The next school in my Five Questions series is Notre Dame's next Big East Conference opponent, the University of South Florida. My USF, "Biggest Fan of the Big East" fellow contestant, blogger Matthew Stanton from The Bull Rush, has agreed to stop by and answer my five questions!
What team are you most looking forward to playing in Big East play?
That's a tough question. Playing against UCONN last week was a lot of fun (having courtside seats made it even better). I would have to say the Providence game coming up on the 29th is the game I can't wait for. It will at home in the Tampa Bay Times Forum and will also be my Volvo Weekend, so that game should be a lot of fun and it could be a big win for USF.
What is the biggest improvement USF has made this year from last year?
Simple, point guard. Last year, Anthony Crater led the team and it was rough to watch. He was dismissed last Spring and now true freshman Anthony Collins has taken over and already there is a big difference. He can drive faster to the basket, makes better decisions (had 10 assists in the game against Rutgers), and can score, something Crater never did to save his life. With him running the point, he is picking up the offense.
(Picture courtesy J. Meric)
Who is your favorite player on the team?
It has to be Crater. When I played basketball, I ran the point, so I have a lot of respect for how hard the position is and for a true freshman to take over a team in the Big East is no simple task. Coach Heath has faith in him and so far, he is handling the situation very well.
What quiet player will become a standout player before the year is over?
It could be Victor Rudd. Rudd sat out last season after transferring to USF from Arizona State. At 6'7", he has the size and skill level needed to compete in the Big East and has the faith of the coaching staff behind him as well. Coach Heath said he has the potential to add big time scoring for USF, but so far he has been quiet. He scored just 5 points last game and aside from a 3-point shot at the buzzer vs. UCONN, he has been silent. He has been taken out of the starting lineup and his minutes are low right now, but he was sick for a bit, so hopefully he is working his way back and will find his game soon.
What is the best part about playing in the Big East?
It's the best basketball league in the world, no question about it. Every game is a possible upset, whether your facing Syracuse or DePaul, anyone can beat anyone in the league and that's what makes it so much fun. USF is no basketball powerhouse, but it's getting better, bringing in recruits and upsetting top opponents along the way. If we want to be a power, we are in the best league for it and the players that come here know that.
[Bonus] What is your prediction for the score of the Notre Dame - USF game?
Putting me on the spot, but it's all in good fun. I think it's going to be a close game. USF is one of the better defensive teams in the conference, playing a slow style and really getting after people. Collins will be on the road for his first real taste of Big East action away from home, so it could be a tough game for him to get going. I think ND wins this game, but it will be super close, 68 to 63.
Hey, stop by Matthew's blog, The Bull Rush, and show him a little love!
But don't forget to stop by my "Biggest Fan of the Big East" profile and (please) cast a vote my way!
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