Kevin C. Cox
The Dome is new, but so is the optimism about USF basketball.
This game doesn't need much more introduction. You already know when and where the game is, and Matt did a great job introducing you to the Knights in his preview. Instead, I'd like to make a quick observation about something that's happened to our fan base this year.
Have you noticed that the way we used to feel about the football team is now the way we feel about the basketball team, and vice versa? For years and years, USF fans expected the football team to deliver in clutch situations, to win the big game (even if they were all in September), and to sustain the fans' optimism for the future. At the same time, we always feared the worst out of the basketball team. We knew they would blow leads, lose games they desperately needed to win, and constantly find new and ever more painful ways to let us down.
Those roles are completely reversed now. Last Saturday was probably the lowest moment as far as fan confidence in USF football history. Reasonable people, many of whom were in our GameThread, fully expected a horrendous UConn team to drive down the field in the last few minutes of the game, score a touchdown (which they hadn't come close to doing all night), tie it up, and win in overtime. It was amazing. We were so beaten down by the football team that we feared UConn like they were the 2001 Hurricanes. Meanwhile, everyone is riding high after last season's unexpected, unprecedented success in basketball, and now that team is coming back on campus to raise an NCAA Tournament banner in front of a raucous crowd in their own, totally remodeled arena.
I don't know if the optimism for the basketball team is completely pure after the Waverly Austin debacle, but it's definitely there. We feel like they can deliver. Tonight we begin to see how well-invested all that optimism is. It's a new day for so many reasons.