Notes: USF women have key test vs. Rutgers
It's been overshadowed by the USF men's basketball team's four-game winning streak, but USF's women's team is making a strong move of its own, winning four of five games to get back to .500 in Big East play headng into today's 2 p.m. home game against Rutgers.
The Bulls got perhaps their biggest regular-season win last year at Rutgers, and a win today would easily be the highest RPI opponent USF has beaten. Despite a 12-10 record, the Scarlet Knights have an RPI of 20, thanks to the toughest schedule in the nation -- seven of the 10 losses have come against teams in the RPI top 15, including Connecticut (1), Stanford (2), Tennessee (3) and Notre Dame (5). Rutgers also has five wins against top-50 RPI teams.
That's what USF needs today -- a quality win to help the Bulls' NCAA resume, so as to avoid going to the Women's NIT for the sixth time in seven seasons. The highest RPI opponent to lose to USF so far is No. 86 Syracuse, but the Bulls have plenty of chances to improve that -- five of the final eight games are against teams currently in the RPI top 40.
-- USF football players Lindsey Lamar and Derrick Hopkins, running for the Bulls indoor track team at Penn State on Friday, took fourth and sixth in the 60 meters, finishing behind three sprinters from Auburn. Lamar's time of 6.79 seconds is short of an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 6.60, but he and Hopkins (6.89 seconds) will have another chance in the indoor season before moving to the 100 meters for outdoor season. The Big East indoor championships are Feb. 20-21 in New York, with the NCAA indoors March 12-13 at Arkansas.
-- Since we're already talking track, USF's cross-country program has signed Connor Bauer of Sebring, according to NewsSun.com.
-- More national praise for USF's men's basketball team -- Foxsports.com's Jeff Goodman writes about the Bulls, and ESPN.com's "Bracketology" expert Joe Lunardi says that USF is now "right on the edge of making the tournament at 5-5 in the Big East."
-- Collegehoopsjournal.com writes that Dominique Jones could be Big East Player of the Year. And The Dagger, a college basketball blog at Yahoo!, looks at how Stan Heath has brought together his team.
-- Interesting piece at Dimemag.com, where Stan Heath basically makes his recruiting pitch to readers.
-- Remember Iowa State's Chris Ash, whose name came up during USF's search for a defensive coordinator last spring? Ash, who said he had an offer to join Jim Leavitt's defensive staff (with some level of coordinator role), stayed at Iowa State but is now taking the defensive backs job at Wisconsin.