USF Men's Basketball Preview - Houston

USFNation.com previews the American Athletic Conference matchup between the South Florida Bulls (9-5, 0-1) and the Houston Cougars (9-5, 1-0) this afternoon at 4:00.

TAMPA, FL.--After dropping their conference opener to the hands of the 19th ranked Memphis Tigers on New Years Eve, coach Stan Heath and the South Florida Bulls (9-5, 0-1) hope to build off freshman John Egbunu's career night from last time out, which the 6-foot-10 center recorded 20 points, 14 rebounds in the Bulls' loss.

This time out, the Bulls square off against the Houston Cougars (9-5, 1-0) at 4:00 this afternoon inside the beautiful Sun Dome.

For the Cougars, they're fresh off a signature 75-71 New Years Eve victory over the 17th ranked Connecticut Huskies.

A near double-double machine since he's stepped foot on Houston's campus in 2011, 6-foot-8, 215-pound power forward TaShawn Thomas leads the Cougars attack on both ends. On the year, the former 2012 All-Conference USA Defensive Team member is averaging 17.8 points, 9.2 rebounds and a conference leading 3.5 blocks on a blistering 63 percent from the field. Last time out against the Huskies, Thomas led the Cougars with 23 points and eight rebounds. He'll provide a challenge in the paint for the Bulls on both ends on Saturday afternoon.

Anthony Collins (knee) will be held out of action once again for the Bulls, and the Cougars are facing a similar situation for one of their young studs. Danuel House, a 6-foot-7 195-pound sophomore forward, is averaging 15.6 points and 5.7 rebounds on the year, but has missed the past seven games because of a lingering knee issue.

Leading coach James Dickey's backcourt is 6-foot-5 sophomore swingman, Jherrod Stiggers. Stiggers is coming off a 17 point game against Connecticut on New Years Eve, going 3-for-5 from downtown as well. On the year, Stiggers is averaging 10.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 24 minutes per game.

Along with Danuel House, 6-foot-4, 190-pound shooting guard, L.J. Rose, has been absent from the starting lineup the past few games as well, due to a foot injury. When Rose has dressed to contribute for the Cougars in 2013, he's averaged 10.1 points and 5.1 assists on 41 percent shooting from three-point range. It's possible that both starters could be out of the lineup once again on Saturday.

South Florida leads the series 10-9 including a 5-4 advantage in games in Tampa Bay. Tipoff is set for 4:00 this afternoon inside the Sun Dome, and can be seen on CBSSN.


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