After a long off-season, one that followed a bad year, the Bulls are back in action as they begin the 2016-17 season. Here is a break down of what this team could look like and what we should expect as this season begins.
USF went just 8-25 last year including 4-11 in the AAC and 4-14 at home in the Sun Dome. During the tough year, the Bulls managed just 63.2 PPG (allowing 71.3 PPG). They were also 133 for 465 from 3-point range (28.6%) which ranked 339th in the country. Simply put, the Bulls were a mess, couldn’t stop anyone and couldn’t hit anything, especially from beyond the arc (despite not being afraid to launch the long shots).
Coach Orlando Antigua is in his third year now but has just a 17-48 overall record entering this season. And as this year begins, his team has been picked to finish in 11th place out of 12 teams in the AAC. That’s bad and there’s no way to sugar coat it. The roster is young and lacks any known impact players outside of one.
That roster that Coach Antigua has to begin the year is an interesting mix that has no seniors among its ranks. Leading the group is sophomore guard Jahmal McMurray who was named 2nd team all AAC pre-season, but is now suspended for the opening month of the year. This is a huge blow to the Bulls meager hopes because outside of him, not much is known about this group and what they are even capable of. If you had to ask me, I would struggle a bit to name any known top recruiting scoring threats that are ready to go from day one.
One of the few key returning players this year is junior center Ruben Guerrero. The 7′ big man averaged 5.1 points per game, 5.6 rebounds per game and totaled 41 blocks last year. USF will really need him to step up even bigger this year because as I said before, there are too many unknowns on this roster starting with sophomore guard Troy Holston.
Holston was a spark in his freshman season, averaging 7.9 PPG and was one of the few outside shooting threats for the Bulls but he missed all of last year after an ACL injury he suffered prior to the season. Is he ready to play every night at a high level? Others like Tulio Da Silva and Luis Santos came to USF with a lot of hype, but we haven’t seen it yet. Others like transfer Geno Thorpe are new and still haven’t had a chance to prove themselves, so again, more unknowns.
So what should we expect this year? Well, it’s hard to say but it probably won’t be an NCAA bid (I’m being sarcastic here). I’ll just brutally honest, I don’t see this team winning more than 10 games or so. I hope I’m wrong and am willing to eat my words but just looking at everything, I just don’t see it happening. They get it started tonight against FAMU, so get your popcorn (or adult beverages) ready for a interesting year ahead.
by Matt Staton
SoFloBulls.com Columnist | @USFMatt
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