The Orange travel to annexed territory Tampa on Saturday to take on the South Florida Bulls (8-15). I suppose you could look at this game one of two ways. Either its a reprieve of some kind, allowing the Orange to work out their kinks and fine-tune their newly-rediscovered winning ways. Or its a trap game of the highest magnitude for a team that's just only beginning to remember how to win.
The Orange are back on the side of W's because of their zone defense. And if they want to remain on that side, they'll keep it up. As proven in the UConn game, the SU defense can be so good at times, it can keep the Orange in the lead even when the offense isn't clicking:
"If you think back to the beginning of the year, our offense wasn’t good then, either," SU forward Kris Joseph said. "That’s when we were trying to find ourselves as a team. But our defense was always there. That’s why we won so many of our early games. And that’s what happened (Wednesday night). Our offense wasn’t really clicking in the first half. But our defense is what kept us in it."
Kris, I'm gonna need you be more specific. And please, make sure you use the word penetration so much, it makes everyone uncomfortable:
"The guards did a great job keeping the penetration limited," forward Kris Joseph said. "The guard penetration is what usually hurts us. The inside screen on the zone allows guard penetration and allows inside dump downs and outside kickouts for 3."
A huge part of the zone's success against UConn was a freshman, though probably not the freshman you thought it would be when the season started. Bad, Bad Baye Moussa Keita.
"He was great," Boeheim said of Moussa Keita. "Blocking shots, rebounding. He was tremendous, I thought. Tremendous. Tremendous in the middle."
Hey, if Marrone isn' going to use tremendous anymore, it's fair game. And how's this for praise:
Said Joseph: "I don't consider him a freshman anymore."
Baye Moussa Keita is this generation's Kristof!
As for those Bulls in question, they're basically investing everything they've got in the Chipotle Curse. Didn't work too well for UConn (I don't think it works in a reverse jinx, I think it merely infects all who cross it) but its worth a try.
Watch USF coach Stan Heath talk about the game in creepy, unfocused HD: