It's Saturday. There is a game tomorrow. Only one way to preview this, by enlisting the help of the enemy. With us today is Ken DeCelles
1) How big a revelation is Anthony Collins. He seems to be the difference maker comparing this USF team to last years
Anthony Collins has been amazing after watching the Anthony Crater and Friends horror show at the point last year. He's aggressive, has exceptional court vision, and is one of the quickest players in the country. Collins is even starting to gain confidence with his shot, which includes a runner down the lane that is almost as good as Dominique Jones'. He does turn the ball over quite a bit, but I'll take that right now with everything else he does for the team.
2) The Bearcats are a team that has thrived on the turnover margin all year long. The Bulls haven't. Why is that the case and what will Stan Heath do to address it
I just don't think its in our mantra to force turnovers. We play tough man-to-man defense that makes you use the shot clock and force a contested shot 90% of the time. Sure we will force a few turnovers and grab some points in transition, but we do not want to open the game up. Its just not who we are.
3) The Bulls are one of the longest teams in the conference, at least among starters, how adept are the bigs at leveraging that length into production?
Defensively they've been excellent. Hugh Robertson should receive some consideration for Big East Defensive Player of the Year with the way he's been able to stop the best scorers in the league on the wing. Victor Rudd, Ron Anderson Jr., and Augustus Gilchrist are able to clog things in the lane and makes it almost impossible to get a clean shot off.
Offensively its been a little tougher. Gilchrist still wants to stray from the paint at times, even when his post game has been miles better than previous seasons. Hugh will get 6-10 somehow on offensive putbacks and drives to the basket. Rudd is getting better at attacking the rim after sitting on the perimeter for most of the season. Ron is a monster on the offensive glass, and will get a majority of his points that way.
None of these players are a consistent presence on the box score, but at least one of them will usually find a way to put up 15 points to lead the team in scoring.
4) The bench play appears to be a big positive factor for this group. Who stands out in that group
Toralyn Fitzpatrick and JAWANZA! Poland are the two players you should keep an eye on when they get on the court. Fitzpatrick is probably the best all-around scorer on the team, and at 6'8" is a defensive challenge for anyone to defend. He's the team's best 3-point shooter and has consistently hit big shot after big shot this season.
Poland is an athletic win who is brought in for instant offense. He's still a little streaky from distance, but if he gets going, he can easily put up 10-15 points in a half. Also, don't let him have a clear path to the lane. He will throw it down, and it will be amazing to watch.
This team has been amazing at our temporary home, and I think that trend continues tonight. I think Cincinnati might come out of the game a little flat after the Louisville win, and the Bulls will capitalize. It will be close, but the Bulls hit the magic mark of 61 points and pull out a 3 point victory.
Thanks again to Ken DeCelles for taking the time to answer these questions.