can you believe it? The South Florida Bulls men’s basketball begins in just a few hours. It took a long time for Laquincy Rideau’s three winners to collapse in March to (unwittingly) end the Bulls season in a win.
Under head coach Brian Gregory it looks a little different this season. The forecourt has a huge hole that can be filled with Rideau’s exit, the forecourt brings Alexis Yetna back and then #TransferSZN was friendly to the cops.
Fans will not be in the stands for non-conference games due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Almost every game is shown on ESPN . We told you you need this link.
Key returnee: G David Collins (13. 7 PPG), G / F Justin Brown (9. 1 PPG, 33. 5% 3PT), C Michael Durr (6. 7 PPG, 6. 1 role play), G Xavier Castenada (5. 2 PPG)
Lost keys: Rideau (12. 6 PPG, 4. 2 APG, 2. 48 SPG), PF Antun Maricevic (4th. 2 PPG, 59% FG), G.. Zack Dawson (opt-out), B.. . J. . Mack (Transfer)
Key additions: G Caleb Murphy (highest rated recruit since 2013), C Russel Tchewa (Lubbock Middle School), F Prince Oduro (state of Mississippi), F Luke Anderson (state of Iowa)
Important games: 28. 11. Rhode Island, 29. 11. Virginia Tech (Air Force Reserve Basketball Hall of Fame reserve betting tournament); 12/12 LSU (Holiday Hoopsgiving); at Cincinnati 12/16; in Memphis 12/29; UCF 1/2/21; at UCF 17. 02. 21; AAC tournament 11. -14. March
When you think of USF under Gregory, think about defense first (and may have missed free throws, but we’ll come back to that). . Without former AAC Defensive Player of the Year Laquincy Rideau, how will Castaneda and Murphy help fill the void at the defensive end of the pitch?
While Castaneda is persistent, he has been bullied by larger guards throughout his career. He’ll have to take on the majority of the workload early on when Murphy finds out the speed of the college game. As one of the most aggressive and successful backcourt tandems in the AAC, Rideau and David Collins have teamed up to create easy, quick breakpoints for the ball using their nose. USF is returning just over 60% of its steals from last year, and Rideau made up 77 of the 90 steals lost.
With the return of Yetna, Durr and the addition of 7’0, 260 C Russel Tchewa, the Bulls forecourt has enough skill and size to compete with some of the better teams at the conference. It’s up to Collins, Murphy, and Castaneda to defensively limit the rate of penetration so the big guys can clean up deep.
Gregory told reporters this week that Yetna looked rusty in his first full week of practice and that they would make it easy for him to start the year. In all fairness, this team’s hopes and aspirations depend on the health of their reconstructed knee. If Yetna can’t get back to shape, it could turn out to be a long season trying to provoke offense.
Speaking of insults, there are still a lot of question marks. Gregory has mentioned a few times that the Bulls can play a little faster than in previous years, but how effective Castaneda is at break, as well as half-place sets, will be crucial to the success of The team. He was reluctant to shoot face-up three (something we’ll miss from Rideau – good and bad) and struggled to get the ball into play against the press. With the way Gregory and his staff have recruited other areas, he seems pretty fixated on X running the show with Collins, and so is Murphy.
The state of Mississippi and the transfer from Siena, Prince Oduro, will also be heavily involved. He averaged 9. 1 PPG in Siena, where he started in 27 games. He switched to MSU and never found a role. Iowa State Transfer Luke Anderson reportedly had a decent stroke from the depths for outside help.
This team doesn’t have a consistent threat of three, and we’ve all seen what happens when this team gets into a cold spell and the offensive falters because the teams grab the paint and the cops dare to step outside shoot. Justin Brown is a striped marksman, and as a senior he has to be a more reliable threat from below. The cops will have to find at least one other sniper to ease the pressure on Brown.
Far too often, this team has left leads and profits disappear because they can’t consistently hit the charity streak with the game on the line. Without Rideaus 56% withdrawing the team, USF should have a little more success. Only Brown did more than 70% of his FTs last season and he only hit the line 51 times. Collins was told by NBA scouts that he needed to work on his three-point shooting and free throws. Let’s hope he took that to heart in the off-season.
F Rashun Williams and G Jamir Chaplin have to work out a role after getting a little lost in the shuffle last season. Williams showed an air of sportiness in his limited minutes. Chaplin is still a virtual stranger after almost five minutes per game.
While the Bulls have a lot of good parts on the roster, if they can’t find a reliable point guard to carry out the offensive and play an average to good defense, they will fight their way through a very difficult conference. You could work around . 500 for the season because that’s a weakness that can’t be hidden every night.
If Castaneda proves he made the jump and Murphy shows he can deal with PG with relief, that team will be well trained and talented enough to run in an NCAA tournament offer. NIT is a good season, a Tourny bid is a great one.
South Florida Bulls Men’s Basketball, Basketball, American Athletic Conference, Brian Gregory
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