The initial wave of preseason college basketball magazines has arrived in all its glossy splendor.
And for a change, the USF men aren't being glossed over.
The Athlon Sports 2019-20 preview edition, now on newsstands, picks the Bulls ― who return all five starters from last season’s 24-14 squad ― to finish fourth in the American Athletic Conference. So does Street & Smith’s preview.
While Athlon doesn’t forecast USF to make the NCAA Tournament and Street & Smith’s doesn’t project the 64-team field, both dole out some individual praise to the Bulls.
Junior guard David Collins is on the Athlon preseason All-AAC first team, while third-year sophomore forward Alexis Yetna is on Street & Smith’s first team. Senior point guard Laquincy Rideau and Yetna are Athlon second-teamers.
Rideau, the reigning AAC Defensive Player of the Year, is listed as one of the nation’s top 10 perimeter defenders by Athlon, and joins Collins on the Street & Smith’s AAC all-defense team.
“The Bulls won’t sneak up on anyone, especially with a slightly upgraded schedule,” Athlon says on the Bulls’ preview page. “But their depth, versatility and selfless style should continue to produce results. ... The Bulls should be in the NCAA or NIT conversation.”
Elsewhere, longtime national college basketball reporter Andy Katz lists USF as one of his five teams that will be “on the brink” of an NCAA bid. He also pegs Yetna (12.6 ppg, 9.3 rpg in 2018-19) as one of the “five most important” players in the AAC this season.
“The return of Yetna with experienced guards David Collins and Laquincy Rideau gives the Bulls a shot to be in the top four (of the AAC) and ultimately earn a (NCAA) bid,” Katz writes. “But Yetna must be the anchor inside for this to occur.”
The Bulls, who completed a four-game Canadian tour in August, haven’t reached the NCAA Tournament since 2012. They return 92 percent of their scoring and 95 percent of their rebounding from last season’s club, which set a program record for victories and won the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) title.