Make us your home page

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 hoping to topple another Big East titan

USF guard Anthony Crater, left, fights for the ball with St. John’s guard Malik Stith at midcourt during the Bulls’ loss Saturday at home — a setback to their NCAA Tournament hopes.


USF guard Anthony Crater, left, fights for the ball with St. John’s guard Malik Stith at midcourt during the Bulls’ loss Saturday at home — a setback to their NCAA Tournament hopes.

TAMPA — As quickly as USF seemed to knock itself off the NCAA bubble with Saturday's home loss to St. John's, the Bulls can jump back into the mix with an upset — however difficult — tonight at No. 7 Villanova.

That upset seems to be a long shot, with the Bulls facing a team that made the Final Four last year and is 26-3 at home in the past two seasons. But USF coach Stan Heath is reminding his players that they've pulled off improbable road wins this season, so nothing is out of the Bulls' reach.

"I looked back on the film from last year, and we played them wire to wire," said Heath, whose team trailed the Wildcats by two with 1:15 to play in a 70-61 home loss. "It was a game in the last three, four minutes, (that) we had a legitimate chance to pull off. They're a good, good team. We're going to prepare as hard as we can to try to steal a win. Hopefully, we can turn it into a Georgetown situation, where we come in as the underdog, we just come together and find a way to win."

The Georgetown game was just three weeks ago — the Bulls knocked off the then-No. 7 Hoyas on the road, putting themselves squarely in the conversation for the school's first NCAA Tournament appearance in 18 years. Since then, they've dropped three of four, leaving the Bulls (16-10, 6-8 Big East) in a four-way tie for ninth place, one loss away from 13th in the conference.

The Big East logjam is the center of the NCAA bubble — just as the Bulls have fallen, Connecticut has won three straight to move back into contention.

Heath said the top of the Big East might not be as dominant as last year, but he's more aware of his conference's depth than ever before.

"That's our league. You look at UConn. You can even say, 'Yeah, boy, looks like South Florida should beat UConn,' " Heath said. "That team is ridiculously loaded. We can't kid ourselves and say, 'Hey, you know what, USF's here (arm held high), they're here (arm low).' We're all in the same boat. It's who comes to play that game, offensively, defensively, who comes together as a team. Whoever does wins."

Greg Auman can be reached at and at (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at and follow him at

USF Bulls hoping to topple another Big East titan 02/23/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 12:32am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over "inappropriate conduct"


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels' overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  2. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater


    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  3. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip


    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

    Steven Souza Jr. #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays holds his leg after hurting himself trying to steal second base in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.
  5. Bucs raise prices for single tickets to marquee games


    The Bucs will have single-game tickets for 2017 home games on sale July 28, with a new wrinkle: the best games will cost more for fans.

    Bucs fans cheer Jameis Winston after a victory in their final home game of the 2016 season. Individual tickets for the Bucs' three most coveted home games (against the Patriots, Bears and Giants) will cost more in 2017.