As USF gears up to take on No. 10 Memphis on Thursday, previous misfortunes against ranked opponents linger.
The Bulls (9-5, 2-1 AAC) have lost 37 consecutive games against teams ranked in the AP Poll.
The last victory was on Feb. 27, 2012 – a thrilling 58-51 victory against No. 19 Louisville. The game served as a catalyst for arguably the most successful season in program history.
Junior guard Jawanza Poland led the Bulls with 16 points, taking down a Cardinals squad that would boast several future NBA draft picks.
Louisville fell out of the AP Poll after that week. Despite the loss, it would finish the season with a 30-10 record, losing to Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament Final Four.
It was the Bulls’ second win over a ranked opponent in the 2011-12 season, previously beating No. 23 Seton Hall on Jan. 13.
USF finished that season with a 22-14 record, earning its first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 1992.
The Bulls defeated California and Temple before a 62-56 loss to Ohio in the third round – the furthest USF would ever go in the tournament.
Since their unlikely March Madness run as a No. 12 seed, it has been a tumultuous decade for the Bulls.
A roller coaster of coaching hires and struggles in conference play have marred USF – the program has only seen one winning season since 2012.
Its most successful season since then came in 2019, where then-head coach Brian Gregory led the Bulls to a program record 24-win season and a CBI Championship over DePaul.
Gregory could not replicate the success and was fired after the 2022-23 season.
But a tournament bid isn’t off the table for the Bulls this season, who have surpassed early expectations under first-year head coach Amir Abdur-Rahim.
An unlikely road upset over the Tigers (15-2, 4-0 AAC) would be momentous –a win over one of the top teams in the country would be USF ‘s biggest victory in a decade and a remarkable addition to the Bulls’ tournament resume.
USF men’s basketball will face No. 10 Memphis on Thursday at the FedExForum. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN and Bulls Unlimited.
See The Oracle’s original coverage of 2012’s Louisville game below: