South Florida coach Bobby Paschal must feel tempted to complain about a controversial call at the end of Saturday's game at Southern Mississippi.
With the Bulls down 68-67 and three seconds left, sophomore point guard Chucky Atkins was hammered by Southern Mississippi guard Sam Jones in the backcourt.
It could have been _ and Paschal argues should have been _ an intentional foul, which would have given Atkins two free throws and USF the ball.
"The rule says you have to make a play on the ball and it's got to be a legitimate attempt," Southern Mississippi coach M.
K. Turk said. "I thought Sam Jones' foul in that situation was very suspect."
The officials didn't see it that way. USF's last-second, half-court heave missed.
"I don't want to sound like I'm making excuses for our team or our record, but we're better than our conference record shows or our overall record shows," Paschal said. "Our kids have played pretty tough in a lot of situations."
The loss means USF will face another tough situation in next week's Metro Tournament. USF could have moved as high as fifth in the standings, but will finish last, meaning a tougher tournament pairing.
Bad break, Part I
Virginia Tech sophomore forward Jim Jackson, second on the team in scoring, will undergo surgery for a bulging disc this week and is lost for the season.
"It thins you out at the small forward," coach Bill Foster said. "When Corey (Jackson) isn't in, we have to go with three guards. You give up something in size, but you get something back in ball-handling and quickness."
Bad break, Part II
Virginia Commonwealth freshman forward George Byrd, who was bidding for a starting job, broke a bone in his right foot in the first half against Tulane.
"With him going out, we're going to have to move (senior) Bob Osborne into the rotation and he's not played since he's been here," coach Sonny Smith said. "It's going to be difficult unless we go into a four-guard deal. But it's been six games since Kareem Washington scored, so it's hard to go small."
Louisville junior center Clifford Rozier, who averaged 24.5 points, 13.0 rebounds, 3.5 blocks and 1.5 assists in wins against LSU and Notre Dame, was named the conference player of the week for the fifth time this season.
What's so remarkable is that Rozier played both games with a sore back.
"They treated him 10 hours a day," coach Denny Crum said. "Every free minute he had, he was in the training room. The morning. In between classes. Lunch time. After practice. Clear up until midnight. He was probably sick of seeing that room."
Odds and ends
Virginia Tech's win Saturday against North Carolina-Charlotte gave Louisville its 12th regular-season conference title. With 12 points against Howard on Monday night, Rozier has 1,000 at Louisville. Only two other players, Wes Unseld and Butch Beard, reached that plateau in two seasons. UNCC's 48 points in a 51-48 loss at George Washington last week is its lowest total in coach Jeff Mullins' nine seasons. Tulane's Perry Clark will coach the South team at the U.S. Olympic Sports Festival in July at St. Louis.
_ BRIAN LANDMAN