The South Florida Bulls didn't get much time to regroup from their loss to Notre Dame on Saturday. In fact, they didn't get any time at all. USF immediately headed to the airport to fly to Milwaukee, where they face the Marquette Golden Eagles tonight. This is the first of two meetings in nine days between USF and Marquette -- the Bulls host the rematch at the Sun Dome on February 6.
Let's take a look at tonight's matchup:
It's strange to see two of Marquette's best players outside the starting lineup, but there they are. Both Davante Gardner and Jamil Wilson get more minutes and put up better stats than Chris Otule and Juan Anderson. Gardner, who you probably remember as a one-time USF recruiting target, is likely going to be a pain in the butt for USF tonight. He can score down low, he shoots a high percentage, and he's 10th nationally in the number of fouls he draws per 40 minutes, according to KenPom. Then he does damage at the free throw line, where he shoots nearly 86%.
In fact, getting to the free throw line is one of the things Marquette does best. They average over 23 free throws per game, and shoot them at a 73.3% clip as a team. That, and their good percentage shooting 2-pointers makes up for their poor 3-point shooting (only 30.5%, although they don't shoot that many of them). The Bulls' defenders will have to stay in front of the Golden Eagles' guards and keep them out of the lane. If they can force them away from the basket, they can hopefully create some bad shooting and hang around in this one. But they also need to make shots of their own, particularly three-pointers.
Furthermore, USF will have to watch out for bats tonight.