Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
South Florida is 17-11 on the season and 10-5 in the Big East, yet they’ve hardly dented the national consciousness.
Having lost to No. 2 Syracuse 56-48 Wednesday night, the Bulls have a chance to get a signature win in their last three outings that could help propel them into the NCAA Tournament.
“We just haven’t been in the tournament in forever,” USF coach Stan Heath said Thursday. “It’s been 20 years, and when you’re not maybe a known commodity, one of the teams that’s perennially in there. You can’t just lightly knock on the door. You’ve got to kick it in sometimes. That’s what we’re going to have to do. We’re going to have to kick the door in.”
The Bulls host Cincinnati Sunday, visit Louisville Wednesday and host West Virginia in the season finale. All three programs are in the top 50 of the RPI, meaning the Bulls have a chance to add to their resume.
“One of the wins against the teams we’re playing will lift some eyebrows up and give us a little bit more respect,” Heath said. “It’s hard for me to understand how you can play in this league and not get respect when you beat people. It really is.”
Villanova coach Jay Wright knows all about the Bulls, having lost to them twice.
“They are as good as anybody we’ve played against. Anybody,” Wright said. “And probably the closest to Syracuse in terms of length and defensive prowess, controlling the tempo of the game. Again, we’ve gotten beaten twice so I’m probably a little skewed in my evaluation. … The media asked (after the second USF win) if you think they can play in the NCAA Tournament. I think they can win in the NCAA Tournament. I think they’re an outstanding team.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.