There have been a lot of low points in the history of USF basketball. We're so conditioned to losing that it takes a lot to really knock us off balance. Today, however, was so profoundly bad on every possible level that it's clear to us that this program has, at long last, hit rock bottom.
Let's start with the "effort" on the court. I actually laughed out loud when the official postgame story came out from Athletics and it said that Syracuse "outlasted" USF 72-49. I mean, I guess "outlasted" is technically true, because while Syracuse didn't exactly have its best game, their effort did "outlast" the Bulls, who put forth almost no effort. They were slow and timid with the ball against the 2-3 zone when quick and decisive was necessary. Their spacing was bad. They took bad shots. Passes went awry all game long to throw off the timing or turn the ball over. It was an incoherent offense for most of the afternoon. I mean, Syracuse has only been running the 2-3 zone for like 35 years. I'm pretty sure there's some video you can watch to get up to speed on how to attack it. And that's not even getting into the defense, where the lack of effort was plainly obvious.
Gus Gilchrist went 2-for-10 and left the court covered in postage stamps to indicate how hard he mailed it in. Jawanza no longer gets the all-caps hashtag treatment until he stops taking so many stupid fouls and removing himself from the game. Every Syracuse fan complaining about Scoop Jardine would want to drink Flavorade out of a bathtub if they had Anthony Crater as their point guard. Jarrid Famous was part of the worst defensive play of the season, as he and Gus were "double-teaming" Rick Jackson so effectively that Jackson backed in from the foul line unimpeded and scored an easy two points. More generally, the Orange moved the ball around effortlessly and if not for their own lapses of focus, they could have named the final score. Think about this: Syracuse played about a B-minus game and won by 23 points, on the road.
Oh wait, this wasn't exactly a road game, was it? More after the jump.
Here's where today's game was even more disgraceful. Instead of holding this contest at the Sun Dome, it was moved downtown to the St. Pete Times Forum (or "Time's" as the GoUSFBulls.com headline read for awhile today). And it's obvious why they did it when you look at pictures of the crowd -- it was specifically so there would be a larger venue where they could sell more tickets to Syracuse fans. The split of the crowd was at least 2-to-1 in favor of Syracuse, and I couldn't see a single section where there wasn't at least one orange T-shirt, including the USF student section. Moving the game to the Forum had no effect on the size of the USF crowd, and might have even made it smaller. So I guess this means we've officially given up on having a home-court advantage and are now doing whatever will sell the most tickets to the other team's fans. That makes us roughly equal to the Vince Naimoli Devil Rays. Might as well move the next two games to the Forum too, because you know the Marquette and Notre Dame fans are going to flock to the Sun Dome in their rugby shirts with the popped collars.
(And not related to anything -- USF sent an e-mail to students about yesterday's hoops doubleheader. It reminded them that the women's team was playing "Gerorgetown" back at the Sun Dome (also misspelled -- Sun Dome is two words) on Saturday night, with graphics and everything. Typos happen, but there's also the tiny fact that the women's team was playing Notre Dame, not Georgetown. Nice going.)
Men's basketball has been horrible year after year after year after year after year and then about two months when it wasn't so horrible and now it's horrible again. Do you realize that the only thing standing between us and #BootUSF hashtags on Twitter is Skip Holtz? Do you realize that fans of mid-majors see USF games on ESPN channels and think, "What a waste of airtime"? Do you realize that Stan Heath hasn't brought in one average-quality Big East player in four years, not even by luck? Do you realize that almost everyone appears to loathe each other -- players to coaches, coaches to players, and players to players? Do you realize that ticket discounts are useless because the fan base has hit unshakable apathy and it's going to take something nearly inconceivable to get them back? Do you realize that players and potential recruits notice when no one shows up? (Yes, there's a badly-needed practice facility under construction, but when no one shows up to game, that doesn't help as much as you think.) Do you realize that USF is probably the fifth- or sixth-best team in Florida?
Granted, we don't really have a good solution to this problem. But we're also not sure anyone is seriously trying to find one. What it is going to take for someone to come out publicly and say, "I am sick and tired of how USF basketball has been dead weight for the last 10 years, and I am dedicating myself to fixing it"? Do we just want to keep coasting along with this sport and let whatever interest is left for basketball at this school wither away, or is someone going to stake themselves on at least trying to turn it around?
I wanted to finish with a song from our queefcore theme, but this is a situation that calls for more screaming and anger than that. After much searching through my iPod, I came up with "Wake Up (Make a Move)" by Lostprophets. 'Cause every day we all get older, and every day we all get colder. Wake up, wake up, wake up, yeah I'm so sick of waiting for us to make a move.
LOST PROPHETS WAKE UP (via mona14liza)