Distractions to the end

The USF men’s basketball team has faced many distractions during the 2002-03 season and will not be relieved of any as it heads into its final game of the regular season.

The Bulls play TCU Saturday night, trying to chase a higher seed in the Conference USA Tournament.

“I think it’s so jammed up that we can finish anywhere from No. 5-12,” USF guard Reggie Kohn said. “It determines where we get seeded and who we end up playing.”

The Bulls currently share the same 7-8 record as Tulane and DePaul in the race for the C-USA Tournament.

TCU is at the bottom of the conference standings, posting a 2-13 record that may cause USF to overlook it on the Bulls’ way to the C-USA Tournament.

“We can’t overlook anybody because we are trying to go into the conference at 8-8 with a .500 record,” freshman forward Yusuf Baker said. “So it’s not like we are looking over them to get into the conference tournament.”

The looming C-USA Tournament is not the only distraction facing the Bulls during their final contest.

USF has just learned that 6-foot-6 walk-on freshman guard Rafael Toren has been denied his eligibility.

The Bulls are coming off an emotional Senior Night, in which Kohn and Will McDonald played their last home games at USF.

Kohn will try to keep his focus against the Horned Frogs while chasing 1,000 career points.

His total is 977 points with at least two games remaining after posting eight points against Tulane Wednesday.

“I know I was about 30 away coming into (Wednesday’s game),” Kohn said. “It will mean something because not that many people in this school’s history have gotten it.”

Saturday’s game will not only give Kohn a chance to chase 1,000, but it will also give the Bulls a chance to fine tune some things before the C-USA Tournament.

“First and foremost we’re worrying about TCU, then you look to the conference tournament,” Kohn said. “In the TCU game and the conference tournament you have to rebound the basketball on the defensive end.”

Bryan Fazio covers USF men’s basketball and can be reached at oraclebryan@yahoo.com