David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
The Bulls won their last game! And they almost beat UConn in their first meeting this year! Maybe they have a shot in this one.
The South Florida Bulls play their final Big East home game tonight. If that sounds strange to you, imagine how strange it must feel for the Connecticut Huskies to be playing their final Big East road game tonight. Both schools are stuck (at least for the time being) in whatever we're going to call this conference, and maybe the two of them can use tonight's game at the Sun Dome as a bit of group therapy. Let's take a look at the matchup:
The matchup for USF is still pretty good. UConn is still a bad rebounding team, just like the Bulls. They're very small in the interior, giving USF a chance to limit the Huskies to one shot, and to get their own second chances on offense. Other than that glaring weakness, UConn does everything else pretty well.
In the first meeting this season, the Huskies won 69-64 in overtime. USF held a 12-point halftime lead that the Huskies erased in less than four minutes out of the locker room. Then both teams settled in for a tight, low-scoring game. The big difference in the game was at the free throw line, where UConn attempted 33 free throws and USF only took 17. (Take out all the attempts for both teams during USF's late-game fouling and the advantage was still 23-13 for the Huskies.) Shabazz Napier scored 24 points for UConn, including 11 in overtime, and Ryan Boatright added 17.
On the plus side for USF, they actually outrebounded the Huskies 43-41 in that game, and Toarlyn Fitzpatrick went off for 22 points and 10 rebounds. Fitzy is back on the upswing after a good game against DePaul, and he may again be the biggest player on the court tonight.
(NOTE: I had to update the story twice after publishing, as I found out both Enosch Wolf and Niels Giffey are out of the lineup for UConn tonight. That increases USF's chances of winning, and nearly led to me using Leon Tolksdorf in the graphic. TOLKSDORFFFFFFFFF!)