The South Florida Bulls are back in action this afternoon at Gampel Pavilion as they face their current and future(?) conference mates, the Connecticut Huskies. This will be the first of two meetings between the teams, with a return engagement on March 6 at the Sun Dome.
Let's take a look at today's matchup:
This seems strange, but as long as USF's effort is there this is actually a pretty decent matchup for them. We all know the Bulls' biggest vulnerability, but UConn's rebounding is even worse than theirs, especially on the defensive end. The Huskies don't have very much size on the court because they lean so hard on Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright. It nearly cost them a game to Providence on Wednesday night. UConn won 82-79 in overtime, but were outrebounded by an astounding 55-24 count, which tied for the largest single-game rebounding margin in Big East history. The Friars had more offensive rebounds (28) than UConn had rebounds.
It's only a decent matchup because the Huskies do have four starters averaging double figures, and their guards excel at getting inside for high-percentage shots. After what Vander Blue did to USF on Monday night, the Bulls need to do better on Napier and Boatright or one of them could easily put up 25 or 30 points today. On the offensive end, they will get a lot of man-to-man, which shouldn't surprise anyone since Kevin Ollie learned at the foot of Jim Calhoun, who played man approximately 99.99999999% of the time. The guards also get steals, and that fuels their transition game. Playing inside Gampel Pavilion instead of the XL Center, you want to keep the crowd as little a factor as possible, so protecting the ball will be a key.