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Bulls will look to go ‘up-tempo’ in 2012

Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 23:10

When fans see the USF men’s basketball team in action for the first time this season, the style of play could be a polar opposite to the Bulls who played a season ago.

After averaging a conference-low 59.3 points per game on their way to the best season in school history, personnel shakeups will cause the Bulls to take a different approach on the offensive end of the ball.

“We don’t really have a true post presence on the roster,” coach Stan Heath said. “We have to get used to not having a lot of size and making up for it by fundamentals like blocking out and using speed to our advantage, because we have plenty of speed on this roster.”

Heath said one of the team’s many new players, transfer Martino Brock, could help lead the way in the team’s transition to a faster-paced offense.

“Martino Brock is an outstanding rebounding guard, an outstanding defensive guard and he can take some of the ball handling pressure off of (sophomore guard) Anthony Collins,” he said. “He also gives us more of the up-tempo, penetrating style you look for.”

Heath said the starting lineup, if the season began today, would include three players of 6-foot-5 or shorter, which would make way for an offense that goes up and down the court faster than in 2011, when the Bulls averaged 49 field goal attempts per game.

“If we started today, the starting lineup would be Collins, Brock, (Shaun) Noriega, (Victor) Rudd and (Toarlyn) Fitzpatrick, Which would be a smaller lineup but an effective lineup,” Heath said. “All those guys are experienced and have played, except Brock, who practiced last year and knows what’s going on.”

Though the Bulls may be looking for a quicker pace on the offensive end of the ball, Heath said the team will continue to focus on its defense, which was top in the conference last year, allowing 56.6 points per game.

“It’s tough because we had a nice formula of success last year, but we have to tweak it — we don’t have a choice,” he said. “We have to go with more of a speed game because that’s how our team is built. But we still have to guard. I expect our scores to be up a bit higher, but I’m more worried about percentages, like let’s keep them around 39 percent shooting.”

USF opens its season Nov. 5 with an exhibition game against Eckerd College at 7 p.m. at the Sun Dome.

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