Fresh off their historic win over California in the first round of the NCAA tourney, the USF basketball squad will face Temple in the second round Friday night in Nashville, TN. The Bulls come in as No. 12 seed will face the No. 5 seeded Owls with the winner of this game will take on either Michigan or Ohio University in the round of 32.
The Bull's earned the 12th seed on Wednesday, with a complete thrashing of Cal in the first-round in Dayton. The 65-54 win wasn't an indicator of a game where the Bulls completely owned the Bears, only allowing 13 points in the first half (36-13) and lead by more than twenty points for most of the contest until the starters were pulled at the games end. The win was the first NCAA Tournament win for USF and improved the Bulls remarkable season record to 21-13, including a 12-6 finish in the Big East, which was tied for fourth place in the conference. USF has now made three NCAA appearances, but after first round losses in 1990 and 1992, the win over Cal was their first NCAA tourney Win.
Temple captured the regular-season Atlantic-10 title this year, but in the A-10 Tournament lost to Massachusetts in the quarterfinals, 77-71. With 24 wins on the season, the Owls earned an at-large bid, picking up a five-seed. Temple has been to the NCAA's 29 times and owns a 32-29 tournament record with 2 final four appearances.
This will be the first ever meeting between the two programs, which will be Big East conference foes after next year, but two years for hoops. The Bulls (21-13) are coming of a first round win over California while out of the Atlantic-10 Conference Temple finished 24-7 and had a bye.
USF got here by playing a stingy defense and forcing teams to play their style of ball. Defensively, USF 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. The Bulls win games by turning them into ‘ugly' slugfests, which suits them just fine. USF completely stymied Cal, holding the bears to a meager .362 shooting, including a paltry .214 from three-point range (3-of-14).
On offense the Bulls weren't that efficient towards the latter half of the season, without topping 65 points since Jan. 29 and didn't have a player averaging double-digit production. Augustus Gilchrist led the team with 9.6 ppg. Victor Rudd had 8.7 ppg, Anthony Collins scored 8.5 ppg and Jawanza Poland chipped in 8.5 pts per game.
Against Cal the Bulls found their offensive rhythm, scoring 65 points with the starters pulled at the end. USF shot .571 from the floor overall, including a blistering .667 in the first half. The big stat was that four Bulls finished in double figures, led by forward/guard Victor Rudd Jr.'s 15 points. Freshman Anthony Collins added 12 points, while forward Augustus Gilchrist had 11 points and Jawanza Poland chipped in 10 points.
Temple is a strong offensive squad that is averaging 76.0 ppg, on .476 shooting. Temple is led by their backcourt one-two punch of Ramone Moore and Khalif Wyatt. Moore leads the Owls in scoring with 17.7 ppg., good for second in the A-10. Wyatt comes in averaging 17.1 ppg and ranks third in the Atlantic conference at. Guard Juan Fernandez is also a scoring threat, averaging 11.4 ppg. Down low the Owls are led by Rahir Hollis- Jefferson who averages 9.2 ppg and, 6.5 rpg, and Micheal Eric (9.1 ppg, 8.8 rpg).
Inside the numbers
USF is outscoring opponents 59-57 this season, and are ranked 7th in points allowed in the country. USF holds opponents to 38.8% shooting from the field and 29.7% from 3 point range, both are in the top 14 in the nation. USF shoots 43.6% from the field and 31.6% from 3 point range, while making 70.5% of their free throws. The Bulls average 34.3 rebounds a game with a rebounding margin of +3.7., 5.5 steals, and 3.8 blocks a game. USF forces 11.2 turnovers a game while averaging 13.7 turnovers,
Temple is outscoring opponents 76-70 this season. The Owls shoot 47.2% from the field and 40.2% from 3 point range (No.7 in the nation), and hit 71.8% of their free throws. The Owls average 35 rebounds a game with a rebounding average of +1.1, 7.2 steals and 4.2 blocks a game, and hold opponents to 43.7% shooting from the field and 33.6% from 3 point range. Temple averages 12.5 turnovers while forcing 13.4 turnovers a game.
Senior forward Augustus Gilchrist averages 9.6 points to lead the team, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks a game to lead the team.
Sophomore forward/Guard Victor Rudd, Jr. Averages 8.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.3 assists a game.
Freshman Guard Anthony Collins averages 8.5 points, 2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.7 steals a game, and leads the Bulls in assists and steals.
Jawanza Poland averages 8.5 points and 3.4 rebounds a game.
Toarlyn Fitzpatrick averages 8 points, 6.6 rebounds (leads the team), and 1 block a game led the team with a 41% 3-point shooting.
Senior forward Ron Anderson Jr. has been a force inside averaging 5.5 boards per game while chipping in 7.1 points per contest.
Guard Hugh Robertson is USF's best defensive weapon, averaging 6.7 ppg, 4.3 rebounds, while assigned to harass opponent's top weapons.
Collins is probable with a finger injury and Anderson is probable with a knee injury.
Guard Ramone Moore averages 17.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.1 steals a game, and hits 38.6% from 3 point range.
Guard Khalif Wyatt averages 17.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 2.2 steals a game to lead the team., and hits 38.8% of his three point shots.
Guard Juan Fernandez averages 11.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists to lead the team, and 1 steal a game, while hitting 43.4%of his three pointers.
Forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson averages 9.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.5 steals a game.
Forward Michael Eric averages 9.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2 blocks a game to lead the team in the latter two categories.
USF wants to keep the score low, but Temple would like to see a high scoring game. The Owls would like to see their guards get into a rhythm and turn the pace up, but the Bulls are one of the best defensive teams in the country and will try and slow the game down and control the tempo and if they can do that, keep the score low, force Temple to attempt bad shots, control the boards, hit their shots, they can beat the 5th seeded Owls and advance.