South Florida basketball looks to break even in Conference USA play today when it faces a TCU team that belies its 1-6 conference record.
The Bulls (10-8, 3-4 in C-USA) have been hard to chart, recently securing wins against Memphis and Charlotte, along with disappointing losses against Houston and ECU.
All four games have come down to the last few possessions, including the most recent contest against the 49ers Saturday that went to double overtime.
“Whatever it takes to get a win, I don’t care,” USF coach Seth Greenberg said. “We are such a young team in a lot of ways. We won the other day (against Charlotte) ,but we did some things that I was not happy with.
“I think our guys, obviously, finding a way to win makes them feel better about themselves.”
The Bulls haven’t been showing signs of a clear-cut winner or loser, as they’ve shown both, sides in the same game.
In USF’s victory against Charlotte, the Bulls shot 27 percent in the first half and 57.6 percent in the second.
“It’s part of league play, this isn’t just South Florida,” Greenberg said. “This is college basketball. In league play there is more of a level playing field.”
Will McDonald, USF’s leader in points and rebounds, has been providing a strong spark for the Bulls, recently scoring 24 points and 12 rebounds against Houston and 15 points and 10 rebounds in the victory against the 49ers, with all 15 points coming in the second half.
“He’s rebounding the ball,” Greenberg said. “He has to rebound. We were just talking to him about pursuing the ball.”
McDonald will have a rebounding rival today when the Horned Frogs’ Jamal Brown and his 9.5 rebounds per game (good for No. 3 in C-USA) come to the Sun Dome.
Another fight for the Bulls will come against TCU’s shooters.
The Horned Frogs have two players in the top six of C-USA scorers.
Junior Blount averages 17.7 points per game, and Corey Santee averages 17.4.
“Any of those guys can drop 30 on you,” Greenberg said. “They have more shot-makers than Charlotte.”
Against TCU’s multiple scorers, the Bulls will most likely depend on a zone defense.
“You can cover them in a zone,” Greenberg said. “Our strength is not to play man-to-man for a long time. We have no perimeter stopper. We don’t have great depth and we can’t get into foul trouble.”
Assistant Sports Editor Bryan Fazio covers men’s basketball and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org