Cuse Country

Home Away From Dome for Syracuse Orange Fans

Da Bulls

Posted by Josh on February 13, 2007

If you’re like me, you’ve never seen a Syracuse-South Florida game live (even on TV). We beat them last year by 6 in the Big East season opener, but it was an ugly game (38 combined turnovers, generally poor shooting from everywhere). Honestly, I remember nothing about the game, or the opponent. So if you are like me, you are thinking: Who are these guys?

USF is 3-8 this year in the Big East — that is, 3 games worse than SU. Two of their wins were against Cincinnati and Rutgers (both won handily, at home, whereas SU squeaked out wins vs. those teams on the road). But their third win was a home win against Notre Dame, four days after the Irish pasted SU at the Dome. They also nearly beat Marquette in the game before that one, losing by 2 at home when, on their last possession, they had a pass picked off and turned into a layup by Marquette at the buzzer. Since the ND win, they’ve lost twice, at MSG by 4 and at Louisville by 20.

Who are these guys? USF has had ten different players start games this year, eight of them having started at least 6 games. Only two players have started every game; only three players have even played in every game. All ten guys average at least 14 minutes a game (if they get in).

They have 4 players who average double-figure scoring, topped by Buckley at 15.7 ppg (a forward who is their best 3-point shooter) and Gransberry at 14.3 ppg (the center, who also grabs 10.8 rebounds per game). They have a new point guard, Howard, who averages 7 ppg and 6 apg (he has only been in their last nine games though; I don’t know why he missed the first half of the season). Even with 4 guys in double figures, they are last in the Big East in points per game. They only shoot 42% as a team, including 33% from 3-point range (though they do not take a high number of threes). When they win, they do it with defense. They held ND to 63 points on 38% shooting from the floor (32% from 3), and outrebounded them by 10. We gave up 61 to ND in the first half.

The moral is that USF is not a complete pushover, especially at home. This has all the makings of a “trap game”. SU may be looking ahead to the UConn-Providence-Georgetown-Nova sequence that ends the season and will ultimately determine their postseason fate; USF is battling to get out of the Bottom 4 of the conference and earn a trip to NYC; USF has improved during the season while SU has been more or less stagnant; they are an aggressive team with little to lose and everything to gain; the SU offense has been the team’s weakness, while USF’s defense is their strength; the Levance Fields Factor on this team has a very high potential energy state; plus, who knows what sort of travel complications SU will get from the current weather patterns in the Northeast. They could be a tired bunch by the time they get to Tampa. I will get to watch this game on TV (thanks MASN) but my hunch is that it will be through cracked fingers again.

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2 Responses to “Da Bulls”

  1. syracusan said

    I think it might be a stretch to say SU still qualifies for “trap” games. Are you sure this isn’t a trap game for USF? 😉

  2. […] by Tim on February 14th, 2007 Josh’s excellent analysis of the South Florida Bulls got me thinking about the consequences of a loss tomorrow night. They aren’t pretty. […]

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