Bulls face tough two-game stretch
Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 01:01
USF enjoyed a roaring home crowd, its first conference win of the season, snapping a four-game losing streak because of a timely second-half turnaround when things weren’t looking good for the men’s basketball team last weekend.
But will the shift in momentum translate into a shift for the USF men’s basketball team in the Big East?
Consistency is what the Bulls (10-7, 1-4) will look to accomplish as they move deeper into the Big East conference for a pair of games that will prove to be a test for USF.
Newark, N.J. is the first stop for the Bulls tonight when Seton Hall will try to break a four-game losing streak, just as USF did in its game against Georgetown.
But the teams USF will face have an intertwined history that will likely result in meaningful conference play.
The Pirates (12-6, 1-4) were off to a promising start in the conference, beating DePaul on the road by a point on Jan. 2, but their troubles began on the road three days later after a crushing blow was delivered by Notre Dame (15-4, 3-3) in a 93-74 loss.
The Pirates have been beaten by double digits every game since, except for a 69-62 loss at Marquette last Wednesday.
Though Seton Hall has an all-time record of 8-2 over the Bulls, USF has won the past two meetings.
After the road game in New Jersey, USF will take Big East basketball back to the Sun Dome to take on Notre Dame on Saturday at noon.
The Fighting Irish, who have an away record of 1-1, will play their third road game of the season against a USF team that is 8-4 in the Sun Dome.
Notre Dame is also coming off a loss at home to Georgetown as it heads into this weekend’s match-up.
Just two days after the Hoyas’ defeat at the Dome, Georgetown defeated the Irish, 63-47.
But both the Irish and the Pirates will pose a challenge for the Bulls.
Notre Dame shooting 47.2 percent and Seton Hall shooting 34.9 percent stand as the top two three-point shooting teams in the Big East conference.
USF’s defense is no stranger to the deep ball though, allowing Big East teams to only shoot 27 percent through the conference season, ranking them as the highest in the Big East.
The two upcoming games also feature the top two teams in the conference when it comes to assists, Notre Dame at No. 1, Seton Hall at No. 2.
While the teams have proven they can share the wealth on the court, USF will be led by sophomore point guard Anthony Collins who
ranks 10th nationally in assists per game.
But maintaining the momentum from Saturday’s second half performance is what the Bulls will need as they head into more conference play.