USF men, women learn NIT pairings tonight
The NCAA Tournament's selection show is at 6 tonight, and some time after that, USF should find out when and where it's men's and women's basketball teams are playing in the postseason NIT fields.
Will the men's team host a first-round game? The folks at NITology.com haven't updated their site since Friday -- not sure this is the best weekend for a site like that to take off -- but they had USF as a No. 2 seed in their most recent projection. The Bracket Project has USF as a No. 4 seed, hosting Tulsa, with a potential second-round meeting with another bubble team that just beat Florida, Mississippi State. I'll be interested to see how far Miami moves up in that field with their strong showing in the ACC Tournament.
Collegehoopsnet.com has USF as a No. 3 -- could be against the Hurricanes, and wild to think about a team like North Carolina coming to Tampa to play the Bulls in a postseason game.
Will USF's women make the NIT cut? Coach Jose Fernandez said that as defending champions, it'd be hard to leave them out, but with a 15-15 record, USF likely has four Big East teams with better overall records ahead of them in the field. With the field expanding from 48 to 64 teams this year, you'd think the Bulls make it in, though likely on the road from the start.
The Women't NIT won't likely have as much a Florida presence -- FSU will make the NCAA field, and Florida, Central Florida, Florida Atlantic and Florida International all had losing records this year. That leaves Miami (17-13) and Florida Gulf Coast (24-6) as the most likely opening-round hosts for the Bulls.
-- Speaking of women's basketball, USF signee Andrea Smith is a finalist for junior college All-America honors.
-- USF baseball continues to struggle, unbelievably 3-12 after a second loss Saturday to Eastern Illinois, which started the day 1-9. For comparison, last year's Bulls -- who weren't good enough to make the NCAA regionals -- took their 12th loss on April 15, dropping to 22-12. So USF would have to win 19 straight just to get back to last year's pace. Looks as though the Bulls' only chances to make the NCAAs will be by pulling off a wild run in the Big East tournament in Clearwater.
-- USF softball, meanwhile, is a game behind last year's start at 11-8, and the Bulls went on to finish 34-22 last season. The Bulls have split four games this weekend, most recently rallying for a 7-4 win against James Madison with six runs in the bottom of the sixth.
-- More NFL pundits easing back on Jason Pierre-Paul in their mock drafts -- SI.com's Don Banks, who jumped him up to No. 3 and the Bucs in his last model, now has him No. 16 to the Titans. This week's Sporting News goes has an unnamed NFL college scouting director name Pierre-Paul among "the five biggest risers/fallers on our board." "It's all about potential with him right now, and he needs to show more than potential," he writes, adding that Pierre-Paul has dropped to the second round on his board.
-- Just to update Saturday's post, USF signee Jamius Gunsby and his LaGrange (Ga.) took their first loss of the season in the state championship game.
-- Interesting comments from West Virginia coach Bill Stewart, which ESPN.com's Brian Bennett picked up on. Stewart might as well be a cornerback, given the significant backpedaling he's done this weekend.