Heath on NCAAs: 'We're going to have to kick the door in'
Needing a signature win in the final weeks of the regular season, USF coach Stan Heath said Thursday his team understands it will take action on their part to convince the NCAA selection committee that the Bulls belong in the NCAA Tournament.
"We just haven't been in the tournament in forever," Heath said. "It's been 20 years, and when you're not maybe a known commodity, one of the teams that's perennially in there. You can't just lightly knock on the door. You've got to kick it in sometimes. That's what we're going to have to do. We're going to have to kick the door in."
USF has three opportunities in the next 10 days against tough Big East competition: at home Sunday against Cincinnati, at Louisville on Wednesday, then a final home game against West Virginia. All three are in the RPI top 50, giving the Bulls a chance to pick up the elite-level wins their resume lacks, despite a 10-5 Big East record.
"One of the wins against the teams we're playing will lift some eyebrows up and give us a little bit more respect," Heath said. "It's hard for me to understand how you can play in this league and not get respect when you beat people. It really is."
Villanova coach Jay Wright, asked about the Bulls, said he has high respect for the team that's beaten his twice this season.
"They are as good as anybody we've played against. Anybody," he said. "And probably the closest to Syracuse in terms of length and defensive prowess, controlling the tempo of the game. Again, we've gotten beaten twice so I'm probably a little skewed in my evaluation. ... The media asked (after the second USF win) if you think they can play in the NCAA Tournament. I think they can win in the NCAA Tournament. I think they're an outstanding team."