USF - Ohio Preview: Bulls versus Bobcats

USF faces Ohio in the 3rd round of 32 and we have the nitty gritty on the Bulls/Bobcats match-up. Defense is such a part of the Bulls' identity,

USF versus Ohio

 

Continuing their impressive run in the NCAA tourney, the USF basketball squad will face Ohio in the third round of 32 at 7:10 P.M. tonigh night in Nashville, TN.

Both teams enter the Midwest Region matchup after upsetting higher seeded teams on Friday. The 12th-seeded Bulls shook off a frigid first half, upsetting fifth-seeded Temple 58-44 Friday night in the Midwest Regional, while the Bobcats got to the third round by upsetting fourth-seeded Michigan Friday 65-60.

In the win over Temple, the Bulls bounced back from a 15-point first half, where they shot 11.1 % on 3 of 27 shooting to score 43 in the second on 14 of 23 shooting, including 6 of 8 from beyond the arc in the second half. Anthony Collins and Victor Rudd Jr. scored 17 points each in the win over Temple. The win was the second NCAA Tournament win for USF and improved the Bulls remarkable season record to 22-13. 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.

In the victory over Michigan Friday Ohio led for most of the game and never trailed in the second half while withstanding a late Michigan rally to win by five.  Junior guard D.J. Cooper scored a game-high 21 points to lead Ohio and three other Bobcats finished in double figures. The Bobcats win over Michigan marked the second time in the last three years they've advanced to the round of 32.

This will be the second meeting between the two schools in their programs history, with Ohio winning the only meeting 73-63 in 1974.

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 (56.4 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). USF held Temple to just 19 first half points, in their 58-44 win and held the Owls to a season-low 35.7 percent (15 of 42) for the game. USF held its 12th-straight opponent to 60 points or les

On offense the Bulls weren't that efficient towards the latter half of the season, without one player averaging double-digit production, but are finding their mark in the Tourney. Against Cal the Bulls scored 65 points with the starters pulled at the end had four that Bulls finished in double figures, led by F/G Victor Rudd Jr.'s 15 points. Freshman PG Anthony Collins 12 points, F Augustus Gilchrist 11 points and G Jawanza Poland chipped in 10 points.  In the win over Temple Anthony Collins and Victor Rudd Jr. scored 17 points each and F Toarlyn Fitzpatrick added 9.

Ohio (28-7) finished the regular season 24-7 and won the Mid- American Conference title, their sixth since 1983. This is the 13th appearance in the NCAA Tourney for the Bobcats, who have a 6-13 all-time record (lost a Regional Third Place Game in 1960). This is their second trip to the tournament under Head Coach John Groce.

The Bobcats are fourth in the nation in steals per contest (9.4), fifth in the nation in turnover margin (+4.4), ranking No. 1 in the nation in turnover percentage according to KenPom's national standings (27.4%), and rank 13th nationally in guarding the perimeter (29.6%).

Offensively Ohio is averaging 70.6 ppg, on .431 shooting. The Bobcats are led by guard D.J Cooper, who leads the team in scoring with 14.7 ppg and in assists, 5.7 apg and forward Walter Offutt, who averages 11.7 points, and  Ivo Baltic who scored 9.1 PPG, and 5.1 rebounds.

 

OHIO VS. USF

TALE OF THE TAPE

 

USF Bulls

OFFENSE

Ohio Bobcats

59.4

POINTS PER GAME

70.6

56.4

OPP. POINTS PER GAME

62.3

.437

FIELD GOAL %

.431

.386

OPP. FIELD GOAL %

.412

.322

3-POINT FIELD GOAL %

.339

.292

OPP. 3-POINT FIELD GOAL %

.297

.704

FREE THROW %

.686

+3.8

REBOUNDS

+0.1

13.6

TURNOVERS

13.1

-2.5

TURNOVER MARGIN

+4.4

5.6

STEALS

9.3

3.7

BLOCKS

2.9

Inside the numbers

USF is outscoring opponents 59-56 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 32.2% 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 +3.8., 5.6 steals, and 3.7 blocks a game. USF forces 11.1 turnovers a game while averaging 13.6 turnovers,

 

Ohio is outscoring opponents 70-62 this season. The Bobcats shoot 43.1% from the field and 33.9% from 3 point range and hit 68.8% of their free throws. Ohio averages 35.5 rebounds a game with a rebounding margin of +.1, and 2.9 blocks per game. The Bobcats are fourth in the nation in steals per contest (9.4), fifth in the nation in turnover margin (+4.4) and rank 13th nationally in guarding the perimeter (29.6%)

The Players

USF

Senior forward Augustus Gilchrist averages 9.4 points to lead the team, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks a game to lead the team.

Sophomore forward/Guard Victor Rudd, Jr. Averages 9.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.3 assists a game.

Freshman Guard Anthony Collins averages 8.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.7 steals a game, and leads the Bulls in assists and steals.

Guard Jawanza Poland averages 8.2 points and 3.3 rebounds a game.

Forward Toarlyn Fitzpatrick averages 8 points, 6.4 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 6.9 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.

Ohio

Guard D.J. Cooper (5'11), who was named to the All-MAC First Team for the second year in a row leads the team in scoring with 14.7 ppg and in assists with 5.7, while averaging 2.4 steals per game, good for 12th nationally.

Guard Walter Offutt averages 11.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists.  The redshirt junior finished among the top 10 in the MAC in steals and top 15 in scoring.

Guard Nick Kellogg averages 8.8 points per game and hit 42.1 percent of his 3-pointers. He has 79 makes beyond the arc this year.

Forward Ivo Baltic (6'8) scores 9.1 PPG, has a 48.2 field goal percentage, while averaging 5.1 rebounds per game.

Forward Jon Smith (6-7) averages 3.7 points per game and 4.6 rebounds but is a force inside and leads a team-high 44 blocks., averaging 1.2 per game.

Forward Reggie Keely (6.8) averages 9.3 points and 5.0 rebounds

Prediction:

The Bobcats love an up-tempo pace and average 70.7 points per game. But the Bulls love to –play defense and take pride in it. The Bulls like to slow it down and play their brand of defense, which ranks seventh nationally, while holding teams to 56.9 points per game. Ohio would like to 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 Ohio to attempt bad shots, control the boards (they've outrebounded opponents 17 of the past 20 games), hit their shots, and let their defense be a factor, then that will give the Bulls the edge in this one and advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

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