Each day we're going to break down at least one reason why we think USF is going to be better than you think.
There might not be a team in America better positioned to take advantage of the new rules in college basketball than USF. After a season where banging and physical play really made the end product close to unwatchable at times, the NCAA took a page out of David Stern's playbook and made adjustments to help open up the game and free perimeter players. Gone are the extended hand checks and arm bars that made attacking the rim so much more difficult, as well as the later-than-late defensive helpers sliding over at the last instasecond to draw an undeserved charge on an attacking dribbler at the rim.
With an emphasis on hand checking, Anthony Collins' quickness will be even more effective at getting into the paint as both a scorer and distributor. Being able to duck under bigger guards and have them unable to impede his progress should make Collins one of the most effective players in the conference. If Collins could have rewritten the rules, they would look like what has been passed: Physical play is severely restricted, and speed and quickness are emphasized. This should take Collins' game to the next level in his junior year, and will clearly translate to wins for the Bulls
The USF defense that carried the team to two wins in the 2012 NCAA Tournament is no more, and perimeter defenders that played more physically in space like Hugh Robertson and Toarlyn Fitzpatrick aren't here anymore. They've been replaced by smaller, quicker players such as Corey Allen and Javontae Hawkins who are guards that will prosper under rules that favor elite-level lateral quickness. Hawkins has already shown speed and an ability to lockdown top opponents defensively and though some of his toolkit is taken away, all players will face the same challenges in the NCAA.
On the defensive side the Bulls never took too many charges near the rim anyway. So the change this year that will give the benefit of the doubt in most block/charge situations to the offense (basic rule of thumb: if it's close, it's a block) is also helpful to USF. Vic Rudd being able to get to the rim without fear of being undercut should make him even more effective using his explosiveness around the basket. And USF continues to have shot blockers (John Egbunu, Jordan Omogbehin) in the paint instead of charge takers, who will get even more opportunities to make plays defensively.
The rules will be a help, and there seems to be a concerted effort nationally to make sure they're called all the way through March. USF will certainly be hoping they stick to their word.