Tonight the South Florida Bulls leave Florida for the first time this season to take on the #23 Oklahoma State Cowboys, USF's first ranked opponent of the season and their toughest test in non-conference play. Tipoff from Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater is at 9:00.
Let's take a look at both teams:
Oklahoma State is playing shorthanded because of several injuries. Michael Cobbins saw his first game action of the year against Virginia Tech on Saturday, after recovering from a broken big toe. Philip Jurick is still not completely recovered from a torn Achilles he suffered at the end of last season. Jean-Paul Olukemi (torn ACL) and Brian Williams (wrist) are both out for the year. And Marek Soucek is out for a few more weeks with a sprained knee. The Cowboys have a very short rotation, but the players they do have are still plenty talented and can cause USF a lot of problems.
Musa Abdul-Aleem might see his first action for the Bulls after recovering from a foot injury. His shooting touch would be a nice boost for a USF offense that has struggled with their outside shot at times, and he's another player that Heath can turn to as he tries to wear down Oklahoma State with a stream of fresh bodies. Another matchup to watch is Anthony Collins, who is giving away a few inches and 50 pounds to Marcus Smart of the Cowboys.
Friday night was the first time this year that the Bulls resembled last year's NCAA Tournament squad. They maintained tempo and possession against Georgia, worked the shot clock, got the looks they wanted, and got to the free throw line (they had a 23-9 edge over the Bulldogs in free throw attempts). The Cowboys don't play exceptionally fast, so USF should be able to play the game they want. The Bulls have improved their rebounding from early in the year, but Oklahoma State gets rebounds from most of their players, and their athleticism presents a new level of challenge.