Tuesday, February 10, 2009


February 10, 2009

After knocking off Marquette on Friday night, South Florida will look to make it two in a row and win a school-best fourth Big East conference game in a season when they host Providence in the Sun Dome on Tuesday night. The Bulls are 3-7 in the Big East, besides the upset of the Golden Eagles, USF has two wins over hapless DePaul in league play.

Providence has lost three straight games, falling to 6-5 in the Big East. The three consecutive losses followed a streak of three wins that had Friar fans thinking NCAA Tournament just a bit. Now, they need to right the ship quickly as a tough stretch of games will close out their Big East schedule. PC is coming off an 86-59 drubbing at West Virginia.

Here are some pregame stories and previews found on the internet this morning:

Bulls Eager to Take Next Step (Tampa Tribune)
Providence Probably Biggest Game of the Season (Tampa Tribune)
Friars have No Time for Sun at South Florida (Providence Journal)
PC Needs to Shake Slump (Providence-Journal)
Capsule Preview: PC at South Florida (Providence Journal)

This is a tough one to predict. The Friars looked absolutely horrendous at West Virginia this past weekend and in their last five games they have allowed over 92 points a game. While their offense continues to score at an impressive clip, winning on the road requires defense and rebounding, they will need to have that tonight if they are to run with the Bulls and escape alive.

The Bulls got a great lift from their win over Marquette on Friday, surviving a 57-56 slugfest as both teams had trouble scoring points. While they will find scoring a little easier against PC, the Bulls still have trouble as a team scoring the basketball. USF is led by Dominique Jones and Jesus Verdejo on the wings and they will put pressure on their Providence counterparts to work on defense. Keno Davis has the personnel to match-up with the Bulls’ strengths, they just need to dedicate themselves to getting it done on defense in order to win on the road in the Big East.

I like how the Friars match-up with the Bulls. They have some height inside, which might be knocked at times for playing soft (Randall Hanke), but USF is not going to overpower anyone in the Big East in the paint. Frosh Gus Gilchrist likes to take his game away from the basket and PC’s Geoff McDermott is more than comfortable in following him out there and strong and athletic enough to still battle inside.

The oddsmakers list this one as a pick-em, while PC certainly has their share of flaws, they will get the job done with a more intense defensive effort and the ability to score will serve them well in getting past USF on the road tonight.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Providence 74
South Florida 66



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