Louisville 64, USF 38: Not Good Job, Not Good Effort

Jeff Griffith-US PRESSWIRE

The Bulls barely avoid setting their all-time futility mark and turn in their worst showing in a long, long time.

The other night, we had heard a rumor that Victor Rudd and Jawanza Poland played the game against Villanova with the flu. It certainly would have explained their lethargic games. They combined to shoot 4-for-18 and didn't look anything like their usual selves. Guess not, though, because when Rudd (who didn't start) checked into the game, the announcers calling the game said that he and Poland (who also didn't start) were benched because of "lack of effort."

Fortunately the Bulls were so shaken up by the reminder that they have to work hard to be successful that they turned in maybe the most craptastic effort of the Stan Heath era. Take a look at some of these numbers:

  • The Bulls set a new record low point total in Big East play with 38 points. They narrowly missed tying their all-time futility record when Rudd made a jumper with five seconds to go.
  • USF shot 12-for-45 from the field (that's 27%), 3-for-17 from three-point range, and even 11-for-21 from the free throw line.
  • They were outrebounded 49-24. Gorgui Dieng and Chane Behanan combined to outrebound the Bulls by themselves. Dieng grabbed more offensive rebounds (7) than the entire USF team (6, and two of those were "team" rebounds where the Cardinals knocked a missed shot out of bounds).
  • Louisville took 15 more shots than USF did because of all those rebounds. Oh yeah, 19 of those rebounds were on offense. Rick Pitino even said after the game that they considered missed shots to be passes.
  • USF had a grand total of four assists.
I know it seemed like I was having some kind of "Old Man Yells At Cloud" conniption when I complained about USF constantly trying to get their players on SportsCenter, but there was an underlying reason behind it. Big highlight-reel dunks are not what USF basketball is all about. It's about locking it down on defense, being patient, and just grinding teams to dust. This isn't Phi Slama Jama here. USF wins games because they play with tenacity and they always give maximum effort. The Bulls didn't do that at all yesterday. There aren't many other explanations for 27% shooting and getting outrebounded by 25.

If we're going to promote all the dunks and big plays and all of that, let's also promote when Victor Rudd grabs a big rebound in traffic. Or when Toarlyn Fitzpatrick pushes a guy off the block and then blocks his shot. Or when Anthony Collins makes a nice dish to a wide-open man for a three. Show everyone the little things, too. The things that actually help USF win games. Because highlight reels like this one don't mean anything when you lose.

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