The upcoming campaign will mark USF's second in the BIG EAST Conference, a league that sent 12 programs to the postseason a year ago. Half (15 of 30) of the Bulls' scheduled regular season contests will feature matchups against programs that advanced to either the NCAA Tournament or National Invitation Tournament in 2005-06.
"The schedule overall is going to be extremely challenging once again," McCullum said. "The non-conference portion is one that is very good for this program and was put together with the team in mind. As a USF fan, it's hard not to get excited about the BIG EAST season and the opponents it brings."
USF's exhibition schedule consists of a Nov. 6 matchup with Saint Leo. The team will also participate in a closed scrimmage with another collegiate program in an effort to prepare for the regular season.
The Bulls begin the regular season with a five-game homestand, keeping the squad in Tampa for nearly the entire first month of the campaign. USF opens against Buffalo (Nov. 13) and will also host South Carolina St. (Nov. 17), FIU (Nov. 21), Stetson (Nov. 27) and Richmond (Dec. 5).
The non-conference schedule continues at Winston-Salem State (Dec. 7) in the squad's first road action of the year and continues two days later at familiar foe East Carolina (Dec. 9).
USF next heads to Las Vegas for tournament action at the Duel In The Desert (Dec. 17-19). The team will face Norfolk State, TAMU-Corpus Christi and UNLV on successive nights at the event, which is hosted by the Running Rebels. Basketball Travelers, Inc. is the tourney sponsor and also the organization that coordinated the program's recent European tour in Italy.
The holiday season doesn't bring much of a break for USF, which must face three-straight non-league opponents that advanced to the postseason a year ago. NIT participant Missouri State visits Tampa on Dec. 22 and the Bulls head to UAB (NCAA) on Dec. 27. Wake Forest comes to town on Dec. 29 following its NIT season for a game at the St. Pete Times Forum, the host of the 2007 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.
The Bulls will wrap up non-conference action against Bethune-Cookman on Dec. 31 for a special matinee on New Year's Eve.
"The purpose of the non-conference games is to prepare the players for the battles in the BIG EAST," McCullum said. "We have some early road trips and that will help the newcomers and transfers get acclimated to the challenges they will face as the season progresses. Building up some confidence and experience gained by the younger players will be key."
USF's opening week in the BIG EAST Conference includes trips to league heavyweights Connecticut (Jan. 2) and Pittsburgh (Jan. 7). The home portion of the conference schedule opens Jan. 10 versus Louisville, which begins a stretch that sees the team play five of its next seven contests at the Sun Dome.
Other home opponents include Cincinnati (Jan. 14), Rutgers (Jan. 24), Marquette (Jan. 28), Syracuse (Feb. 14), DePaul (Feb. 17) and Providence (Feb. 28).
Bulls Announce 2006-07 Schedule
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