As as result of its 84-65 embarrassment of No. 13 Ohio State on Sunday, USF's bracketology isn't looking so bleak today.
ESPN's Charlie Creme, arguably the nation's most esteemed women's bracketologist, has moved the Bulls up one seed — to No. 6 — in his latest NCAA Tournament projections. Creme has USF in the Albany, N.Y., region, opening against Florida Gulf Coast (or the Atlantic Sun champ if FGCU is upset in the conference tourney).
USF (20-5) also re-entered the Associated Press top 25 — at No. 22 — Monday afternoon following a six-week absence.
Individually, the post-OSU accolades already have started pouring in for Bulls junior Kitija Laksa, who has been named ESPNW's Player of the Week following her career-best 41-point performance against the Buckeyes.
Laksa, who scored 25 points against East Carolina four nights before, also was named American Athletic Conference Player of the Week.
Her 41 points tied the conference's single-game scoring record. Mired in a mini-slump entering the week, she finished a combined 25-of-44 (56.8 percent) from the floor in the wins against ECU and the Buckeyes.
In Creme's bracket, USF still likely would face reigning national champ South Carolina in the second round. A No. 5 seed would virtually guarantee a more favorable second-round matchup, but the Bulls never have been seeded higher than sixth in the NCAA Tournament.
Any chance at reaching a five-seed hinges on USF — solid in the RPI at No. 27 — winning its last four regular season games before its Feb. 26 trip to Connecticut, then reaching the AAC Tournament title game.