HARTFORD, Conn. — Well your old Uncle Mel witness from his seat inside the XL Center the University of South Florida hard work at the Frontier Communication American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament but once again the Bulls became their own worst enemy and the Bulls fell short of their goal.
USF stayed longer in the game against the University of Connecticut and that made the game uncomfortable for Huskies basketball coach Kevin Ollie but the Huskies did manage to win the game, 77-66, and finishing the 2016-17 basketball season for the Bulls.
Your old uncle can describe the Bulls’ effort as a scrappy team against the Huskies, in fact the Bulls had a one-point lead in the second half but once again the untimely scoring drought that is always plaguing the Bulls at critical time of the game, showed up, suited up and shot bricks.
Then there were the 21 turnovers made by the Bulls and that led to 21 points scored by the Huskies.
At the start of the game the Bull’s defense surprised Uncle Mel with their intensity they swarmed the University of Connecticut but the Huskies started the game with a 7-0 run.
Then something happen that stopped your uncle from consuming the popcorn, USF went on a 9-0 run and made the Huskies stop and look across the court and they saw a real basketball team.
Then the curtain for the Huskies’ guard Rodney Purvis took center stage as he threw his team on his shoulder, he smiled and gave a wink to the USF defense and then scored 30 points while out on the court for 39 minutes.
“I know that I played a pretty good game,” Purvis said after the game. “I’m just happy we got the win.”
As the first half progress, your old buddy watched the Bulls suffer through a 14-2 run by the Huskies to get off of the court and into the locker room for a well-earned rest leading USF by 13 points.
As your old uncle made his way through the concession stand for a cold beverage to add to the pleasure of the popcorn, it looked like that the Bulls were waiting for something to happen.
What did happen was enough to spill the freshly popped popcorn to the cola covered cement floor. USF came out to the court with an idea, a plan, adjustments and started to comeback against the Huskies.
Once again, USF looked like a real basketball team!
Leading the charge for the Bulls’ offense with good shots made by Geno Thorpe and Michael Bibby. Thorpe finished the game for the Bulls with 23 points but making eight turnovers, fouling out of the game did not help his team. Bibby scored 13 points coming off of the bench for the Bulls.
As the game got closer to the end, the Bulls found another pesky drought and then gasp for air as the Huskies ran away from the Bulls with a 10-1 run, the only point scored by USF came from a free throw made by Bibby.
So, it was a quick and uneventful trip to Hartford for USF. Just a brief appearance in the conference tournament and now the waiting starts for University of South Florida interim basketball coach Murry Bartow.
Will athletic director Mark Harlan keep Bartow employed or will he cast the line out to the pond and see what he can entice to coach basketball at the University of South Florida.
While waiting for a new coach to be hired, there are plenty of players leaving.
Leaving this program so far is Thorpe, he is saying that he will graduate from school and leave. Luis Santos asked for his release from the team but waiting to see who the coach will be is Troy Holston.
“I plan on graduating and moving forward,” Thorpe said.
Bartow waits, the players wait and the fans are waiting too for the decision that needs to be made by Harlan.
Now you know nieces and nephews, your old uncle is not afraid to stick his two cents in the conversation.
This basketball program is in a hot mess, players leaving, coaches waiting and the firing of former coach Orlando Antigua has set this program back
Plenty of games this basketball season that the Bulls were out played, outscored and got in their own way.
Plenty of friends of your old popcorn eating Uncle have said that in coaching nobody is ever going to feel sorry for you!
In this case, you could feel a little sorry for USF.
You have to feel sorry for Bartow as he tried to get the best talent that the Bulls could get out on the court, it never seemed to be enough, either not enough scoring or not enough of just holding onto the ball.
It does make your old uncle wonder, did Bartow know that his team could not score consistently or hold on to the ball?
Would he have left the Smokey Mountains for the beaches, surf and the sunshine?
Bartow’s former team East Tennessee State University won their conference title and will be going to the NCAA Basketball Tournament.
Meanwhile it is back to the golden sandy beaches, white-foaming surf and to class if any of the players choose to stay at USF- and wait!
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.