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Big questions loom for basketball team

Published Oct. 10, 2005

For basketball coach Bobby Paschal, questions abound _ and they seem to have the hang time of Michael Jordan:

Will Radenko Dobras, the Bulls' leading scorer, be able to play Thursday against visiting Louisville?

"We're hopeful, but the way it's going, it could be a questionable thing throughout the year," Paschal said of his injured guard, who missed his fourth game when he didn't make the trip to Southern Mississippi on Saturday.

"I didn't reinjure it, but it never healed and going on it makes it sorer," Dobras said. "It's pretty frustrating not knowing when you'll be able to go for real."

Even if Dobras can play, do the Bulls still believe they can beat the nation's elite after losing for the sixth time in the past eight games?

"We showed in the Tulane game, when everyone's there, we're right there," said Paschal, referring to Thursday's 78-70 overtime loss. "We've got some other very solid players. This is a veteran group.

"But obviously for us to have a legitimate chance, we need Radenko back."

Hot tickets: About 30 students camped out overnight Sunday outside the athletic office to be the first in line for blocks of tickets for the Louisville game. A first. If the game sells out, and marketing director Ron Macosko said about 1,000 tickets remain, it would be the third of the year.

In the Sun Dome's previous 11 years, only three basketball games had sold out.

A return engagement? Athletic director Paul Griffin made his pitch Friday in Kansas City for USF to be awarded the 1992 and 1993 NCAA Division I men's soccer final four. USF played host to the event the past two years.

"I feel comfortable and confident," Griffin said.

Jim Dyer, the chairman of Division I men's soccer, said Davidson (outside of Charlotte) and Richmond are the only other bidding venues, and Richmond is only seeking the event for 1994.

Dyer said a decision will be made this week after "weighing the options and the strengths" of each.

But attendance appears to be the linchpin. Some coaches were disappointed with the crowds last year: 2,037 for the semifinal and 4,092 for the championship game.

"That was about 90 percent of the discussion," said Griffin, who added that the crowd for the final was the second-highest of the tournament, trailing only a second-round game at Rutgers. "I also made it clear that we only had 220 (tickets sold) from the four schools."

International flavor: Midfielder Mark Chung is the first Bull to earn a spot on the U.S. national soccer team. The team plays at Costa Rica on Wednesday and at El Salvador on Feb. 19.

"It will certainly give him the opportunity to show his stuff, both for (professional) clubs here and internationally," USF coach Jay Miller said.

"It's also substantial for our program. He was basically not recruited by anyone, but he came in here and developed and has surpassed what we thought he could do. That's a great recruiting tool."

Good news, bad news: Outfielder Tim Merrick and infielder Jason Garcia both were named to the Olive Garden Classic all-tournament team last weekend in Kissimmee, and pitchers David Hutcheson, Mark Reed and David Blank were solid.

But that's it for the good. The bad: The Bulls committed 12 errors in the four games _ six in a loss to Central Florida _ and third baseman Darren Stumberger sprained an ankle and will not play this weekend at Stetson or next week at Jacksonville.