This will be the first match up between the two schools since South Florida began Big East play and only the third match all-time. The Bulls actually have a 2-0 record vs. PITT, their last win coming in the 01'-02' season.
The Bulls will again have a short bench for this game, as injuries have plagued much of the team. Senior point guard Chris Capko will miss his sixth game while he nurses an ankle injury and Aris Williams is out with an injured right knee. These injuries are proving problematic for Head Coach Robert McCullum, who must find a way to compete with the nations best.
PITT is coming off a very strong win on the road against Syracuse, who was last year's Big East Tournament Champion. The Panthers are hoping to start off 2-0 in conference play, while South Florida is looking for, realistically, their first major upset.
PITT is arguably one of the strongest teams in the nation and is looking like a sure-fire Sweet 16 candidate. PITT's center Aaron Gray and guard Levance Fields are definitely the players to watch on this very talented PITT team. Fields, only a sophomore leads the team in three pointers, assists and steals. He plays with sound technique and excellent ball control to lead this potent PITT offense. Gray is the Big East's rebounds leader with and average of 10.7 per game. Gray also is tied for the lead in offensive rebounds with 52. He really is the backbone of this team and if the Bulls can find a way to shut him down, they could give PITT a run for their money.
For the Bulls to beat PITT, they must stay in the game early and get a rhythm going on offense. If South Florida wants to stay in this game, they have got to limit their turnovers and play smart basketball. The best way to overcome a high powered offense like PITT, is to keep the ball out of their hands. The Bulls should target PITT's center Aaron Gray, getting him into foul trouble early in the game. This will open up the paint for McHugh Mattis and his drives to the basket. Also, look for Melvin Buckley to utilize his screens on the perimeter and hit some big jump shots. Kentrell Gransberry needs to have a big game, especially in the rebounding category if South Florida wants the upset.
USFNation.com - Get it First, Get it Fast!