Opponent: South Florida Bulls
Game Location: KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, Ky.
Tip Off: 4:00
Record: 9-5 (0-2)
Head Coach: Stan Heath (6th season)
TV: Big East Network / WHAS-11 with Jim Barbar and Darrin Horn calling the action
Radio: 790 WKRDwith Paul Rogers & Doug Ormay calling the action
Spread: Cards -19
Officials: Mike Roberts, Rob Riley and Wally Rutecki
Projected Starting Line-up’s
C Gorgui Dieng, 6’11”, 235 pounds
PF Montrezl Harrell, 6’8”, 235 pounds
F Wayne Blackshear, 6’5”, 230 pounds
G Russ Smith, 6’0”, 165 pounds
PG Peyton Siva, 6’0”, 185 pounds
F Victor Rudd, 6’9″, 235 pounds
F Toarlyn Fitzpatrick, 6’8″, 243 pounds
G Martino Brock, 6’6″, 205 pounds
G Jawanza Polland, 6’4″, 204 pounds
G Anthony Collins, 6’1″, 175 pounds
This is not your father’s South Florida team. Err, at least they’re not the South Florida team of 11 months ago. You remember that team. They earned a well-deserved reputation for being the single most boring team of all time. They used a slow-paced, incredibly deliberate style to slop up the game and put their opponents into half-court-only situations where fast breaks were a distant afterthought. And it worked, to a certain degree. They beat the Cards in their home finale February 29th, 58-51, and ending up finishing the season 22-14 and even won a pair of NCAA tournament games. But those Bulls have not been able to carry over much momentum to this season. They return just two starters (albeit the a talented duo of Victor Rudd and Anthony Collins) and have already dropped 5 games, including bad losses to Western Michigan and Central Florida. They’ve lost their opening two Big East games as well, with their most recent being a 61-53 loss at home on Wednesday night to Villanova (they got beat by Syracuse at home last Saturday, 55-44).
Head coach Stan Heath will still try to junk up the game and slow down a very efficient Louisville team that simply doesn’t make many mistakes on either end of the court. The Bulls once again suffer from offensive anemia with a combined 97 points in their opening two Big East games and they average just 63 points per game on the season, good for 259th in the nation. Now, on the surface that lack of offensive output could be attributed to their style of play, however, the team also shoots a porous 41% from the field (244th in the nation). And they don’t necessarily share the ball well, either, despite having one of the better point guards (Anthony Collins) in the Big East. They average just 12 assists per game, and nearly 8 of those come from Collins. Rudd leads the team in both scoring and rebounding at 11.5 and 7.4, respectively, and will assert himself in the post early and often. It’ll be interesting to see how South Florida deals with Louisville’s zone down low, as they’re not a great rebounding team and rarely get second-chance opportunities on the offensive glass (35.4 rpg).
Collins is second in the Big East in assists per game (7.5) and rarely makes mistakes with the ball in his hand (his 3.04 assist to turnover ratio is third best in the league). In fact, as a team the Bulls take really good care of the ball, averaging just 10.9 turnovers a game (12th in the nation. With Louisville’s penchant for causing turnovers and playing pressure defense, however, this should be the Bulls’ stiffest test (offensively) to date. And not to be outdone, South Florida is a fine defensive club themselves, holding team’s to just 39% shooting on the season (49th nationally). The Bulls are currently 95th in the RPI and hold a Sagarin rating of 110. KenPom.com ranks them 104th in their overall efficiency ratings. The Cards have won 11 of the last 12 meetings against South Florida, 14 out of the last 16 and hold an all-time series advantage of 25-4.