USF faces road test tonight

The USF Bulls have been on a crash course with history all season, and their final regular season road game is no different. For the sake of their NCAA tournament bid, the Bulls hope that history won’t repeat itself.

USF will be playing on Leap Day for the second time since 2000, traveling to Kentucky to match up against the Louisville Cardinals. Their last Leap Day game was, naturally, a road game against the Louisville Cardinals.

In 2000, USF lost to the Cardinals by 10. With the Bulls hoping to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1992, a win over the 18th-ranked Cardinals would all but punch their ticket into the Big Dance.

According to a majority of college basketball experts, the Bulls are one of the first four teams that will be left out of the NCAA Tournament field. A victory over a ranked team for the second time this season, this time on the road, would change that.

The Bulls have won five of their last six matches, including a school record-tying four game win streak. In the last four games, in which the Bulls have compiled a 3-1 record, losing at second-ranked Syracuse, freshman point guard Anthony Collins has averaged 14.5 points and seven assists per game.

Collins’ efforts have gained him national recognition, he has been named Big East Freshman of the Week and named to the Big East Honor Roll in back-to-back weeks.

USF’s play since Jan. 13, in which the Bulls boasted a 9-3 record and jumped into a three way tie for fourth place in the Big East, has boosted the Bulls from a team projected to finish 14th in the Big East to a team with a legitimate opportunity to make the NCAA Tournament.

An 11-5 record in conference play is the best in USF school history, and with it the Bulls have a chance to have a high seed in the Big East tournament, which will be held at Madison Square Garden next week.

Though a loss to Georgetown and a subsequent Georgetown victory over Notre Dame has virtually eliminated the Bulls from getting a double bye in the Big East Tournament, USF has already clinched a first round bye, and depending on its performance in its last two games, at Louisville and West Virginia in the home finale, the Bulls will own a seed anywhere between five and seven.

Tonight’s game against the Cardinals will tip off at 7.