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November 9, 2013

USF takes on Tennessee Tech for opener

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The 2013-14 men's basketball season begins for the Bulls and Head Coach Stan Heath and his group enter the year with high expectations.

After going 12-19 (3-15) last year and just 10-8 at home in the new Sun Dome, the Bulls are hoping to put that behind them and get off to a good start to begin the year. The Bulls will begin their quest for the postseason with a game against Tennessee Tech Saturday.

The Golden Eagles of Tennessee Tech went 12-17 (5-11) last season while averaging 64 PPG and pulling down 33 RPG. The Bulls should have the size advantage in this game and could dominate at both ends, but there is nothing guaranteed in collegiate sports.

The Golden Eagles could struggle on offense to begin the game as they will be trying to replace Jud Dillard who led the team with 19 PPG last season. Head Coach Steve Payne will need others on his team to step up and help on the scoring end.

Senior forward Dennis Ogbe (6'7" 220 lbs.) averaged 10.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 1 block per game last year and is their returning big time star. Ogbe is a skilled inside player, but the USF front line outweighs him with Leday, Egbunu, and Rudd up front, which will make life hard for him to get clean looks at the basket.

Senior guard Jeremia Samarrippas averaged 9.5 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 1.3 assist to turnover ratio and 1.8 steals per game, making him a weapon at the guard spot. Anthony Collins (knee) will have to be ready to deal with Samarrippas and his speed in the open court, although Hawkins could defend him and use athletic skills to lock him down for the game (or Corey Allen). Senior guard/forward Matt Marseille (6'6" 205 lbs) averaged 5.2 PPG and 3.5 RPG last season. He will probably be tasked to guard Victor Rudd, a matchup that Rudd should be able to win on the perimeter. Another player to watch is junior guard/foward Javon McKay (6'5" 195 lbs.) who averaged 3.3 PPG and 3.3 RPG last season.

On paper, the Bulls have a lot of advantages, but after seeing how things went last year, this team is taking nothing for granted. Head Coach Stan Heath will have his team focused and ready to go in this one. The Bulls will face Bethune Cookman (Tuesday at 7 PM) after this, but first, time to get that first win of the year.



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