Know the opponent: South Florida


Recently, my friend Matt Staton over at The Bull Rush took time to answer a few questions about Sunday’s opponent, the University of South Florida Bulls. We did this once before in football, and we decided to do this again for basketball. Our game preview will be up later.

It’s good to have a contact w/other Big East fans, especially in football… except when it comes to Pitt. When it comes to being around Pitt fans, I lose any civility and what little social tact I have around them. Any other school’s fans, I’ll make conversation with them, etc. After the jump are the few questions Matt answered about The Bulls.

1) Obviously being 7-13 overall (1-6 conference) is not where you want The Bulls to be. Give us a few brief pointers on what YOU would do to climb out of the Big East basement.

USF won 20 games last season all due to super guard Dominique Jones. The 2011 Bulls lack that explosive shooter that can take over a game. I think the Bulls have to dominate inside and run pick and rolls with their shooters, such as Jawanza Poland and Shaun Noriega (when he shows up). The team has talent but hasn’t put it all together yet. They have to focus more inside, use their strength which is their big men in the paint and kick out to the open shooter.

2) Is attendance a problem at USF games in the Sun Dome?
It’s been a problem since day one. The Sun Dome is getting a face lift, but no matter what the team does or how the school promotes, attendance has always been bad. During games with ranked opponents, the Dome becomes a neutral court. The school has not gone out of its way to promote games and try to build a home court feeling either. Basketball just isn’t a big program for USF, which is sad and bad because we are in Big East country these days.

3) What are some of the strengths of the basketball team?
The Bulls have size. Most of our front court is over 6’9″ (Gilchrist, Anderson, Fitzpatrick, and Famous). All of them are very athletic and can battle inside for rebounds and work for their own shot. USF was a guard oriented team, but now Coach Stan Heath has to rely on the big men to carry the load of the offense. Everything goes through, come win or loss.

4) Who can we expect to see in the starting 5 on Sunday?
Heath does make some changes, but I expect to see Hugh Robertson at forward, Jarrid Famous at center, Augustus Gilchrist at forward, Jawanza Poland at guard, and Anthony Crater at point guard. He could put in Burwell, Noriega, Anderson, and Fitzpatrick in the starting line-up if he feels he can find an advantage against the WVU squad.

5) Who’s the go-to guy (or guys) for the Bulls?
Forward Augustus Gilchrist. He is averaging over 12 points per game and had 25 against Louisville. After almost leaving the team, he has turned up his game and has increased his scoring in Big East play. He is 6’10” can play inside and also has 3-point range. He is a matchup nightmare for smaller forwards to guard and he can tower over a guard on the perimeter. He will have to have a big game if the Bulls don’t want to get blown out.