Men's hoops fades again in loss at No. 4 Pitt
Same story on Wednesday night for USF men's basketball, as the Bulls played well enough to be trailing No. 4 Pittsburgh by just two on the road with eight minutes left, only to see the Panthers pull away to a 67-55 victory. USF drops to 0-9 this season against ranked teams, but they'll have two more chances soon with Georgetown on Saturday and another date with Pittsburgh in Tampa in two weeks.
Pittsburgh came in as the top rebounding team in the Big East, and USF mustered only 18 rebounds, getting outboarded 40-18. The Bulls had quiet nights from their top two scorers in Augustus Gilchrist and Jawanza Poland -- Gilchrist had 10 points for his sixth straight game under his scoring average, and Poland was a nonfactor, going scoreless and playing just 10 minutes, his lowest total this season. It will be curious to see if Shaun Noriega, who has played well in leading the Bulls in scoring the last two games, gets a start against the Hoyas.
USF's women's team also lost Wednesday night -- I caught the second half of the Bulls' 80-50 loss to St. John's, where USF was within five points early in the second half but couldn't stay with the Red Storm. USF got 27 points from guard Andrea Smith, but has been sorely lacking a secondary scorer. The Bulls also played without point guard KaNeisha Saunders for the sixth game in a row due to a groin injury. With a 10-16 mark and a 1-11 record in Big East play, USF's run of seven straight postseasons is well out of reach, unlikely as it's been for weeks.
"It's tough to take when you're 10-16, 1-11 in conference. You haven't been there, haven't experienced that," said coach Jose Fernandez, who will continue to give his underclassmen more minutes so as to get the most for next season from his remaining games.