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Greenberg, Rome ham it up on radio

Starting the season 5-0 will do wonders for one’s celebrity status.

USF men’s basketball coach Seth Greenberg was the guest on national sports talk radio giant Jim Rome’s program, “The Jungle,” Thursday. Greenberg gave his opinions on everything from DaJuan Wagner to college basketball’s landscape to the Bulls’ game Saturday at the Sun Dome with California at 7 p.m.

However, the Bulls’ early-season success isn’t the only reason Greenberg appeared on Rome’s program, one of the most listened to – and controversial – talk radio shows.

Greenberg, who holds a broadcast journalism degree from Fairleigh Dickinson, is no stranger to being behind the microphone. He has appeared as a guest on “The Jungle” before and has been an analyst on ESPN Radio during March Madness.

And as the Bulls prepare for the first true test of the season Saturday against Cal, Greenberg joined Rome on “The Jungle” for a 30-minute segment Thursday which aired on 980 AM, the Sports Animal.

But the USF-Cal game wasn’t the most important subject on the mind of Rome, who’s noted for his colorful opinions and ratings-grabbing antics. Rome began the exchange by saying, “I know you want to come in before that big showdown – with Memphis.”

After Greenberg answered a question about the Tigers, he seemed to catch Rome off-guard by informing him the Bulls had Cal – not Memphis – up next on the schedule.

“And (Memphis is) who you have coming up next,” Rome said.Not exactly.

“No, we’ve got Cal next. Not Calipari (Memphis’ coach), Ben Braun’s Cal,” Greenberg said.

Rome backpedaled, but kept pressing Greenberg about Memphis and their star freshman Wagner, perhaps the most publicized freshman in the country.

“We’ll get to that Cal in a minute. What about one more thought on DaJuan Wagner: Have you ever spent as much time thinking about a freshman as you do that guy?” Rome said.

Greenberg, however, was not so quick to anoint Wagner a messiah, preferring to focus on the Tigers’ team.

“It’s interesting, I think between Jordan and DaJuan Wagner, if I see one more ESPN highlight in the morning of their shot charts or their shot selection … I mean. It’s the most over-hyped thing in the world,” he said. “He’s a terrific basketball player, but they’ve got a very good basketball team.”

Greenberg went on to talk about two perennial powerhouses from the Tar Heel State headed in the opposite direction: undefeated Duke and winless North Carolina.

“(North Carolina) lacks the toughness you need to play in the close games,” Greenberg said.

“I think they’re a team that doesn’t have an identity right now … they struggle to score the basketball.”

Unlike the Tar Heels, who are without starters Julius Peppers and Ronald Curry (playing football), in addition to Joseph Forte and Brendan Haywood (entered the NBA early), Greenberg said Duke is the total package.

“Think about the matchups with Duke: (Jason) Williams, (Chris) Duhon, (Carlos) Boozer (and Mike) Dunleavy – there’s four lottery picks potentially,” he said. “There’s not a good matchup for your basketball team in any of those guys.”

Eventually, Greenberg did get a chance to talk about Cal, who the Bulls lost to 79-69 last season.

“(Cal) is a Pac-10 school (and) the Pac-10 is one of the better conferences in the country,” Greenberg said. “They’re a talented team. They’re a team that’s been to the Tournament. They’re a team that if USF can be successful (against), we gain (RPI) points.”