USF Men's Basketball vs. Temple Preview

Anthony Collins sliding by Temple's Khaliff Wyatt in the USF's victory over Temple in the 2012 NCAA Tournament - Jamie Squire

Conference play continues against Temple, a team the Bulls have only played once. But ohhhh was it a good one.

The Bulls head on up to Philadelphia, to play their first regular season conference game against Temple. But this won't be the first time these two schools have played:

The last time these two teams played was the highest of highs for USF Men's basketball, as the Bulls triumphed over the Owls in a second round game in 2012 NCAA tournament. I'm just going to sit here and bask in that glorious celebration.

But oh, how the once-mighty have fallen. The Bulls and Owls are now tied for last in their new conference. Each team is trying to avoid a three-game losing streak to open conference play. The Bulls (9-6, 0-2 AAC) had home losses to Memphis and Houston, and hope heading out of town will stop their slide, while the Owls (5-7, 0-2) are hosting their first conference game after two road losses at Rutgers and UCF.

Two holdovers from the 2012 team should figure prominently on tonight's game. Anthony Collins' impact will be in his absence, as he is not traveling with the team.

Victor Rudd, who will likely have to pick up some of the ball-handling duties along with Corey Allen, Jr., should be looking to bounce back from one of his poorest efforts of the season, nine points on 3-10 shooting against Houston. It was only the second time this season Rudd had more shots than points (the other was the loss vs. Detroit.)

Temple has their own problems, losing four of their last five games. They have no problem putting the ball in the hoop, scoring 78.4 ppg, good for 57th in the nation. The Owls have four players averaging over 13 ppg, lead by senior guard Dalton Pepper.

Meanwhile, what the heck happened to a team that once featured a fearsome match-up zone defense? Temple has given up 75.2 ppg, good for 281st. While the Bulls defense will be put to the test, this could be a chance for the Bulls to get their offense going.

Let's hope for another celebration at the end of this one.

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