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Bulls battle Blue Demons

MEN’S BASKETBALL GAME TIMEUSF (10-13, 1-9) at DePaul (9-13, 4-6)When: Sat., 2 p.m.Where: Allstate ArenaTV/Radio: ESPNU

A nine-game losing streak has cemented USF’s men’s basketball team’s place at the bottom of the Big East Conference. On Saturday, the Bulls will continue their uphill struggle when they travel to Chicago to face the DePaul Blue Demons.

The Bulls’ (10-13, 1-9) face-off against the Blue Demons (9-13, 4-6) will be the team’s second consecutive game away from the Sun Dome.

“They’re going to be good at home,” USF coach Stan Heath said of the Demons. “They’ve got good talent.”

Big East road games have not been kind to the Bulls since they joined the league in 2005. USF has not won a Big East road game in 21 tries. A win at Allstate Arena would go a long way toward helping USF climb back into contention for a spot in the Big East tournament.

Though the Bulls are in 16th place – last in the conference – they are just a half game behind Rutgers, and three games behind DePaul. A win on the road would end the losing streak and allow the Bulls to move out of the basement of the Big East.

The Bulls have lost all of their conference road games, but they have played well on the road against some of the top teams in the nation.

At Marquette, the Bulls lost by eight points to the No. 17-ranked team in the nation. They followed that performance by leading at Georgetown before eventually falling 63-53.

“I think we’ve gone on the road now, and handled environments (well),” Heath said. “I do think we’re poised enough to get the job done. We’ve played back-to-back games against ranked opponents, and the Bulls have done a good job staying right with their opponents.”

If USF is to have a shot at the tournament, the time to end its losing streak is now.

“I like the fact that we’re moving in the right direction,” Heath said. “And now I think it’s time to jump over that hill. Let’s climb that hill, and let’s get over the top.”