Tournament (Third Round)

How will Stan Heath’s young Bulls squad respond to increased expectations in 2012-13?

Schedule

The Bulls should be able to compile a number of wins before entering Big East play as their non-conference schedule is not the most daunting. USF opens with rival and future Big East foe UCF at home on November 10, before returning the favor with a road game in Orlando right before conference play opens in a rare non-conference home-and-home series. USF also takes on Georgia and George Mason at home and Oklahoma State on the road. In conference play, USF has home-and-home series with Villanova, Louisville, Marquette, and Connecticut.

Who’s In

USF brings in a lot of new yet experienced faces to plug in some holes this season. Senior forward Kore White should see immediate playing time in the frontcourt. The 6’8″, 241 lb. White transfers in from Florida Atlantic where he averaged 7.7 points and 4.5 rebounds in just over 23 minutes per game last season. Guard Martino Brock is also eligible to play after sitting out a year following his transfer from South Alabama, where he scored 14.2 points per game two seasons ago. Sophomore Musa Abdul-Aleem comes in from Georgia Perimeter College as a junior college transfer. Both Brock and Abdul-Aleem are big (6’5″) and physical guards, which should allow them to fit in well in the rugged Big East conference. Both are expected to see a lot of playing time due to their defensive contributions.

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Rushed Reaction: #12 South Florida 58 #5 Temple 44

Posted by David Changas on March 16th, 2012

Three Key Takeaways.

  1. A Game of Runs.  In the first half, South Florida went nearly 11 minutes without scoring. The Bulls finished the half 3-of-27 from the floor, but were amazingly down by only four points at the break.  In the second half, a different South Florida team showed up.  The Bulls hit 10 of their first 14 shots, including four of their first five from three.  After trailing 19-8 with 6:34 in the first half, South Florida went on a 33-10 run that extended to the midway point of the second half.  The turnaround was stunning, as it didn’t appear that South Florida would be able to do anything offensively after its woeful first half.  Whatever Bulls Coach Stan Heath said to his team during the intermission got them going, and now one of the last four teams in the Big Dance has a chance to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
  2. Collins and Rudd Lead the Way. Anthony Collins, South Florida’s freshman point guard, was outstanding in steadying the Bulls in the first half and leading their attack in the second.  He finished with 17 points, five assists, and four rebounds. Sophomore forward Victor Rudd, Jr., hit several key shots in the second half, and went 4-6 from three-point range.  Collins and Rudd were the key to South Florida’s quick spurt at the beginning of the second half, and the Bulls never relinquished the lead after taking it on a Shaun Noriega three with 16:55 remaining.
  3. Good Defense beats Good Offense. This game was a contrast in styles.  On the season, Temple shot 47% from the field and averaged 76 points per game.  According to kenpom.com, the Owls were the nation’s 22nd most efficient offensive team.  On the other hand, South Florida is seventh in the nation in scoring defense (56.8 points per game) and 14th in field goal percentage defense (opponents shot 38.7% on the year). On this night, the Bulls won the battle of these contrasting styles, as South Florida held the Owls to 35.7% shooting and 44 points.  Temple simply could not get into any offensive flow in the game, and the Bulls deserve all the credit for that.

Star of the Game Anthony Collins, USF.  The freshman point guard who had more than three times as many assists as any other Bull, was the steadying influence on this team on this night, turning the ball over only once.

Quotable. ”I think they’re the best defensive team we played against all year.  They’re long and athletic. They do a great job switching, as well as the guards keeping their guys in front.” – Temple’s Ramone Moore, on South Florida’s defense

Sights and Sounds.  A lackluster first half led to a crowd that had no life in the first 20 minutes.  After the break, the South Florida crowd, which had seemed non-existent, came to life when the Bulls rallied.  The game also presented a contrast in styles between the coaches.  Temple’s Fran Dunphy and South Florida’s Stan Heath do things differently.  Heath is animated and argues with officials throughout the game.  Dunphy, though intense, does not let his emotions show like his counterpart.

Wildcard.  This game was a battle of future Big East opponents.  Earlier this month, the league extended an invitation to Temple, and it will join in basketball beginning in the 2013-14 season.

What’s Next?  South Florida will take on 13th-seeded Ohio on Sunday.  The Bulls were one of the last four at-large teams to make the field, and many thought they should not have been in the field at all.  Now, the Bulls will wear their home uniforms as the higher seed, and with their defense, a trip to the Sweet Sixteen is a realistic possibility.

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Checking In On… the Big East Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on February 13th, 2012

Brian Otskey is the RTC correspondent for the Big East conference. You can find him on Twitter @botskey.

Reader’s Take

 

The Week That Was

  • Big East Adds Memphis: While conference realignment is unfortunately all about football, the addition of Memphis to the Big East Conference is a boon for basketball. With the league losing Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia, it needed a strong basketball program to limit the damage of three venerable programs departing. Memphis is perhaps the best the Big East could do from a basketball perspective and the Tigers will begin competing in the conference in the 2013-14 academic year. While the Big East cannot replace a program with the stature of Syracuse, Memphis is arguably at least as good, if not better, than Pittsburgh and West Virginia. Temple would be the next logical choice from a basketball perspective but Villanova has long been rumored to be firmly in opposition to the Owls joining the league. Conference realignment is a new reality and won’t end any time soon. Expect some more dominoes to fall over the coming months and years.
  • West Virginia Reportedly Settles: Just 36 hours after Memphis joined the Big East, West Virginia reportedly settled with the Big East on an exit agreement, although no official announcement was made. If the Charleston Daily Mail report is correct, West Virginia will leave the Big East on July 1 of this year in order to join the Big 12 Conference. The reported agreement says that WVU will pay the Big East $11 million, with the Big 12 contributing $9 million. Big East bylaws require all member institutions to give 27 months notice before leaving the conference. If the Mountaineers do leave the conference, the Big East will have 15 basketball members for next season (2012-13) before expanding again in the summer of 2013. Of course, West Virginia’s early exit could pave the way for agreements with Syracuse and Pittsburgh, allowing those schools to leave early for the ACC. In a worst-case scenario, the Big East will have 13 basketball teams in 2012-13. One thing is for sure, this story is far from over. Stay tuned.
  • NCAA Denies Connecticut’s Waiver Request: In what was another good move by the increasingly tough NCAA, the governing body denied a request by Connecticut to retain eligibility for the 2013 NCAA Tournament in exchange for self-imposed penalties. Those penalties included forfeiting revenue and playing a shorter schedule. The Huskies would not quality for next year’s tournament because of their low APR rating, below the four-year minimum requirement of 900 or two-year average of 930. UConn will appeal the decision, one that, if denied, could have a huge effect on the basketball program in Storrs. Will Jim Calhoun stick around? Will recruits want to come there and knowingly sit out a year? Many questions still need to be answered as the Connecticut basketball program enters a period of uncertainty.
  • Win Number 880 for Jim Boeheim: The Syracuse legend now stands alone in third place on the all-time Division I wins list behind Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and Bob Knight after Syracuse beat Georgetown last week. Number 880 is one better than Dean Smith, a legend in his own right at North Carolina. While it is unlikely that Boeheim can catch Krzyzewski since both will keep winning, the Orange coach can pass Knight early next season, especially if Syracuse goes on a deep NCAA Tournament run. It’s so rare to see an athlete or a coach stay at one school for his entire career in sports these days but that’s exactly what Boeheim has done. The Hall of Famer has been at Syracuse as a coach since 1969 and played for the Orange from 1962-66. What a truly remarkable career spanning 50 years (and still going strong).

Josh Pastner Looks Forward To Embracing A More Challenging Change of Scenery In The Big East

Power Rankings

  1. Syracuse (25-1, 12-1) – The Orange dispatched their chief rivals in the Big East, Georgetown and Connecticut, in vastly different ways last week. Against the Hoyas, Syracuse needed overtime to put away a team that out-rebounded them 48-30 and slowed the pace to limit SU’s transition attack. Kris Joseph led Syracuse with a career-high 29 points and Fab Melo had six blocks as the Orange won by three in the extra session. Neither team played well, but Jim Boeheim picked up his 880th career win, moving ahead of Dean Smith and into sole possession of third place on the all-time list. Against Connecticut, the Orange broke open a close game in the second half with a 22-6 game-ending run. Syracuse shot much better (59%), including a scorching 63% from beyond the arc. Dion Waiters and C.J. Fair combined for 32 points and 16 rebounds off the bench while Scoop Jardine added 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting. It seems like Joseph is emerging as the go-to guy for this team, a question that had yet to be answered for the better part of the season. Syracuse faces a quick turnaround with a Big Monday game at Louisville, a team that has beaten them seven consecutive times. This week: 2/13 @ Louisville, 2/19 @ Rutgers. Read the rest of this entry »
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