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NOSTALGIA: USF men’s basketball faces a ranked team on Thursday. It hasn’t beaten one since 2012.

Guard Jawanza Poland (pictured) – who suited up for the Bulls from 2010-2013 – was the leading scorer in USF’s last win over an AP-ranked opponent. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

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. 

Related: ‘This ain’t the same old South Florida’: USF basketball first-week impressions

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.

Related: Bulls showing signs of improvement under 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: