Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF Bulls basketball team hopes first Big East win can kick-start season

TAMPA — The USF men's basketball team isn't likely to match last year's 9-9 Big East record, but at 1-5 in league play, the Bulls have the same conference record they did after six games in 2009-10.

The catalyst for USF's strong finish last season was an overtime win at Providence, sparking a four-game winning streak, and coach Stan Heath is hopeful that Sunday's win against the Friars can give his team some momentum during perhaps the easiest stretch of USF's Big East schedule.

"Hopefully we can have that kind of run again," Heath said Tuesday. "It's important we take it one game at a time. The guys can draw from the past and say to themselves, 'Hey, we've been here before. We've still got an opportunity,' and seize the moment as best we can."

Three of the next four are on the road, and USF has yet to win a road game, but the opponents could help that change. Sunday's game at No. 21 West Virginia won't be easy, but the other three teams (Rutgers, DePaul, Providence) are a combined 1-15 in conference play.

Rutgers, whose only league win is against the Friars, has a first-year coach in Mike Rice, but Heath said there's a familiarity because of his background as a Pittsburgh assistant.

"When you're in league play, you kind of know each other inside and out," Heath said. "When there's a new coach, obviously they have a different style. With Mike, you can see the similarities with Pittsburgh, see their defensive strategies are very similar to what Pittsburgh does. You get a little more of a feel than if someone was completely brand new to the league."

BIG HAUL: No football player took home more honors at Saturday's postseason banquet than sophomore LB Armando Sanchez, a Northeast graduate. He earned the Iron Bull (MVP) award for USF's special-teams unit, earned the scout team player of the year honor, as well as the team's scholar athlete award after earning a 4.0 grade-point average in the fall semester. Seven other Bulls had a 3.5 GPA or better in the fall, including K Maikon Bonani, G Chaz Hine and WR Evan Landi with a 3.75 each.

THIS AND THAT: All three of the Bulls' senior guards last year are playing professionally: Dominique Jones with the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, PG Chris Howard in Ukraine and G Mike Mercer in Canada for the Halifax Rainmen of the Premier Basketball League. Mercer is averaging 17 points in his first four games. … One sign that Skip Holtz had an inexperienced team in his first season: Of the 62 players who earned letters in 2010, 45 did so for just the first or second time at USF. … Softball is scheduled to open its new stadium Feb. 10, but the Bulls have contingency plans in place. If construction isn't completed, USF would host its early tournaments at the Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater. … The baseball team opens practice Jan. 27, and with the stadium still being completed, the Bulls are expected to practice at the Yankees' complex.

Greg Auman can be reached at auman@sptimes.com and at (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at tampabay.com/blogs/bulls and follow him at Twitter.com/gregauman.

USF Bulls basketball team hopes first Big East win can kick-start season 01/18/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 7:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning shifts search for defense to free agency

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — As much as he tried, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman left the weekend's draft without acquiring another top-four defenseman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101
  2. Lightning journal: Russian forwards top Day 2 draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — After taking a big, right-shot defenseman in the first round, the Lightning's second day of the draft was headlined by a few skilled Russian forwards.

    Canadiens rookie defenceman Mikhail Sergachev with Brian and Michelle Reid, the billet family he lived with while playing for the OHL's Windsor Spitfires last season. COURTESY OF BRIAN AND MICHELLE REID
  3. The people you meet along O.J. Howard Lane

    Bucs

    OJ Howard (far right) is seen in a photo from his adolescent years at Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church in Prattville, Ala., on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Howard served as an usher in addition to attending regular services at this church.
  4. Lightning opens day two of draft by taking Russian forwards

    Blogs

    After taking a big, right-shot defenseman in the first round, the Lightning's second day of the NHL Draft was headlined by a couple skilled Russian forwards.