USF Bull's Basketball Team Report 2/27

This season has been an unmitigated disaster for South Florida, a team that will enter next season still looking for its first Big East win barring a major upset during the season's final week.


The question has been asked in Bulls circles as to what this means about coach Robert McCullum's job status.

McCullum is 27-56 in his three years as coach, with this season by far the worst. Last year's team wasn't great, but beat Cincinnati and Charlotte at least.

Injuries have been a factor, as Chris Howand and Zaronn Cann are out for the year and Collin Dennis missed most of the early season. The team has looked good at times, and had numerous near-upsets early in the Big East season, but now is clearly just waiting for the season to end.

Next season should be critical for McCullum. There are no indications that he'll be fired this offseason, but another year like this one and he'll probably be looking for work a year from now.

Notes and Quotes:
--There was one good piece of news for USF fans following their team's school-record 16th straight loss Sunday -- all of this will be over soon.

The Bulls have two games remaining this season.

Fact is, it will take a massive upset for the Bulls (6-21, 0-14) to not finish the season on the skid. Their next two opponents are Connecticut and Georgetown.

Should they lose those two games, the Bulls will become only the third Big East team to go winless in conference play and the first since Miami, which did it in the 1993-94 season.

Poor shooting and turnovers have been a couple of reasons why the USF Bulls own a 16-game losing streak.

The Bulls committed 12 turnovers in the first half and made only 22.7 percent of their shots in the first frame. How bad were the Bulls?

Rutgers went 8:13 without a basket in the first half but led 30-15 at the break.

Guard James Holmes and forward Melvin Buckley led the Bulls with 14 points apiece but did it on 11-of-29 shooting.

--Freshman forward Frane Markusovic played for only the second time this season and registered two minutes Sunday. The Croatian had two rebounds in two minutes to bring his season total to four minutes.

--Guard Chris Capko played 28 minutes Sunday and made 1-of-3 shots. It was a typical performance for the pass-first guard. In the past 11 games, Capko has played no fewer than 19 minutes per game but has not taken more than four shots.

--Walk-on guard Eddie Lovett scored four points against Rutgers, his first of the season. Before Sunday, Lovett had logged only nine minutes in five games this season. Lovett walked onto the injury-depleted team in November, but could not play until after the first semester.

--South Florida is suffering through the sixth 20-loss season in program history, with the last occurring in 2004-04. It has won 20 or more games only twice.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I didn't think we'd come into the Big East and take it by storm. But I don't know how anyone could have anticipated what we've gone through. This has not been a normal year. This is not the team I anticipated (having) two years ago or what I anticipated happening. I clearly understand people are disappointed. I'm a pretty thick-skinned person, but I'm not naive either." -- South Florida coach Robert McCullum, in the Tampa Tribune.

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

GAME REVIEW:

Providence 77, South Florida 56

Rutgers 62, South Florida 44

GAME PREVIEW:

vs. Connecticut, Wednesday, March 1.

vs. Georgetown, Saturday, March 4.

KEYS: The Bulls will have a tough time winning either of its last two regular-season games. For a victory, the Huskies or Hoyas will need to totally look past USF, and the Bulls will need to respond with their best effort of the season.

ROSTER REPORT:

--G Solomon Jones is limping towards the end of his college career, but only in the literal sense. He's playing the hardest of anyone on the team, but has been limited by a knee injured in practice a week ago, and in addition had to get four stitches in his mouth during halftime of the Providence loss after taking an inadvertent elbow in the mouth.

--C Frane Markusovic got into his first game since Jan. 8, getting two rebounds in his two minutes.



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