Adversity. That’s one word to describe what South Florida (8-21, 2-14) has faced down the stretch and entering the final two home games of the regular season. A sure testament to how they overcome this adversity will be how they perform in their matchup against in state rival UCF (12-16, 5-12) on Wednesday night.
As a result of the mid-season injury to forward Chris Perry and the sudden suspension of leading scorer Corey Allen Jr., the Bulls find themselves as the youngest team in the entire nation in terms of experience with Anthony Collins as the only player on the roster with prior division one experience this season. The absence of Allen, who led the Bulls in scoring this season, was felt immediately when the Bulls were outpaced in a 72-55 loss at Houston on Sunday. Now, USF must continue to rely on the freshman contributions of starters such as Troy Holston Jr., Bo Zeigler, and Ruben Guerrero to gain a burst of late season momentum with a victory over UCF. “Every game is big, but this is the next opportunity for us to win and it just happens to be against Central Florida,” Coach Orlando Antigua said when speaking to the media on Tuesday. “We certainly want to get that taste of winning at home again and this will be another great opportunity for us especially considering Corey not being available.”
The Knights are entering the contest looking to break their own three game skid, with double digit losses to Memphis, Cincinnati, and East Carolina. Playing in their final game of the regular season before the AAC tournament, UCF coach Donnie Jones and company would love nothing more than to close out the regular season with a victory over their I-4 rivals. A key to the game will be starting forward Kasey Wilson, who put up 18 points and 11 rebounds off the bench when the two squads previously met on February 11th in a 73-62 UCF victory.
The game will be broadcast at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU. Jim Lighthall and Todd Kalas will have the radio call on 1010 AM. The first 1,000 fans will receive a USF jersey backpack.