The saying “there’s no place like home” takes on a whole new meaning in the world of sports.
The comforts of a home crowd, knowing the court one plays on and sleeping in one’s own bed all add to the equation of winning on a home court or field.
South Florida’s men’s basketball team will try and put an end to both a two-game losing streak and a four-game road losing streak when it faces Marquette Saturday.
Losses have been plaguing the Bulls, but road losses are an obstacle that affects all teams.
The NBA’s Orlando Magic have a 19-18 overall record but are 7-12 away from Orlando.
The NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles suffered three of their four losses on the road.
“You practice every day in your home court, and you’re used to that,” senior guard Reggie Kohn said. “You have your fans and energy from your fans. It’s just a different environment than you are used to.”
The team still has meetings and a day of game shoot-around, but the feeling is different on the road.
USF will take “the cheapest flight possible,” according to coach Seth Greenberg, and leave Tampa at 7 a.m. Friday.
In Milwaukee, the Bulls will spend most of their time in practices, meetings or in the hotel.
To break the monotony of staying in a hotel all day, Greenberg takes the team out on road trips to places like civil rights museums to give the team culture.
“It gets us out,” sophomore Marlyn Bryant said. “We are in the hotel all day, and we get a chance to go to the mall or whatever. It gets us out so we can be together and do things.
“Just staying in a hotel, you get all cramped up.”
Friday, the Bulls will have a team dinner, followed by watching film, and then abide by their standard 11 p.m. curfew.
The day of the game, there will be a team breakfast, a shoot-around at the Milwaukee Bucks’ practice facility, then a study hall and pre-game meal.
“We try to take every game like we are playing at home,” Bryant said. “We talk about what we are going to do.”
USF will have its hands full on the road facing the No. 24 Golden Eagles (11-3).
2002 honorable mention All-American Dwyane Wade leads the Golden Eagle attack with 22.7 points per game.
“He’s a great player, as far as I know,” Kohn said. “An All-American 6-foot-5 wing player (who is) very strong. It’s going to be a good matchup”
The Bulls, looking for their first Conference USA victory, will have to forget that they are on the road and just break it down to basketball in a simple form.
“It’s still basketball,” Kohn said. “It’s a basketball and two hoops, and we have our same team. We can’t let being on the road effect us and not play as well as we should.”