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Win at Louisville makes South Florida an NCAA tourney lock


Mike Miller

If you were reluctant to include South Florida in your field of 68 heading into tonight, an omission now just makes you look silly.

Winners of five of their last six - with the only “L” on the road to Syracuse - the Bulls confidence level continues to rise after an impressive 58-52 victory over No. 19 Louisville in the KFC Yum! Center tonight.

Now clear of the nerve-racking “last four in” territory, the Bulls should be considered as an NCAA Tournament lock, even if the way they get wins isn’t very aesthetically pleasing.

Ranked first in the Big East in points allowed (57.5), Stan Heath’s club continued playing stifling defense and held Cardinals to 34.8 percent shooting, extending a streak of keeping teams below 35 percent from the floor to seven games.

What sparked the big win?

Down two with more than eight minutes to play, the Bulls held the Cardinals to just one point over the next five minutes. South Florida reclaimed the lead, pushing it to six points, and kept Louisville at bay until the final buzzer with clutch free-throw shooting.

Offensively, this is not a team that jumps out at you.

Tonight, no starter scored in double figures, a statistic that leans towards the rule rather than the exception. The Bulls leading scorer Augustus Gilchrist, who pumps in a cool 10 points a game, scored just eight points tonight on 4-9 shooting, while reserve guard Jawanza Poland poured in 16-points.

Clearly this team is not an offensive juggernaut, nor to they have a terribly threatening go-to guy. But if you’re a Bulls fan, do you care?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and your team hasn’t been dancing since 1992. As far as you’re concerned, Heath’s approach is absolute poetry in motion.