Now that USF has completed The Quest For 16, the obvious question is, "What's next?" I think most USF fans would have been happy with any sort of postseason tournament, and now USF has a chance, albeit a small one, to grab an NCAA Tournament at-large berth. Its been 20 long years since USF last made The Dance, longer than some of us have been alive and certainly longer than I've been rooting for the Bulls.
So what will it take for USF to make the NCAAs? At the very least, it will take...
To get to 20 wins, Coach Heath and the guys must win four out of their last five regular season games and however many Big East tournament games they get. They can earn top-100 RPI wins against all five opponents, and top-50 wins vs West Virginia, Louisville, and Syracuse. Any victories will help USF's resume, but those three games against top-50 opponents will be huge if the Bulls want to play themselves into the Tournament.
If USF beats Pittsburgh tonight, they would be sitting at 17-10 (10-4) with at least five chances to win three games. With home games against two fellow bubble teams in Cincinnati and West Virginia, 19-12 (12-6) seems like a legitimate possibility before heading up to MSG.
And at that point, USF is looking at a bye and facing someone in the Rutgers/Villanova/Pittsburgh range. They would be a pretty decent favorite in that game and would be in line for win number 20. Anything after that would be a bonus.
Will it happen? Who knows. But it's nice to be playing meaningful games in the middle of February. And none of it really matters if USF fails to beat Pittsburgh tonight.