Heath honored as pioneer Bulls continue to make history

After a season full of surprises, the USF Bulls are finally earning some individual recognition – and not just the players.

Coach Stan Heath was honored as the Big East Coach of the Year Sunday after leading the Bulls to the best season the school has seen since joining the Big East in 2005. He was also named Sporting News Big East Coach of the Year.

“I was kind of taken back and I was surprised,” Heath said to gousfbulls.com. “I was really humbled and honored. It’s quite an accomplishment, personally, to be on that list of coaches.”

Freshman point guard Anthony Collins, who averaged eight points per game along with a team-high 5.3 assists per game in his debut season, was also named to the Big East all-freshman team. Collins was the only USF player named to any of the all-Big East teams.

“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to my players because it’s a team effort anytime you get an award,” Heath said to gousfbulls.com. “We believe in each other and they bought into what we were trying to do.”

USF heads to NYC

The 2012 USF men’s basketball team seems to be on a mission to break as many school records as possible this season, and it has now acquired its next target in New York City.

USF travels to New York City to attempt to reach the Big East Tournament’s quarterfinals for the first time in school history. Thanks to its performance in the regular season, that task has become much easier.

After winning a school-record 12 conference games this season, including tying a school record with five road victories, the Bulls enter the postseason with a bye into the second round of the Big East Tournament, which means they will only need one victory to advance farther than any other team in school history.

The Bulls will have a familiar opponent, the Villanova Wildcats, with heightened pressure. The Bulls have faced the Wildcats twice this season, going 2-0 against them.

USF managed a season sweep of the Wildcats in an off year for a team that is usually in contention for a high seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Bulls won both games by an average of 15.5 points, including a 17-point victory in Philadelphia, which was their largest margin of victory in conference play this season.

The Wilcats upset the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Tuesday night, which set them up for a rematch with the Bulls, with the winner going to the quarterfinals. Villanova took control against the Scarlet Knights, beating them 61-49, which is the second highest margin of victory in the first round.

Tonight’s game will tip off at 9 on ESPN.