Men’s Basketball GAME TIME

If one thing has changed since South Florida met Louisville in a 71-57 loss Jan. 7, it’s freshman Augustus Gilchrist’s performance.

Gilchrist, who was named Big East rookie of the week Monday, will lead the Bulls in tonight’s game against the No. 7 Cardinals at 7.

“It’s very exciting but kind of surprising, because usually the award will go to someone on a team that won both games during the week,” Gilchrist said. “This can be another way to step forward in the program.”

The Bulls (7-12, 2-5) defeated DePaul on Tuesday and lost to Villanova on Saturday. The 6-foot-10 Gilchrist averaged 17 points, nine rebounds and one block against DePaul and Villanova.

Coach Stan Heath said Gilchrist is finally getting used to Big East play.

“He’s young, and now he has experience,” Heath said. “He’s getting better. Heck, he couldn’t even run up and down the court two times when he began. I’m serious, it’s amazing the production he’s putting up when you see that he’s still not in tip-top condition.”

The Cardinals (15-3, 6-0) are perhaps the hottest team in college basketball — coming off seven straight victories, including a 67-57 victory over then-No. 8 Syracuse at the Carrier Dome.

Heath said he’s more concerned about Louisville’s momentum than some of the off-court issues the Bulls had this week. Junior Mike Mercer was dismissed from the team Monday and freshman Anthony Crater was placed on probationary status after both were arrested on misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession.

“Right now, my focus is on Louisville,” Heath said. “They are really firing on all cylinders.”

USF gave up 22 points to 6-foot-9 junior Earl Clark in the loss against Louisville.Gilchrist said the Bulls have to do a better job of guarding him if they want to pull off an upset.

“Clark is a really good player and has a lot of potential, but we have to go in their home and come out with a ‘W’,” he said.