When: Tonight, 730Where: Carnesecca ArenaTV/Radio: Catch 47/1250 AM
The story: The men’s basketball team travels to St. John’s tonight, looking to win two straight Big East games for the first time since joining the 16-team conference last season.
The Bulls are coming off a 69-63 upset of then-No. 21 Notre Dame on Saturday at the Sun Dome. In front of the biggest home crowd of the season (7,705), USF controlled the pace of the game, holding the Fighting Irish to 20 points below their season average.
The Bulls were seconds away from going to overtime against then-No. 15 Marquette on Jan. 28, but point guard Chris Howard turned the ball over and the Golden Eagles scored the winning layup at the buzzer.With two wins in the last three games (USF also beat Rutgers on Jan. 24), the Bulls are tied with Seton Hall for 13th place in the Big East, one spot away from the top 12 teams that make it to the conference tournament. USF has seven games remaining to qualify for a tournament berth.
St. John’s, one of five teams in the Big East with four conference wins, is coming off a 73-64 win over Cincinnati on Sunday. The Red Storm’s only home conference loss came to Georgetown, while the Bulls haven’t won on the road in conference play since they were in Conference USA.
St. John’s beat USF 68-49 last season at the Sun Dome, while the Bulls won the only other meeting between the two teams in the 1994-95 season.
Keep an eye on: senior McHugh Mattis. The 6-foot-6 forward had one of the best games of his career against the Irish, scoring 23 points and grabbing 16 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season. After Saturday’s win, coach Robert McCullum struggled to find words to describe Mattis, who remains the third-best shot blocker in the nation with 3.9 blocks per game.