Optimistic Bulls ready for C-USA

Coming off its thrilling 72-71 come-from-behind win in their first conference game Wednesday at East Carolina, the USF basketball team is preparing to run the gauntlet that is Conference USA.

Following Saturday’s 62-61 loss to UAB, the Bulls (8-5, 1-1 C-USA) travel to face Marquette and then are home for three games versus Memphis, Houston and Cincinnati. Memphis and Cincinnati, considered two of C-USA’s top teams, each made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament last season.

But USF, coming off their first road win of the season as well as coach Robert McCullum’s first road conference win since joining the team last season, has reason to be optimistic.

“I think there is a lot of momentum,” senior guard Brian Swift said. “We’re on a three-game winning streak and we won our first conference game, so I think the team’s confidence is high. It’s good for us.”

Versus ECU, senior forward Terrence Leather scored a game-high 18 points and led a balanced Bulls squad that saw four players score in double figures.

“It was only one game,” Leather, who also pulled down 16 rebounds, said. “We’re going to need a team effort like that every night to be victorious in Conference USA. As we all know, it’s a tough conference.”

Not only has USF surpassed last season’s win total of seven, it has already equaled last season’s conference win total of one.

“It was real big, because I know this year we haven’t won on the road this season,” freshman guard Collin Dennis said. “It was a good confidence win and even better because it was the first conference game.”