In an era when universities are looking to save money in their athletic departments, one way South Florida might consider cutting costs is by canceling travel for its men's basketball team.
South Florida's road woes continued Feb. 2, when it lost at Providence 68-63. The Bulls fell to 8-15 overall, 2-8 in the Big East. More important, they slipped to 0-10 in road games this season.
"If you're going to be a good team and a winning program, then you've got to find a way to win some road games," South Florida coach Stan Heath said. "It's hard to win on the road, but you've got to sneak out some wins here and there."
South Florida hasn't been getting blown out on the road. All of the losses have been by 10 points or fewer, and the average margin of defeat is 7.2 points. Yet the Bulls keep finding ways to lose as they did Feb. 2, when they allowed Providence (14-9, 3-7) to snap a 58-58 tie by going on a game-ending 10-5 run in the final three minutes.
South Florida returns to friendlier confines of the Sun Dome on Feb. 5, but it won't face an easy task as it hosts No. 17 Syracuse (19-4, 6-4).
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE: Turnovers continue to plague South Florida, as it had 16 on Feb. 2 that led to 20 Providence points. Conversely, the Friars turned the ball over 10 times. The Bulls were averaging 15.9 turnovers a game while forcing just 12.3.
--USF Coach Stan Heath has won his last five meetings against DePaul.
--South Florida has been scorching at the free-throw line. The Bulls hit 105 of their last 129 free throws through Jan. 29, which is better than 81 percent.
--The Bulls outrebounded 19 of 22 opponents through Jan. 29, led by Fs Augustus Gilchrist and Ron Anderson Jr., who were averaging 6.7 and 7.1 per game, respectively.
BY THE NUMBERS: 20 -- The number of consecutive free throws hit by G Jawanza Poland before missing against DePaul.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We finally won that (turnover battle). That was a big difference for us." -- USF Coach Stan Heath after his Bulls, who ranked last in the Big East in assist-to-turnover ratio, won the turnover battle against DePaul.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--vs. Syracuse, Feb. 5
KEY MATCHUPS: Syracuse has fallen apart after looking like a contender for the national title, losing four in a row while giving up 74 or more points in each game. The Orange defense had been impeccable until then, holding four consecutive opponents to fewer than 60 points. If Providence can flash people into the center of the Syracuse 2-3 zone the Friars could inflict real damage. F Marshon Brooks, the league's second leading scorer, could really harm Syracuse in this one.
FUTURES MARKET: It's not how you start but how you finish and it appears that Coach Stan Heath is putting the pieces to this team together as it enters into the heart of conference play. Possessing a strong inside game with good rebounding, Heath had to discover some offense and the play he is getting from point guard Anthony Crater now has things running smoothly as he gets everyone involved in the offense. Crater is averaging almost five assists per game and is now involving everyone in the offense.
--Senior F Jerrid Famous did not make the trip to Providence because of lower back stiffness, as the South Florida training staff felt he might aggravate the injury on the flight. Famous is expected to be available Feb. 5 against Syracuse. He was averaging 8.8 points and 5.8 rebounds in 21.0 minutes a game.
--Sophomore G Jawanza Poland scored a career-high 20 points on 8-of-17 shooting in 34 minutes Feb. 2. The sophomore's previous best was 19 points against James Madison on Dec. 18.
--Sophomore F Toarlyn Fitzpatrick tied his career high with 13 points as he made five of six shots in 23 minutes off the bench at Providence. He had scored 13 points twice previously, against Georgia Southern on Nov. 21 and against Notre Dame last season.