(12) South Florida vs. (13) Ohio
Senior NBA & College Basketball Editor
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(12) South Florida Bulls
The Bulls may not be the most exciting team in the field to watch, but their style of play is not easy to go up against and they are in the Round of 32 because of it. The Bulls, who beat California in the first round, trailed the Temple Owls 19-15 at halftime. It was looking like it was going to be another grind-it-out type game that they’ve become known for. Then, they exploded for 43 second-half points en route to a 58-44 upset of the Owls. The Bulls do not have a single scorer who averages double figures, but that’s turned out to be a strength as there’s not one or two players opposing defenses can key in on. Victor Rudd Jr. and Anthony Collins were their leaders against the Owls, scoring 17 apiece. As a whole they shot far better from three (47 percent) than they did from the field (34 percent). Those are odd numbers for a winning team, but they’re good enough when you hold the opposition to just 15 made field goals. As long as the Bulls can avoid prolonged dry spells offensively they’re going to continue to give teams a lot of trouble.
(13) Ohio Bobcats
All eyes were on Michigan guards Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. going into their second round game against the Bobcats. As it turns out, everyone should have been paying more attention to D.J. Cooper of the Bobcats because not only was he the best guard on the floor, he was the best player period. Cooper scored a game-high 21 and the Bobcats forced five straight Wolverine misses to close out the game with a 65-60 victory. The Bobcats had no issues whatsoever against the Wolverines defense, but are in for a different type of challenge against South Florida. The Bulls will not rush things like the Wolverines did. They’ll play their patented methodical pace and put the Bobcats in a position where they have to make the most out of every possession. They will give Cooper the attention he deserves, so it’s going to be important for his teammates to step up and capitalize on the opportunities that presents them.
HOOPSWORLD’s pick: South Florida. The Bulls have really proven themselves this week. They’re a hard team to play against and we’re going to place our faith in their defense being good enough again as their historic season continues.
Who do you think is going win? Chime in by leaving a comment below!