YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles take the floor at the Sun Dome tomorrow night for a tilt with the Bulls of South Florida. To get you ready for the matchup, we traded questions (and podcasted!) with SBN's scrumptious South Florida-devoted blog, Voodoo Five. Our thanks to Ken and Krew for taking the time to answer our hard-hitting questions. (Our answers to their questions can be found here.)
Before we get to the questions, though: I've been conducting this train for a while now, but just in case you haven't heard me, I'll say it again: start reading Voodoo Five. Ken, V5, and Toro kill it on a daily basis, which is made all the more impressive during the winter months since USF is, kindly, a putrid basketball program. So: go. Read. Trust me. You won't regret it.
To the inquiries!
Anonymous Eagle: So: Saturday's game vs. Syracuse was about as low as this season could get, no? Why did USF move the game to the St. Pete Times Forum? And how many of the 10,000 people in attendance were Syracuse fans?
Voodoo Five: It's pretty low. I think it's a good idea to have a high profile game move to the Forum, but it was a straight money grab this season. Syracuse fans invade the Sun Dome like no other, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was a 75-25 split for Syracuse fans at the Forum. Just a perfect storm of USF ineptness, and a quality SU team to create a home court advantage for the Orange. It's almost like how the Red Sox and Yankees invade the Trop when they play the Rays.
AE: We've addressed disappointment. Have there been any pleasant surprises this year, in a particular game or from a particular player?
V5: No. No. No. We took BYU to 2OT which is nice, and we took to UConn to OT as well which isn't looking so great now that Kemba Walker is falling back to Earth. Jawanza Poland has shown flashes of brilliance, and his dunks are something to look forward to each game, but he gets into foul trouble so quickly that it offsets it. Ron Anderson Jr. is probably the only guy who has played his tail off for Stan Heath this season. He's a high motor guy down low who has a knack for grabbing rebounds. He'll guard the opposing team's best post player, and will take a charge or two if needed.
AE: How is the fanbase feeling about Stan Heath? Got his back, or is he on the hot seat?
V5: Even though some idiots want Heath's head, I am 100% behind him. Even if they wanted to fire him, he's not going anywhere because he signed a 5 year 900k contract extension after our 20 win effort. Stan has won everywhere he's been, but it's hard to recruit at a place where the fans don't care and the facilities are complete trash. Thankfully, we are finally building a basketball practice center, but until we get a couple of guys who buy in to building this program we will consistently stay near the bottom of the conference.
AE: I'm looking at Pomeroy's numbers trying to find something nice to say about USF. Looks like ... the Bulls hit the offensive boards (21st in the nation), but there seem to be plenty of opportunities since USF is 280th in eFG%. So, other than that: what does South Florida do well?
V5: If you've followed USF basketball for a while, you know that we've been an awful free throw shooting team. This year is the exact opposite. For some reason, we're shooting 71% from the charity stripe which is the best percentage that I can remember. Other than that we stink.
AE: Gus Gilchrist is averaging 12-plus a game, but he's only shooting 43% from the field, which seems like a low number for a guy who's 6'10". What's the story? Big man needs his jumpers?
V5: He has a great shot. Gus just thinks that every look is a good one, and he will throw it up regardless if its a putback dunk or a contested 20 footer. There's been multiple times this season where he throws up a 2-10 or 4-17 effort from the field, and no one makes him accountable for not passing out of a triple team like he did a couple of times against Cuse.
AE: We've been talking about rivals a lot recently, after we were witness to a brief but satisfying skirmish between 'Cuse and Georgetown fans on our blog. Does South Florida have a rival in the Big East? Or beyond?
V5: No and I think that's one of the biggest problems with the program other than the fact we can't play basketball. WVU seems to be brewing some animosity, and Rutgers gets under our skin because of the Greg Schiano/Jim Leavitt feud that was going on for the last couple of seasons. I think Louisville would be a great rivalry, but I really can't hate them. Louisville basically got us in the conference and nothing they do really sets me off.
AE: What's the best bar in Tampa to watch a USF game?
V5: There are a couple of quality establishments in the area, but for my money its MacDinton's Irish Pub on South Howard. Tons of TVs, great beer, quality food, and the wait staff is very talented.
AE: Not a question, but a comment from a cold, old man: thanks for this. (Oh, and a follow up: how many of you are married to ex-Bull cheerleaders? I set the over/under at 1.5 but I took the over.)
V5: I can't speak for Voodoo, but I did not marry a Sun Doll, and Toro is the smartest of the three.