USF Bull's Basketball Team Report 1/30

South Florida was expected to finish last in the Big East this season, and some questioned whether the team would even win a game in league play. The former appears to be a foregone conclusion, while the latter remains a possibility.

It's a frustrating thought for the Bulls, who have really only been embarrassing in the standings. USF has had multiple opportunities for victories fall agonizingly short.

Last week's loss to Villanova ended with a three-pointer that would have given the team a one-point lead in the final seconds rimming out. It was the fifth time in six Big East games -- all defeats -- that South Florida has lost by six points or fewer.

It was also the second game in a row that USF failed to hold a lead late in the game. The Bulls led Seton Hall by 12 with less than four minutes to play, then fell apart down the stretch. Against No. 6 Villanova, the team was up seven with six minutes to go, and again couldn't secure the victory.

South Florida has played its starters iron-man minutes all season because of injuries and a lack of confidence in the reserves. Perhaps as a result, the Bulls have been wearing down late in games.

But while the Bulls haven't exactly been fatal to anyone's postseason hopes, they've at least proven to be dangerous enough not to take too lightly. Now they're just hoping that one of these days, the horns will strike at the right time and the school can celebrate -- finally -- its first Big East win.

Notes and Quotes:
--South Florida isn't deep enough to be able to afford foul trouble, but that's what the team got against Villanova. Still, it walked the tightrope for most of the game, with nobody fouling out and Solomon Jones and Melvin Buckley playing all 40 minutes despite finishing with four fouls apiece.

--South Florida fans haven't exactly flocked to see the Bulls in action against Big East foes. The home date with Villanova brought 5,463 in announced attendance.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Before I leave I've got to know what it feels like to win a Big East game. I've just got to." -- South Florida guard James Holmes to the Tampa Tribune.

PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- G Collin Dennis, G James Holmes, F Melvin Buckley, F McHugh Mattis, C Solomon Jones. Key Subs -- C Chris Capko, F Melvyn Richardson.


Villanova 49, South Florida 46


at Cincinnati, Tuesday, Jan. 31.

vs. DePaul, Friday, Feb. 3.

vs. Seton Hall, Wednesday, Feb. 8.

at Louisville, Saturday, Feb. 11.

KEYS: This week brings two opportunities for that first Big East win, as both Cincinnati and DePaul are undermanned and familiar foes, since they and South Florida were all members of Conference USA last season. The Bulls just need to play the final five minutes like they've played the first 35 lately, and they'll have a great chance at a victory.


--C Solomon Jones has been a bright spot in a down season for South Florida, and he certainly proved he could play in the Big East with his effort against Villanova. Jones pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds, and added seven points, five blocks, and a career-high five assists.

--G Collin Dennis has had an awful time recovering his shot since returning to the team from his Achilles injury. He went 0-for-13 from the floor against Villanova, and is 5-for-38 for the season.

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