Bulls could be tough call for NCAA committee

After losing in overtime to ranked Notre Dame 57-53 during the Big East Tourney, USF has a 20-13 record, and now has to wait to see if that is enough to gain an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament. Will the NCAA selection committee reward the Bulls for their good RPI and give them their first ticket to the big dance in 20 years? Or will the Bulls' be consigned to the NIT?

Now the wait begins for South Florida.

South Florida lost to Notre Dame 57-53 in overtime in the quarterfinals of the Big East Conference Tournament on Thursday. That left South Florida with a 20-13 record, and the Bulls will have to wait to see if that is enough to gain an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament's 68-team field.

South Florida was ranked No. 40 in the RPI going into the game and was 27th in strength of schedule. On the other hand, the Bulls are also just 1-9 against teams in the top 50 of the RPI, its lone win coming on the road against Louisville.

Thus, South Florida presents an interesting conundrum for the NCAA selection committee. Will it put more weight on South Florida's good standing in the RPI and award the Bulls their first ticket to the big dance since 1992? Or will the Bulls' poor record against top competition consign them to the NIT?

Rudd coming on strong at end of season

--Sophomore F Victor Rudd looks as if he is ready to be a factor in the postseason for South Florida, regardless of whether the Bulls wind up in the NCAA Tournament or the NIT. Rudd scored 16 points in a 57-53 loss to Notre Dame in overtime in the quarterfinals of the Big East Conference tournament on Thursday. That came after Rudd scored 13 points in South Florida's victory over Villanova in the second round a night earlier. Rudd failed to score in double figures in any of South Florida last four regular-season games, averaging just 3.5 points a game.

--Senior F Augustus Gilchrist scored eight points against Notre Dame and has failed to reach double figures in the last nine games. Gilcrhist still leads the team in scoring with a 9.6 point a game average; South Florida is trying to become an NCAA Tournament team without having a double-figure scorer.

BY THE NUMBERS: 57.2 -- The number of points a game allowed by South Florida as it led the Big East in scoring defense and finished eighth in the country.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I still have a chip on my shoulder because I don't think we get respect. We've done a lot in this league. We have to continue to earn respect." -- South Florida coach Stan Heath as his team heads into the Big East tournament, as quoted in the Tampa Tribune.

Awaiting postseason bid.

STAR WATCH: Freshman G Anthony Collins continues to emerge as South Florida's leader. He had 13 points and seven assists in the loss to Notre Dame, and in his last eight games Collins has averaged 13.4 points and 5.8 assists to raise his season averages to 8.5 and 5.3.

FUTURES MARKET: South Florida's run in the Big East and the fact that true freshman Anthony Collins could play a key role as a starter should really help coach Stan Heath in recruiting freshmen rather than relying on transfers. Recruiting there is a tough sell, going against Florida, Florida State and Miami without the basketball tradition but seeing that they can make an impact is important.

--Freshman G Anthony Collins scored a game-high 17 points in the 56-47 victory over Villanova in a Big East Conference tournament second-round game Wednesday, two days after being selected to Big East All-Rookie team. Collins has scored in double figures in six of his last seven games after doing so just five times in his first 20 games. Collins is averaging 13.4 points a game during that span to raise his season average to 8.3.

--Sophomore F Victor Rudd scored 13 points in 24 minutes Wednesday. He had scored a combined 14 points in his previous four games.

Click here for more info or to share your thoughts with other USF fans and get the inside scoop!

Bulls Daily Top Stories