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A day of disrespect for USF women’s hoops, soccer

Basketball is ranked again, and soccer is tourney-bound, but both have reason to be perturbed
USF career goals leader Evelyne Viens (14) and the Bulls open NCAA Tournament play Friday at the University of Florida. [USF Athletics] [TRAVIS PENDERGRASS  |  USF Athletics]
USF career goals leader Evelyne Viens (14) and the Bulls open NCAA Tournament play Friday at the University of Florida. [USF Athletics] [TRAVIS PENDERGRASS | USF Athletics]
Published Nov. 12

By late afternoon on a bittersweet Monday, the USF women’s basketball and soccer teams learned they were formally back in the Associated Press top 25 and NCAA Tournament, respectively.

Both are annual aspirations, if not expectations, for the programs. Hence the reason for high-fives around the Selmon Athletics Center.

But a closer look at the poll and bracket left a bitter aftertaste certain to linger.

Three days after upsetting then-No. 15 Texas, 64-57, at the Yuengling Center, Coach Jose Fernandez’s club (2-0) made its 2019-20 poll debut at No. 25. Three spots above the Bulls? Texas.

MORE BULLS: USF’s Charlie Strong: ‘You don’t ever give up on a game'

Fernandez politely declined comment Monday evening, but soccer coach Denise Schilte-Brown was a bit more outspoken about her team’s tourney draw.

Despite winning their second American Athletic Conference crown in three years and owning a sparkling RPI (24th), the Bulls (14-4) must travel to Florida (11-8-1, No. 23 RPI) for an NCAA opening-round match Friday at 7.

The entire tourney bracket can be seen here. Only 32 schools host opening-weekend tournament action, meaning the NCAA’s selection committee evidently didn’t deem USF among the nation’s top 32 programs.

“Do I think the draw was fair? No, not at all,” said Schilte-Brown, whose club topped Memphis, 2-0, in Sunday’s AAC tournament final.

“Not for us or Florida. I think we both deserve to host. I think we’re both ranked high enough to where the regional ranking doesn’t make sense. They needed to take another look at that, in my opinion.”

The Bulls’ reward for a first-round triumph almost certainly would be another road trip, perhaps as far away as Washington. After the first round, the tourney is split into eight groups of four teams, with the highest-seeded team serving as host.

FSU (15-5, No. 4 RPI) is seeded first in USF’s group, with Washington (11-6-2, No. 18 RPI) the second-highest seed.

“There’s only three schools in the state that made the top 64, where’s the reward for the teams in the state that have done that?” said Schilte-Brown, whose team lost 2-0 to UF at home in early August despite out-shooting the Gators 20-4.

“Instead, you play two teams that are ranked (23 and 24) against each other? Makes no sense to me. But it’s all right. I mean, you want to play great teams to get all the way through.”


  1. The first time they met, Jeff Scott was a 14-year-old following his father's footsteps and Michael Kelly was fresh out of college. A quarter-century later, Kelly has entrusted Scott to take the USF football program to a new level. "I knew instinctively this day would come for him, but I never knew it would align for the two of us to be together,'' Kelly said. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    John Romano | South Florida is a program with little history and loads of potential, and Scott is a hotshot young coach looking to make a name for himself.
  2. New FAU coach Willie Taggart faces one of his old teams, USF, on Sept. 26, 2020 in Boca Raton. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times] [JONES, OCTAVIO  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    He moves to his fourth program in the past 36 months. Adding intrigue to the hire, FAU hosts USF in 2020.
  3. (From left) USF Bulls mascot 'Rocky the Bull", new USF football coach Jeff Scott, his wife Sara and their 4-year-old daughter Savannah pose for photos after his announcement at the Sam and Martha Gibbons Alumni Center on Wednesday [OCTAVIO JONES | Times] [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    The fifth football coach in USF history seems to hit all the right notes to a standing-room-only crowd
  4. LSU players celebrate after the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game against Georgia, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Atlanta. LSU won 37-10. [JOHN BAZEMORE  |  AP]
    “Members of Congress care about college sports. They recognize how important it is to American society."
  5. Jeff Scott is introduced as the new USF football coach at the Sam and Martha Gibbons Alumni Center in Tampa on Wednesday, [OCTAVIO JONES | Times] [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    Signs and sound bites indicate the Clemson co-offensive coordinator was the Bulls’ top choice all along
  6. Jeff Scott is introduced as the new USF Bulls head football coach at the University of South Florida Sam and Martha Gibbons Alumni Center in Tampa, Florida on Wednesday, December 11, 2019.  [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    In fact, here’s how he did it as a Clemson walk-on in 2001
  7. In this Jan. 5 file photo, Clemson Tigers co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott speaks with media during media day at the SAP Center prior to the College Football Playoff national championship game  vs. the Alabama Crimson Tide at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. [ADAM LACY  |]
    Scott will be the sixth assistant to keep working for a College Football Playoff team while serving as an incoming head coach elsewhere.
  8. New USF football coach Jeff Scott receives a de facto $500,000 signing bonus on Jan. 17, 2020. [ JACOB KUPFERMAN  |]
    The former Clemson co-offensive coordinator must pay USF $2.5 million if he leaves on his own before Dec. 31 2020.
  9. New USF coach Jeff Scott has spent the last 12 seasons on the staff at Clemson, his alma mater. [ADAM LACY  |]
    The fifth Bulls coach in program history will appear at the Sam & Martha Gibbons Alumni Center.
  10. Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott talks with receivers Mike Williams (7) and Artavis Scott (3) during a 2016 game at FSU. Scott was named USF's coach Monday. [DAVID GROOMS/CAL SPORT MEDIA  |]
    Though not the bay area’s primary recruiter for Clemson, Scott’s fingerprints are all over the region.