The South Florida Bulls present an intriguing proposition tonight when they visit the Carrier Dome to take on the No. 2 Syracuse Orange. The Bulls are 17-10 and have put together an impressive run late but have yet to grab a quality win that will impress the NCAA Tournament committee. Winning tonight could go a long way towards changing that.
I spoke with the nogoodniks over at Voodoo Five to get the skinny on these Bulls. See their answers below.
Explain to me in the simplest terms possible how in the hell the South Florida Bulls are fifth in the Big East Standings and a couple bounces away from a double-bye in the Big East Tournament.
Mirror opponents in Providence, Villanova, and Pitt? Its been a fun ride after last season's death march our horrible non-conference season this year. This team is doing it with a tough defense, duct tape on offense, and fighting for every single thing on the court.
If I told you before the season that USF would sweep Pitt in a home-and-home, you would have told me to...
Sober up and see me tomorrow. I was hoping for a split at best before the season and was really shocked at how mediocre they looked this year. Ashton Gibbs was exposed when he had to run the offense, and no one has been able to replace Brad Wannamaker's production. And the two games weren't even close this year. USF was clearly the better team this season, and its still bizarre to say.
USF has one player averaging double-digit scoring (Augustus Gilchrist, 10.5) and a lot of players averaging high single-digits. How is this spread-the-wealth mentality working?
It definitely keeps teams honest. Freshman PG Anthony Collins has been a big help distributing the ball, but it seems like every game someone else steps up. For Pitt on Sunday it was Collins who abused Woodall all night and scored a career high 22 points. The coaching staff will find a weakness during film and they'll try to exploit it all night.
For today's game I wouldn't be surprised if they try to feed Ron Anderson Jr. a lot in the post after seeing Biruta's big game against the Orange this past weekend. He's very active in the post and will outwork you for every offensive rebound.
It's been 20 years since USF made the NCAA Tournament. Is this the year?
If we can win 2 of our last 4 games, plus a win in the Big East Tournament than yes. If that happens, we are at 20-12 heading into the quarters with a 12-6 conference record. I don't think the committee can overlook that given the weak bubble this year.
Any concerns that as USF does well, the chances Stan Heath leaves increases?
I don't think so. He's making 900k a year right now, and will probably get an extension in the next year. He has some of the best facilities in the country and he finally has a team that he can compete night in and night out in the conference.
I'm sure if a Big 10 job opened up he would take a look at it, but things are pretty good for him right now in Tampa.
How is USF dealing with the ongoing Big East contraction/expansion business? Is it just "hope for the best" out of the Big East at this point?
That's pretty much it. USF is clearly not in any plans for expansion, so we wait and hope that the league isn't depleted any further before the Mount America reinforcements come in 2013. The only chance USF leaves the Big East is either that the Big XII goes to 14 or the ACC goes 16 and blows everything up again.
Prediction for the game? And don't you dare say "pain."
After seeing Syracuse's weaknesses on our Bulls Recon post, I am a little more optimistic than before. USF will slow this thing down to a crawl and will try to work the offense through the high post against the 2-3. I do think Syracuse wins, but don't be surprised if its close for 30-35 minutes.
Head over to Voodoo Five for more on the USF Bulls.