The South Florida Bulls have always known that the odds of competing for titles right away are small. South Florida plays in a decent-sized media market with some good local high-school talent, and the added national exposure will theoretically bring great improvement to the program.
Right now, however, the Bulls are undermanned, and it has shown in the non-conference schedule. They have their share of tough players in guys like Solomon Jones and McHugh Mattis, but other Big East teams have much more.
The big danger right now is the Bulls offense, still under construction. Unless they can build up a bona-fide scoring machine before league play begins, it will be hard for this team to be one of the 12 teams that qualify for the Big East tournament.
Notes and Quotes:
--Dry spells have hurt the Bulls all season, and they killed USF against Michigan. With the score tied at 12 in the first half, the Bulls went nine minutes without scoring, going 0-for-8 from the field with seven turnovers in 15 possessions. During an 18 1/2 -minute span between the first and second halves, South Florida had two baskets and 12 turnovers.
--Coach Robert McCullum has tended to use a short bench, given his team's injury situation, but the 77-52 blowout at Stetson allowed him to use a season-high 10 players. Freshman Zaronn Cann scored the first points of his college career, and fellow frosh Frank Markusovic made on-court debut.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "They showed us what it's going to be like in the Big East, That's not far from the truth. But sometimes it takes a big-time loss to get your head straight and get a team to come together." -- Forward Melvin Buckley, on the loss to Michigan, in the Tampa Tribune.
PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- G Chris Capko, G James Holmes, F Melvin Buckley, F Melvyn Richardson, C Solomon Jones. Key Sub -- G/F McHugh Mattis.
South Florida 77, Stetson 52
Michigan 68, South Florida 47
vs. Florida Atlantic, Thursday, Dec. 15
vs. Iowa State, Thursday, Dec. 22.
vs. Bethune Cookman, Wednesday, Dec. 28
vs. UAB, Friday, Dec. 30 .
KEYS: The offense has been offensive at times for South Florida this season. Guard James Holmes has been very good every night, but everyone else has been hit or miss. Another scoring threat or two will need to emerge during the non-conference slate, because Holmes won't be enough to lead this team to a strong Big East season.
--G Chris Capko may have run the offense against Michigan, but he didn't exactly light up the scoreboard. Not only did Capko not score from the floor against the Wolverines, he didn't even take a shot in 38 minutes.
--C Solomon Jones starred in a homecoming game at Stetson. The senior center, who played at nearby Mount Dora High and Daytona Beach Community College, stomped the hatters with 15 points, eight rebounds and six blocks.