Alabama, which has been encouraging in the early going this year, has a chance to make amends for the 2013 loss to South Florida and to keep the momentum of the pre-SEC schedule when the Crimson Tide hosts the Bulls in Coleman Coliseum Tuesday. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. CST with television coverage on the SEC Network.
It isn’t expected to be a walk in the park for Coach Anthony Grant’s Alabama team. Although Bama is 4-1 and coming off a 76-71 win over Arizona State in the CBE Classic in Kansas City, the Bulls are 5-1 and coming off a 79-65 win over Jacksonville (Fla.). USF also has wins over UAB and its one loss was by 68-65 to Mark Gottfried’s North Carolina State.
The Tide is led by senior guard Levi Randolph, who is averaging 20.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 34.6 minutes per game – all of which lead Alabama. Randolph leads the country in free throw shooting percentage (1.000) and also leads the SEC in scoring average. Junior guard Ricky Tarrant (13.4 ppg), senior guard Rodney Cooper (10.8) and sophomore forward Shannon Hale (10.2 ppg) all average double figures to lead a balanced scoring attack. Sophomore center Jimmie Taylor adds 5.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and a team-high 1.8 blocks per game.
South Florida is under first-year coach Orlando Antigua.
The Bulls returned only three letterwinners from last season’s team – the second-fewest in D-I (Tennessee State has only two). Leading USF is senior guard Corey Allen Jr., who leads the team with 15.8 ppg, including a career-high 29 points vs. the Jacksonville Dolphins. Sophomore forward Chris Perry (13.8 ppg), junior guard Nehemias Morillo (11.5 ppg), and junior guard Anthony Collins (10.3 ppg) all average double digits. Collins also leads the team with 7.3 assists and 2.3 steals per game.