clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NCAA Tournament: Talking With the Enemy: Voodoo Five's Ken DeCelles on South Florida

Rocky might be the toughest player the Bobcats face inside today.
Rocky might be the toughest player the Bobcats face inside today.

We are all friends until we aren't, which should happen about 7 p.m. Eastern tonight.

The nice guys at Voodoo Five had asked for our help in breaking down OHIO for tonight's game against South Florida, and we obliged.

And we asked them for a little help back, because just as they ignored the MAC all season long, we tried not to watch that league that took Temple back.

So if you want the inside information on the Bulls, take a look at what Ken DeCelles had to say about our opponent tonight after the jump. And then if you need to feel better about yourself, head on over to Voodoo Five and read how I think the Bobcats can do it again.

1. A lot of people argued about whether South Florida belonged in the tournament in the first place. So does winning against Cal and then getting out of the Round of 64 help validate the season for the Bulls? What do you see as the upper limit for this team?

Ken: Any sort of postseason birth would have been fantastic before the start of the season, so making it this far has been nothing short of amazing. We only won 10 games last season, and were expecting more of the same this season. If you just looked at our resume, we looked pretty solid compared to a lot of the other teams on the bubble, and most pundits just didn't like our slow style of play.

As far as where this team could finish, who knows? They are playing some excellent basketball right now, and could hang with anyone the way they get at it on defense. Nothing would surprise me at this point.

2. This will be USF's 3rd game in 5 days. They didn't make it that far in the Big East tournament, so is there enough depth to counter the fatigue factor?

Ken: Coach Stan Heath has done a good job rotating and even extending our bench this postseason, rarely letting anyone go over 30 minutes a game. Even then, I think with our style of play we can push through any sort of fatigue that might have accumulated over the past week. We rarely eclipse 60 possessions a game, and I can't remember the last time we were goaded into a transition game. If we are forced to run you might see some fatigue in our frontcourt, but I really doubt it.

3. What was the secret to taking down Temple? It seemed like the Bulls were never going to get going before figuring out the Owls.

Ken: Finally making our shots and guarding the 3-point line. With USF's length inside, it allows our backcourt to play aggressive on the perimeter and force the opponents to hit contested shots. The Owls were only 2-for-12 from 3 when they normally shoot almost 40 percent from three.

Shaun Noriega's 3-pointer finally break our 11-plus minute drought, and you could see that it loosened the team up. If Temple could only amass a 4-point lead at halftime after the Bulls missed 22 shots in a row, there was no way they were going to hang with us once our shots started to fall.

4. Obviously a height advantage against the guard-heavy Ohio. But where do you see the edge coming from for the Bulls in this one?

Ken: Tempo. Tempo. Tempo. If the Bobcats are going to settle for contested jumpers with 15 seconds left on the shot clock, they will be playing right in USF's hands. The Bulls will milk the clock on both ends of the court, trying to find the best shot after burning off the first 25 seconds of the shot clock.

I would say our size will be a huge advantage on the offensive end, but our 3 posts only totaled 9 points with Toarlyn Fitzpatrick accounting for 7 of them. Victor Rudd is emerging as a quality scorer on the wing, and at 6-7 will be a difficult matchup at the 3. He can shoot it from anywhere, and has really started to be aggressive driving to the lane. Don't be surprised if you see a couple of massive dunks from Victor tonight.

5. Predictions (sure to go wrong)

Ken: First to 50 wins tonight, and I think it'll be the Bulls who get there first. The Bulls do just enough to earn their first trip to the Sweet 16. Bulls win 55-49.

There you go. On a side note, be confident that Rufus can take down Rocky, the South Florida mascot. Mascots don't shake hands. Mascots gotta BRAWL.