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Buzz for Bulls at all-time high

Posted Feb 5, 2010 by Scott Carter

Updated Feb 5, 2010 at 08:47 AM

Too bad the USF men’s basketball game against Notre Dame on Sunday isn’t at the Sun Dome. USF’s upset at No. 7 Georgetown created enough buzz around town that the school’s single-game attendance record (10,444) set against Florida in December 2001 could have been threatened.

Instead, the Bulls play their next two on the road—Sunday at Notre Dame and Feb. 13 at Marquette. They don’t play at home again until Feb. 16 against Cincinnati.

To check out our story that ran on the front of The Tampa Tribune today, click here.

One of the more interesting facts in the story is that USF, despite this being the 39th season of the men’s basketball program, has never cracked the Top 25 poll. The closest the Bulls came was in December 1991 prior to a loss at Cincinnati on New Year’s Eve.

For long-time USF fans who remember those years, here is a story that will take you down memory lane:

Tuesday December 31, 1991
Section SPORTS
Page 5

Bulls moving closer to Top 25

JOEY JOHNSTON
Tribune Staff Writer

CINCINNATI — The University of South Florida Bulls are getting unprecedented national recognition. They received 58 votes — the most in school history — in Monday’s Associated Press Top 25 poll. As the fourth team listed, they are, in effect, ranked 29th in the country.

USF with more points than North Carolina State, LSU and UNLV? That day has arrived.

Are the Bulls worthy? Tonight, for the only time this season, USF can showcase its team on national television with a made-for-ESPN, New Year’s Eve date at Cincinnati.

“All the games are big for us,” USF center Gary Alexander said. “But we want to keep this momentum going and show the nation that we have some players at South Florida.”

USF (8-1) defeated then-No. 23 Iowa 85-78 Saturday night to win the Tampa Tribune Holiday Invitational at the Sun Dome. It was the Bulls’ first win over a Big Ten Conference team, and came after victories over teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference (Florida State), Southeastern Conference (Florida) and Western Athletic Conference (Wyoming).

“With their recent impressive wins, South Florida probably deserves more national recognition than they are getting,” Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins said.

Regardless of the recognition factor, the Bulls need wins over quality teams. The Metro Conference champion does not receive an automatic NCAA Tournament bid this season. So the Bulls are battling the computer used to determine a team’s power rating.

When USF beats FSU, which had a road victory at North Carolina, and Iowa, which could defeat some higher-ranked Big Ten teams, its translates to big positives on the computer.

“South Florida is not a flash in the pan,” Iowa coach Tom Davis said. “Their level of talent is right there with many of the Big Ten teams we face.

“The key for them will be to play consistently and play well in their league. They’ve got to do well in the Metro games and build on that. Based on what I’ve seen, they’re going to be a force to contend with.”

Copyright © 1991, The Tampa Tribune and may not be republished without permission.