It’s coming soon.
You can feel it.
That little spark that has been flickering and then going out will soon catch fire. At least for one game. It has to. The law of averages figures into the mix sooner or later.
The Bulls are still winless in their Big East debut (0-10, 6-17 overall), but there’s a sense there is just one more hurdle to jump; one more play to seal the game. And that’s all they really need.Just one guy to hit the game-winning shot at the end of the game when he’s supposed to, the key phrase being at the end – not the beginning, middle or end of the third period, but right before the buzzer sounds.
Let’s take a look at five games against Big East opponents USF should or could have won:
1. West Virginia on Jan. 5. Lost 57-53. The Bulls were within two points with two minutes to go but proceeded to foul the Mountaineers four times. That set up free throws for WVU and cemented the game for the visiting team.
2. Georgetown on Jan. 17. Lost 50-47. USF came within one basket of taking the lead with a minute remaining in the game, but a jumper by Solomon Jones came up short and a couple of free throws by the Hoyas ended any hope for a win.
3. Seton Hall on Jan. 20. Lost 94-89 in overtime. All the Bulls needed was one defensive stop, but the Pirates tied the game with 14 seconds left. The Bulls couldn’t defend the three-point attack in the extended set and lost their seventh straight.
4. Villanova on Jan. 24. Lost 49-46. This game wasn’t even supposed to be close, but USF took the Wildcats to the brink of defeat. Unfortunately, the effort went unnoticed, as sloppy play and missed shots assured the Bulls of another frustrating loss.
5. Louisville on Saturday. Lost 57-54. Once again, the Bulls had the lead late in the second half, and once again they let that lead slip away. USF could not score in the final two minutes of the game and remains winless in the conference.
Well, there you have it.
If the Bulls could have pulled off those five victories, there would be no talk of heartbreaking defeats. There would be no mention of key injuries that have plagued the team.Instead of excuses, there would be answers, such as how to defend three-pointers better, especially late in the game when it matters most.
The wins will come, but there won’t be many.Notre Dame (11-10, 2-8) is up next. It’s the best chance the Bulls have for a victory before they start facing some of the more difficult teams in the Big East, such as Connecticut on March 1.If they don’t, who’s going to wait until next year for a win?