BullsInsider - What To Watch For: South Florida vs. Wyoming
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What To Watch For: South Florida vs. Wyoming

HONOLULU, (Dec. 25, 2021) -- Merry Christmas! Let's watch some basketball.

South Florida men’s basketball takes on Wyoming this afternoon, in the fifth-place game of the 2021 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.

USF scored a season low 39 points in an opening round loss to BYU and a season high 76 points in a win over Hawai’i.

Wyoming lost to Stanford by three in Wednesday’s opening round and squeaked past Northern Iowa with a two-point win Thursday afternoon.

South Florida, USF, Bulls
Wyoming Cowboys forward Graham Ike (33) goes to the basket in the 2021 Mountain West Conference Tournament (Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports)

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

Quick Facts

Matchup: USF (5-6) vs. Wyoming (10-2)

Date: Saturday Dec. 25

Time: 1:30 p.m. ET

Location: Honolulu, Hawai’i |Simplifi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center

Watch: ESPNU

Radio: USF Bulls Unlimited

History: USF is 1-0 all-time versus Wyoming thanks to an 85-68 neutral court win on Dec. 6, 1991.

The Opponent: The Cowboys return nine lettermen including four players who started at least seven games last season. Wyoming has a very balanced scoring attack with four players averaging at least 10 points per game.

Sophomore center Graham Ike (E-Kay) has a throwback game to a bygone era of basketball. The 6-foot-9, 252-pound lefty has very good footwork, great touch around the basket and can finish with either hand. Ike has a nearly impossible to defend turnaround jump shot, reminiscent of NBA Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes. Wyoming plays through him so much that Ike’s usage rate ranks third nationally and is close to 35 percent. USF cannot allow Ike to get deep touches. Ike is the Cowboy’s leading scorer (19.4 ppg) and rebounder (8.5). Ike is physical – he draws 7.7 fouls per 40 minutes – and skilled enough to grab a rebound and lead the fast break.

Hunter Maldonado is Wyoming’s second leading scorer at 16.9 points per game. He also averages 5.5 rebounds and assists. The 6-foot-7, 203-pounder has only made 5-of-24 perimeter shots but he is a good facilitator as a point forward of sorts. From the left side of the basket Maldonado will drive hard into the mid-post and spin back to his right for his shot. He is excellent in iso and very good in ball screen action. We also saw some impressive two-man game between Maldonado and Ike.

Xavier Dusell is one of Wyoming’s two three-point hunters. He is very good coming off of screens. Dusell uses ball screens to create space to get his shot off. If he can get downhill he’ll go but he wants to pull up and shoot. We also saw Dusell use Flare, Flex and Pin Down screens to get open for a catch and shoot.

Drake Jeffries has taken 82 shots, 78 of them were three-pointers and he makes 50 percent of them. Jeffries gets his shot off quickly and he can heat up like a microwave. USF defenders must know where he is at all times and stay down on his shot fakes.

Jeremiah Oden is long, athletic and likes to play behind the defense along the baseline for lob dunks. He likes the dunker spot for dump offs. USF must have vision when guarding him off the ball. Oden is the Cowboy’s second best offensive rebounder. He will fly in for rebounds but doesn’t do it often. He’s also good for one block per game.

Get ready to see a buncha threes because Wyoming shoots 26 three-pointers per game and averages nine makes. They play at a good pace and only average 9.9 turnovers per game.

Defensively Wyoming is almost exclusively man (98.6 percent) but does use some 2-3 zone for a change of pace.

Prediction

USF 62 Wyoming 64

To win USF must defend the perimeter, play GREAT post defense, own the glass, be physical and score efficiently.