The battle may have been long, gruesome and discouraging at times, but the men’s basketball team finally won a fight. After 17 agonizing defeats in a row, USF proved it was the Little Big East Team That Could, topping Georgetown 63-56 on Saturday and gaining its first conference victory.
Over the course of the season, fans may have given up on the Bulls. Coaches and players may have wanted to beat their heads against a locker. Those who support USF athletics and the USF community in general may have wanted to go to sleep, wake up and pretend that this first season in the Big East was nothing but a bad dream.
Maybe some people did not foresee that the Big East might be more of a challenge to the men’s basketball team than Conference USA was. Maybe they were hoping that the men’s basketball team would have as easy of a transition to the Big East as the football team did.
The team also faced a great deal of adversity this season, losing key players to injuries and having to deal with the death of teammate Bradley Mosley in October. In a statement, Athletic Director Doug Woolard attributed the team’s poor showing this season to these difficulties that it had to endure.
Normally, USF athletics evaluates each of its programs at the end of its respective season, but Woolard said in a statement that “(USF athletics is) making a break from our normal evaluation procedure to clear the cloud of negativity imposed on this program and its student athletes so they can continue building this program to levels we expect.” The Athletic Department is just looking to put this season behind it, celebrate the good and fix what went wrong.
Even though this season is over, it will go down in USF history for posterity to see. But the losing streak – the longest in school history – was not a dream, and the fans cannot pretend that it did not happen. The USF community can, however, find joy in celebrating that lone Big East “W” and look forward to what surprises the 2007 season – which will see the loss of senior powerhouses Solomon Jones and James Holmes – will hold.