So USF didn't have the greatest season ever. Actually it was one of their worst -- they set a school record for losses and on many occasions looked outmatched by even average teams.
How many 10-23 teams would ever beat a Final Four team? Not very many, to be sure. But USF is one of them, because they knocked off Virginia Commonwealth 60-59 in overtime back on December 1 at the Sun Dome. Like many of their games this year, it was phenomenally ugly. The Bulls blew an 18-point lead along the way, and both teams shot just 38% from the field, but somehow USF pulled it out.
There was no doubt that VCU wanted to run, but the team did a great job in controlling pace and not getting into a foot race with the Rams. If they would have, we would have had the doors blown out. We took pretty good care of the ball out of the press, ran down the clock, and got a decent look for a shot every now and then. If it missed, Ron and Gus were there to grab an offensive board, and we started all over.
USF promptly followed up on this signature win by losing to FAU 50-42.
Then on New Year's Eve, the Bulls took Connecticut, another Final Four team, to overtime at the XL Center in Hartford. Honestly I think the Bulls should have won this one too. USF actually led for most of the second half and forced Jim Calhoun to use a zone defense to get the game back, which the Bulls acted like they had never seen before. Even though Anthony Crater hit an improbable three-pointer to send the game into OT, UConn held the Bulls scoreless for nearly the entire extra period and prevailed 66-61. Afterwards, Calhoun said about having to go zone:
"I can’t think of the last time that we went 10 straight minutes in a zone. I really can’t... It could be a decade. I can’t even remember, and I don’t forget many basketball games. That saved us."
I thought I was kidding throughout the season when I would tweet that USF was the best X-loss team in the country as that number grew larger and larger. But now, it's clear that this had to be the best 10-23 team in NCAA history. Do we get a banner for that?