TAMPA, JAN. 21, 2014 – USF’s men’s basketball team continues its toughest part of the schedule on Wednesday when it hosts 12th-ranked and defending national champion Louisville at 7 p.m.
It will be the fourth ranked team USF (10-8, 1-4 American) has faced this season. It is also the first time the Bulls will play a defending national champion since Dec. 28, 2011 when they lost to UConn 60-57.
A win on Wednesday would not only break a two-game losing skid but would be the Bulls’ first win over a ranked team since Feb. 29, 2012 over No. 19 Louisville 58-51.
The Cardinals are 16-3 (5-1 American) and have won five of its last six games including a 76-64 win at UConn last time out. They are led by senior Russ Smith’s 18.4 points per game. The guard averaged 20.5 points last week to be named American Athletic Conference Player of the Week. Louisville is coached by Rick Pitino, now in his 13th season with the Cardinals.
Louisville leads the all-time series 27-4 including an 11-2 advantage in Tampa. The Cardinals won the last meeting, 59-41 on Feb. 17 of last season in the Sun Dome.
» Javontae Hawkins is coming off a career-high 15 points on Saturday against Cincinnati which was more points than his previous six games combined (14).
» Victor Rudd has scored in double figures in all but three games this season
» Victor Rudd and Corey Allen Jr. are the only two players to start in every game this season for the Bulls
» In every game Victor Rudd has recorded at least 10 rebounds, he’s had at least 10 points for a double-double
» Musa Abdul-Aleem is 13-of-53 (24.5 percent) from three-point range, but 9-of-14 from two
» Anthony Collins has led the team in assists in every game he’s played this season (8, missed the first two and last eight due to injury)
» John Egbunu has recorded at least one blocked shot in all but three game this season (FGCU, Mississippi State, vs. Cincinnati)
» John Egbunu’s 26 blocks on the season is the third most ever at USF among freshmen, first is 50
» 41.9 percent of USF’s scoring has come from three newcomers: Corey Allen Jr., John Egbunu and Chris Perry
» 22.5 percent of USF’s scoring has come from Victor Rudd
» USF is 0-5 when shooting under 40 percent from the field
» USF is 6-2 when outrebounding its opponent
» USF is 5-1 when leading at halftime, but 2-7 when trailing at the break
» USF is 7-0 when committing fewer turnovers than its opponent
» Victor Rudd is one of three players (TaShawn Thomas/UH, Isaiah Sykes/USF) in the American Conference to rank in the top 10 in scoring and rebounding. 10th in scoring (15.3), 6th in rebounding (7.1)
» Corey Allen Jr. ranks 25th in the conference in scoring (11.1), 25th in rebounding (4.4), 13th in assists (3.4), 12th in steals (1.6), third in minutes played (35.4)
» John Egbunu ranks 7th in the conference in rebounding (6.9), the most of any freshman, 8th in blocked shots (1.4), 7th in offensive rebounding (2.7)
» Chris Perry ranks 16th in the conference in rebounding (5.7)
The Bulls played No. 19 Cincinnati on Jan. 18 the first of three consecutive games against a ranked opponent. It will be the first time since the 2010-11 season that the Bulls will play three straight ranked teams. Then USF lost to No. 8 Notre Dame 78-55 (2/12/11), at No. 4 Pittsburgh 67-55 (2/16/11) and No. 9 Georgetown 61-55 (2/19/11).
Senior forward Victor Rudd is 22 points away from becoming the 18th player to reach 1,000 career points at USF. Now in his third season with the Bulls, Rudd totaled 38 points as a freshman at Arizona State (2009-10).
USF will play its third consecutive ranked opponent when it plays at #23/22 Memphis on Sunday at 2 p.m. on CBSSN.