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What to watch for: AAC Tournament, USF vs. UCF

USF is the No. 9-seed in the 2020 Athletic Conference Tournament and will face in-state rival and No. 8-seed Central Florida. The Bulls enter the tournament having won three of their last four games.

Trailing by seven with 24.6 seconds to play Laquincy Rideau hit a three-pointer with 0.6 seconds remaining to complete the Bulls comeback win over SMU on Saturday.

UCF eviscerated ECU 94-62 on Sunday in its final regular season game.

UCF guard Darin Green Jr. drives around Memphis guard Lester Quinones during the second half at Addition Financial Arena. (Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)
UCF guard Darin Green Jr. drives around Memphis guard Lester Quinones during the second half at Addition Financial Arena. (Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)

BullsInsider.com has your quick facts and what to watch for against UCF:

Quick Facts

Matchup: USF (14-17, 7-11) vs. UCF (16-14, 7-11)

Date: Saturday, Feb. 1

Time: 1 p.m. ET

Location: Fort Worth, Texas | Dickies Arena

Watch: ESPNU

Radio: Bulls Unlimited

History: This will be the 42nd meeting between the two programs. The Bulls lead the series 23-18. The teams split their regular season games this season with the home team winning both time. This will be the first time the two teams meet in a conference tournament.

The Opponent: UCF has had a winning record in each of its first four seasons under head coach Johnny Dawkins. During conference play the Knights notched victories over No. 1 seed Cincinnati and No. 3 seed Tulsa.

Six games ago freshman Darin Green, Jr. returned to the UCF starting lineup for the first time since December 18. Over those six games Green has averaged 13.2 points per game and connected on 47.4 percent of his three-pointers. He set a UCF record for most made threes by a freshman and leads the AAC with a 41.7 percent mark from long distance. Green has size and range. He likes catch-and-shoot threes, both in transition and in UCF’s half-court offense. He is an aggressive shooter but will drive it – likes pull ups when going left. Green uses a head fake to create space, USF must locate him in transition and be there on the catch with high hands to contest.

At 6-foot-11, 240-pounds, Collin Smith is a strong, versatile big man who runs the floor well. Smith wants space for jump shots. He is a good screener – will slip screens too – rebounder and passer. Smith prefers to drive to his right, he will go to his left but likes to spin to his right off a left drive. He also is prone to fouling.

Ceasar DeJesus is an aggressive guard who looks to score. He likes to catch-and-shoot and is effective in high ball screen action. DeJesus will drive but seldom goes to the rim if you make him go to his left. If he goes to his right, his goal is getting to the rim but he does have a nice pull-up jumper and floater. Watch for his Euro-step. UCF uses DeJesus on and off the ball.

Alabama grad transfer Dazon Ingram is a strong, hard driver who attacks off ball screens. He is better going to his left and has a nice hesitation move. The 6-foot-6 guard only attempted five three-pointers in his last five games.

Brandon Mahan wants to catch and shoot it. A good rebounder Mahan will fly in from the perimeter. Frank Bertz is a shooter with range and a quick release. Will leak out in transition for throw ahead threes. Matt Milon is a lefty shooter with range. He has been streaky this season but made 36.7 percent of his threes during league play.

UCF plays mostly man (81.2 percent) but they do use zone very effectively. We’ve seen 1-2-2, 1-3-1 and a 2-3 zone by them. Sometimes the 1-2-2 will change to a 2-3 zone after the first or second pass. They will press after a timeout or a made basket.

Prediction

USF 64 UCF 63

To win USF must limit turnovers, play with toughness, don’t get sped up by the UCF press and pound the glass. UCF averages 10 OREB/game so USF will need to gang rebound.