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Heath: Interesting opener in store

USF coach Stan Heath has a pretty good idea of what kind of team he has this season.

He’ll have an even better idea after Friday’s season opener against Southern Miss at 7 p.m. at the Sun Dome.

“We should have a very interesting game,” Heath said. “Expect to see some strong rebounding. Expect to see some physical play. Expect to see some teams making some mistakes because it’s early in the year.”

Heath saw his team’s share of mistakes in last Monday’s scrimmage against Eckerd College. The Bulls committed 23 turnovers, an area Heath said concerns him heading into the season.

“We have some encouraging lately, we just have some ways to go,” Heath said. “I was spoiled. I’ll admit it. I was spoiled with Dominique (Jones) and Chris (Howard). They were some not only good players but good coaches out there on the floor. I’m challenging those guys to reach that level if they can.”

USF’s expected starters are guards Shaun Noriega, Anthony Crater, Hugh Roberston and forwards Jarrid Famous and Augustus Gilchrist, with Heath having the luxury of rotating several players in at each position.

Heath said Famous and Gilchrist will be focal points early in the season.

“We’re just different,” Heath said. “It’s almost like we went from Peyton Manning throwing the ball to just grinding it out. Our offense has been tweaked quite a bit. We don’t necessarily slow it down, we just push it with a purpose.”

Southern Miss, who participated in the College Invitational and are one of the preseason favorites in Conference USA, returns all five starters.

“We have as tough opponent as you’re going to see for a first game,” Heath said. “They’re very talented.”

Women host Jacksonville

The USF women’s basketball team opens the season with Jacksonville Friday at 5 p.m. at the Sun Dome as part of a women’s-men’s double header.

The game marks the first of three games that USF will play in a six-day span. The Bulls travel to face Middle Tennessee State on Sunday at 1 p.m before hosting Stetson on Nov. 17 at 1 p.m.