USF men to play in Hall of Fame tournament
USF's men's basketball team is going to the birthplace of basketball in November, as the Bulls will be part of an eight-team field in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tipoff in Springfield, Mass., next season.
The event should provide the Bulls with some of their toughest nonconference competition for the 2011-12 season -- USF will host two games on Nov. 12 and 14 against Vermont and Marist as part of the tournament, then will play in Springfield on Nov. 19-20 against either Old Dominion or Penn State, with a 50-50 chance of playing John Calipari's Kentucky team in the final game of the tournament.
Vermont is 21-5 this season, with an RPI rating of 79; Marist is just 4-24 this season, but Old Dominion is 21-6 (RPI 29) and Penn State is 13-11 (RPI 63). Kentucky is 17-7 (RPI 14) -- if the Bulls were to play the Wildcats, they would do so for the first time in the program's history. The Bulls played ODU 27 times, but none since 1996; they've played Penn State four times, but none since 1991.
As a sneak preview of next year's event, the Bulls were able to practice on a court in the Hall of Fame on Dec. 29 while preparing for a game at Connecticut two days later. The tournament's complete field is expected to be formally announced early next month.