Now that Syracuse fans are half-recovered from that Georgetown debacle, we can turn the page to the Big East Tournament. The Orange will meet the winner of South Florida and USF, and fans will be tuning in to ESPNU at 7:00 tonight. So who do we root for? What players do we want to keep an eye on? What team is a better match up for Syracuse tomorrow?
Have no fear, friends. I have all the answers. Rutgers and South Florida are both bad basketball teams. The two teams are tied with a 3-15 Big East record, ahead of only DePaul. First, lets take a look at the South Florida Bulls.
USF hosted Syracuse back on January 6th, and the Orange came out on top 55-44. The Bulls are not ranked in the top 275 teams in the nation in points (329th), rebounds (281st), assists (278th), or field goal percentage (325th). The Bulls had a big win over Georgetown back in January to go along with a win over Connecticut for their two signature victories. The Bulls had a stretch where they lost 14 of 15 games, but more notably have won two of their last three, with the one loss being an overtime defeat to Cincinnati.
The Bulls are mostly led by their guard play, with Victor Rudd and Toarlyn Fitzpatrick. Both guards average double figures a game, with Fitzpatrick averaging 5.2 assists and Rudd averaging 7.1. The Bulls are a team that have a wave of confidence with their recent play, and it should be interesting to see how they respond tonight.
For Seton Hall, the Pirates have lost 15 of their last 17 games, dating back to January 5th. Of those 15 losses, 10 of them have been by double digits. One of those two Seton Hall wins came against South Florida, where the Pirates beat the Bulls 55-47 at home on January 23rd.
The Pirates are another team that look dreadful statistically, being 228th in college basketball in points and 200th in basketball in rebounding. Syracuse beat the Pirates on February 16th 76-65, on a monster game from Brandon Triche. This was not a good performance from Syracuse, who head and shoulders have more athleticism than the Pirates.
For Seton Hall, the workload offensively relies heavily on Fuquan Edwin. Edwin averages better than 16 points a game, while grabbing just under 6 rebounds a game to compliment his scoring. Edwin is a very talented player, and had a great day against the Orange in their regular season meeting. Fuquan went for 21 points, hitting four of seven three point attempts.
In this game, I personally am rooting for South Florida to come out on top. I believe that the Bulls are a much weaker team, and can play to the advantage of the struggling Syracuse offense more. The Bulls shoot just 40% on the season, and Syracuse will need to rely on their defense throughout this whole Big East Tournament if they are going to make some noise.
Now I know what you are thinking. Your thinking that South Florida has better guard play, so why would we want the Bulls to win? And my answer is simple. While USF does have better guard play between the two schools, but that doesn’t mean their guard play is good. I am more afraid of Edwin and the Seton Hall half court set than the USF guards hoisting threes all afternoon.
So wear your green tonight, friends. We are all South Florida fans tonight.