#61 South Florida Bulls: College Basketball 111 in 111


usf cheerleaders

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

The South Florida Bulls one-upped their conference mates, Notre Dame in becoming the most boring team in college basketball last season.  Rarely would they top the 60-point plateau but they used their stifling defense to epitomize the phrase, “Winning Ugly”and nearly advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.  Can lightning strike for a second straight year at USF?

Last Season: T-4th, 12-6 in Big East, 22-14 overall
Predicted Big East Finish: 9th

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Toarlyn Fitzpatrick (Sr)/Jordan Omogbehin (Fr)
F: Victor Rudd (Jr)/Kore White (Jr)/Zach LeDay (Fr)
G/F: Shaun Noriega (Sr)/Musa Abdul-Aleem (So)/Javontae Hawkins (Fr)
SG: Jawanza Poland (Sr)/Martino Brock (Jr)
PG: Anthony Collins (So)

Gone: F/C-Augutus Gilchrist, PF-Ron Anderson Jr., G/F-Hugh Robertson, PG-Lavonte Dority (transfer-Valparaiso), PG-Blake Nash (transfer-Texas Tech)

2012-2013 Outlook:
USF accomplished the rare feat of making the Big Dance without having a single player on their roster average double digit points.  Once again getting that type of balance will be essential for Stan Heath to repeat last year’s success.

The Bulls almost suffered a costly loss when Victor Rudd randomly declared for the NBA Draft.  Luckily he thought better of his original decision and decided to return for his junior season.  The former Arizona State transfer is absolutely explosive at the rim but struggled with his outside shot a year ago and must improve in that area to be considered a serious NBA Draft prospect.

With a few key frontcourt players gone from last year, there are some new faces taking over new roles.  Toarlyn Fitzpatrick was very effective, primarily in a reserve role but will take over the full-time starting center.  His ability to step out and knock down three point shots is a great weapon but he needs to be more of an inside presence.

The insanely massive Jordan Omogbehin (7’3, 334 pounds? DANG) redshirted last season and will provide some rebounding and shot blocking off the bench though he is still very raw with his all-around game.  Florida Atlantic transfer Kore White is another big body at 6-8, 240 and becomes eligible right away.  He is on his third school in four years but provides some needed experience off the bench.  Freshman Zach LeDay doesn’t figure to factor into the rotation right away.

Heath did lose a key player inside when junior college transfer Waverly Austin failed to qualify academically at USF.  He was expected to be an immediate contributor but instead found his way across the country and is now enrolled at Oregon.

The backcourt will led by returning starting point Anthony Collins who is coming off a solid freshman campaign.  As the only true point guard on the roster due to the transfer of Blake Nash, expect Collins to log plenty of minutes for the Bulls.
Jwanza Poland was a key reserve last season and like Rudd, relies on his athleticism but is not an efficient outside shooter.  Shaun Noriega also returns though he saw his role diminished some last season.  He will likely battle for a starting spot along with South Alabama transfer Martino Brock who should see some minutes at the point as well when Collins needs a breather.  Freshman Javontae Hawkins and JUCO transfer Musa Abdul-Aleem will compete for minutes off the bench.

Two years ago, I was telling Stan Heath to start packing up his bags thinking it was a matter of time before he got canned.  Last season pretty much saved his job and if he can get a similar result with their ruggedness and athleticism on the defensive end combined with balanced scoring on offense, it is not farfetched to think USF could head back to the tourney.

Player to Watch: Anthony Collins
There is nothing really sexy about Collins’ game and with the Bulls’ burn offense which often takes the shot clock down to ten seconds, Collins ability to create and make smart decisions in setting up his teammates.  The transfers of Nash and Lavonte Dority midseason last year, puts extra pressure on Collins to remain steady and reliable all season long.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/10 vs. Central Florida
11/30 vs. Georgia (Big East/SEC Challenge)
12/5 at Oklahoma State
12/29 vs. George Mason
1/2 at Central Florida

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#62 Valparaiso Crusaders
#63 Illinois Fighting Illini
#64 Arkansas Razorbacks
#65 Wichita State Shockers
#66 George Mason Patriots
#67 Virginia Cavaliers
#68 Villanova Wildcats
#69 Maryland Terrapins
#70 Marshall Thundering Herd
#71 Iona Gaels
#72 Northwestern Wildcats
#73 Oklahoms State Cowboys
#74 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#75 USC Trojans
#76 UConn Huskies
#77 Harvard Crimson
#78 Xavier Musketeers
#79 Ole Miss Rebels
#80 Clemson Tigers
#81 Oregon State Beavers
#82 Texas A&M Aggies
#83 Providence Friars
#84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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