First Look: South Florida

Cal's First Four game in Dayton looks to be a low-scoring battle given South Florida's impressive defensive credentials.

South Florida

Last NCAA Tournament Appearance: 1992
2011-12 Record: 20-13, 12-6 Big East
Notable Non-Conference Results: 70-42 loss at Kansas, 69-46 loss at Virginia Commonwealth, 53-51 loss at Southern Mississippi
Notable Conference Results: 75-45 loss at Georgetown, 56-48 loss at Syracuse, 58-51 win at Louisville

Season In Review: One of the benefits of playing in the mighty Big East is that most every loss will end up very favorable on paper and in the RPI. Of South Florida's 13 losses, 10 came to teams that ended up in the NCAA Tournament, which clearly swayed the Selection Committee more than the lone conference win over a team that will go dancing.

There were also disturbing losses to Penn State and Auburn out of conference, besides being shellacked by the Jayhawks and Rams.

How you feel about the Bulls ultimately depends on how you feel about the Big East. If they are the big dog in college basketball, this is a resume worthy of a bid. If not, it smacks of a team simply coasting in on the conference's coattails.

Leading Performers: Augustus Gilchrist (9.6 points per game), Toarlyn Fitzpatrick (6.6 rebounds per game), Anthony Collins (4.5 assists per game)

Scouting Report: Considering the offensive limitations Cal has displayed in its late-season slide, South Florida's own struggles to score represent a welcome draw. The Bulls haven't topped 65 points since Jan. 29 and don't have a player averaging double-digit production.

But defensively, South Florida is among the best teams in the nation, ranking eighth in points allowed (56.9 points per game), 16th in three-point defense and 17th in field goal percentage allowed. Factor in their length, which Colorado and Stanford were able to use so effectively in the final three weeks of the season to disturb Cal's offense, and this looks like another slugfest.

Cal must get production from its front line of Harper Kamp and David Kravish, who combined for 12 points in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals against the Buffaloes, to take pressure off its recently streaky guard play. If not, the Bears will simply have to hope the trio of Allen Crabbe, Jorge Gutierrez, and Justin Cobbs are hot enough to shoot them into the second round.


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