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January 25, 2014

USF looks to bounce back against Memphis

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The Bulls are on the road as they try to regroup after being handed a 39-point loss last time out against Louisville. USF, 10-9 (1-5) have lost 5 out of their last 6 and now have to face 22nd ranked Memphis, (14-4, 4-2) for the second time this season, Sunday at 2 PM. The last time the two sides faced each other saw the Bulls fall in the Sun Dome 88 to 73.

The Tigers are averaging 80.8 PPG, allowing 70 PPG, and are pulling down 38 rebounds per contest. USF is averaging just 66 PPG and now allowing 69 PPG (just 36 RPG).

Memphis is led by senior guard Joe Jackson (6'1" 174 lbs.) who is averaging 14.1 PPG, 3.2 RPG, has 74 assists (34 turnovers) and 33 steals on the season. In the last game, he had 18 points and 5 rebounds as he dominated the USF backcourt. Sophomore forward Shaw Goodwin (6'9" 242 lbs.) is averaging 13.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG, has 28 blocks and 23 steals on the season. His size again will be an issue for the young big men of the Bulls. Senior guard Michael Dixon Jr. (6'1" 200 lbs.) who primarily comes off of the bench is averaging 11.4 PPG (25 for 68 from 3-point range, 36%), 2.2 RPG, has 45 assists (28 turnovers), and 25 steals on the year. In the last game, he went off for 18 points and 5 assists from the bench, giving the Tigers another experienced, long guard that can dominate the smaller, inexperienced USF backcourt. Freshman forward Austin Nichols (6'8" 212 lbs.) is averaging 8.8 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and has 22 blocks on the year. Senior guard Geron Johnson (6'3" 203 lbs.) is averaging 8.7 PPG, 5.6 RPG, has 67 assists (48 turnovers), 28 steals, and 13 blocks on the season. In the last meeting, he had 19 points to lead the Tigers. Freshman guard Chris Crawford (6'4" 187 lbs.) is averaging 8.6 PPG (34 for 89 from 3-point range, 38%), 3.9 RPG and has 34 steals on the season to round out their top scorers.

Just like in the first game, this contest puts two contrasting styles against each other. For the Bulls, they will have to rely on the big men inside the paint to get the job done. John Egbunu went off for 20 points and 14 rebounds in the first game and Victor Rudd had 17 points and 8 rebounds as the Bulls just used their size to outplay the Tigers in the post. The Tigers, on the other hand, use their long, athletic guards to drive, attack, and dish from all over the court, something the Bulls have struggled with all year long. Corey Allen Jr. who has a total of just 3 points the last two games, had 15 points against the Tigers, showing their guards do give up baskets, but overall, they are a dominate group that has many ways to score points.

Coach Heath said he hopes the team has a short memory and puts the ugly loss to Louisville out of their minds quickly, but it will take more than that if they want to stand a chance to Memphis. The Bulls "were playing the jersey, not the player in the jersey" against the Cardinals (as Coach Heath said), playing almost in awe of the Cardinals, something that has to be corrected heading into this game against another ranked team. If the Bulls play with the same intensity and execution that they did against the Cardinals, this game could get ugly, and fast.



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