With the USF SunDome undergoing renovation, our intrepid basketball reporter will follow the South Florida basketball team around the USF campus this season, as the team plays its games in different buildings across the campus. Check back after each home game for updates (hopefully).
The South Florida Bulls opened the season with a 75-43 victory over University of Tampa at that Burger King next to the College of Education. The game got off to a rocky start, as both teams had to adjust the trajectory of their shots due to the low ceiling of the temporary venue. USF adjusted more quickly, racing out to a 22-4 lead.
Both teams were distracted by the smells of delicious fast food and shot poorly from the free throw line, with USF shooting just 46.9 percent from the charity stripe while UT was 54.5.
"When I was at the line, man, the smells, man. All I could think about was digging into a Whopper," said forward Augustus Gilchrist, who only made five of his 11 free throw attempts.
Forward Ron Anderson fouled out after playing only 18 minutes. He then went to the counter and ordered a BK Double Stacker, onion rings and an OREO Brownie pie. "I could have gone for the Triple Stacker, but (assistant) coach (Eric) Skeeters had his eye on me the whole time I was in line," said Anderson. "I think he sent the team manager over for some BK Chicken Fries just to spy on me."
The second half was a sluggish affair, as both teams suffered cramping due to Sierra Mist replacing Gatorade throughout the game. Three players for UT, Ashton Graham, Stefon Barfield and John Riles, avoided the Sierra Mist and drank ice water instead, but suffered a fate far worse than cramping. UT coach Richard Schmidt confirmed in the post-game press conference that the three players suffered post-game dysentery. UT resorted to playing all 14 players in the second half.
"I had our team prepared," said USF Coach Stan Heath. "I read a report about a seventh grader's science project where she found that Tampa-area fast-food establishments have more bacteria in their ice dispensers than in their toilet water. So my guys ordered Sierra Mist with no ice all night. It was really the difference in the game."
*Notes – At halftime, sophomore Ownevious Stuart hit a half-court shot, winning french fries for the capacity crowd of 67. But since the fryolator broke during the second half, each fan received two cold french fries. "I was just sitting here studying and the game was kind of distracting, but it was nice to get a couple fries, even if they were cold," said junior Keven Bentsen.
After the game, Coach Heath ordered BKVeggie value meals for the team. Although they normally take about 45 minutes to prepare at the on-campus Burger King franchise, Heath didn't mind since the players needed to shower up and could bring the take-out back to the dorms. "It's the healthiest thing on the menu, and high in protein so it's great for a post-game meal" Heath said.
"Man, you'd think coach would at least pony up for a Spicy TenderCrisp," said Gilchrist. "I've seen him get down on wings before. We better get buffalo wings when we play at Beef o' Brady's in the Marshall Center."