For USF Men’s Basketball, success on the court has recently been futile, but its struggles in 2017 have reached an entirely new level of abysmal.
The Bulls (7-20, 1-15) have little to hang their hats on as the season comes to a close, sitting in last place of the AAC, as well as becoming one of the worst Division I teams in America.
Having produced the second lowest amount of wins in school history, the Bulls equally struggled with issues off the court.
From losing leading scorer Jahmal McMurray, to firing coach Orlando Antigua mid-season, as well as being placed under NCAA investigation for academic fraud, a seven-win season did not seem surprising for the Bulls on the surface.
Until you see who those wins were against.
Being ranked 318th in the latest RPI standings for college basketball, only 31 teams had a lower ranking than USF.
Of those 31, two of the Bulls’ seven wins came against teams ranked in the bottom five – Bethune Cookman (347), and Florida A&M (349). The other five USF wins came against teams ranked 200th or below.
Getting off to an average start, the Bulls started the season 6-5 before going on a 12-game losing skid in conference play – where the Bulls have lost by an average of 18 points a game.
The streak finally came to an end Feb. 12 when the Bulls took down East Carolina for their first, and only win of 2017 thus far.
A major contributor to the Bulls’ downfall following their respectable start was their deficiencies on defense.
The Bulls have yielded opposing teams to an average of 75 points a game. This amount has been the most points per game allowed by the Bulls since the 1988-1989 season; a season where the Bulls averaged 75 points a game themselves, opposed to this year’s 65.
The Bulls struggled on offense in all areas, but ball movement looked to be the Bulls biggest flaw in their 2016-2017 campaign.
With the departure of McMurray, Geno Thorpe was thrust from his natural position of shooting guard in order to man the point. The Bulls offense immediately felt the effects.
With Thorpe doing the coordinating, the Bulls averaged just 12 assists a game, the lowest number in school history.
USF will still have two more opportunities to record conference wins before the regular season comes to a close, one being against in-state foe UCF (19-10, 10-7).