When: Tonight, 7Where: Sun DomeTV/Radio: Catch 47/1250 AM
The story: The men’s basketball team begins a crucial two-game home stand tonight as it hosts Syracuse.
The Bulls may be without center Kentrell Gransberry, however. The junior, who is averaging 14.3 points per game, sat out practice with a boot on his right foot after injuring his ankle Monday. Gransberry is questionable to start tonight, and if he can’t, senior Melvyn Richardson will make the start in his place.
With just five games remaining this season – all against conference opponents – the Bulls are in 14th place in the Big East with the top 12 teams advancing to the conference tournament in March at Madison Square Garden.
Last season, Notre Dame got the final Big East Tournament spot with six conference wins. Coach Robert McCullum said at the beginning of the season that he thought it would take at least six wins for USF to make it to the conference tournament, but last week he said it may take seven wins. Either way, the Bulls have just three home games left on their schedule, and they haven’t won on the road in conference play since joining the Big East last season. So unless USF is able to win one of its final two road games – against Seton Hall or DePaul – it must win its final three home games in order to reach six conference wins.
The Bulls look to improve on their last two first-half performances against St. John’s and Louisville, respectively. USF fell behind the Red Storm by 21 points by halftime in a 66-62 loss Feb. 7. Three days later the Bulls trailed the Cardinals by 30 points and lost 83-63 at Freedom Hall.USF is 0-3 against the Orange, including a 63-57 loss in New York last season. Syracuse has won just two of its last six games and is in seventh place in the Big East.
Keep an eye on: Syracuse’s Demetris Nichols. The senior forward is first in the Big East in scoring with 19.3 points per game. Nichols scored a career-high 37 points in the Orange’s 76-74 win against St. John’s on Sunday.