We interrupt football season, and a rare moment of basketball optimism to bring you up to speed on what USF's other fall sports teams are up to:
Let's start with USF's one ranked team: men's golf. The Bulls moved to #16 in the country after winning The Invitational at Kiawah Island, S.C., over a field that included #8 Georgia. In three other events this season, USF finished 2nd, 2nd, and 5th. Chase Koepka won an individual title at the AutoTrader.com Collegiate Classic, and is ranked 11th in the country.
The women's golf team seems to have taken a step back from their 2012 Big East championship form, finishing 10th, 8th, 12th, and 9th in the fall season. USF's best golfer so far has been freshman Nicole Autrique, who finished 4th at the Bulldog Invitational in West Point, Mississippi.
In other golf news, USF will host the 2015 NCAA Men's and Women's Championships at The Concession in Bradenton.
If you're looking for the fall team with the best shot at making the NCAA Tournament, that would be women's soccer. They finished the regular season 9-4-5, 4-3-2 in AAC play. They drubbed UConn 4-1 in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament. The semifinals and finals will be held at the UCF Soccer/Track Complex, where the Bulls face #1 seed UCF in the quarters on Friday. Hopefully, the USF Goal Mouths are planning some kind of presence for that one.
If USF can upset the 17th-ranked Knights, they caught a break on the other side of the bracket, when #2 seed Louisville lost to #7 Memphis. During the regular season, USF beat Memphis 3-1, and drew 2-2 with other semifinalist Rutgers. USF is #62 in the RPI and lacks noteworthy wins, so the automatic bid is probably their only path to the NCAA tournament.
Men's soccer finishes its regular season 6-3-8, 2-2-4 AAC. Yes, that's eight ties in 17 games. On one hand, the team has struggled to put away wins this season, too often settling for ties in games where they dominated possession and shots. Recently they outshot Rutgers 19-13, and had higher quality shots, but couldn't find the back of the net and left Piscataway with only a scoreless draw. On the other hand, they've found ways to salvage a point in games against strong clubs, most recently a 0-0 draw at #11 Louisville. Goalkeeper Brentton Muhammad has been reliable all season.
Like the women's team, the men's team has some creditable draws (UConn, Michigan, Louisville, Temple), but not enough wins to make a serious case for an NCAA at-large bid. Also like the women's team, they claim the #5 seed in the conference tournament, and must win a road game to advance to the neutral-site quarterfinals. If USF wins at Temple Saturday, they would likely face #1 seed Louisville at FC Dallas' Toyota Stadium next weekend.
The first-ever championship event held by the American Athletic Conference was in Cross Country, held at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Connecticut. USF's women's team finished 6th, while the men finished 8th. USF's best individual finish was Kelli Williams, who finished 19th among the women with a mark of 21:39.02. Several USF runners posted personal bests in this event.
Finally, Volleyball season just passed the halfway mark. USF is 13-11, 7-3 in AAC play, and had won five matches in a row. But a sweep at the hands of first-place UCF last Friday likely ended any chance of the Bulls making the NCAAs. Volleyball doesn't play a conference tournament; the automatic NCAA bid goes to the regular-season champion. It's unlikely USF will catch unbeaten Louisville, and the Bulls lack noteworthy non-conference wins, making an at-large bid a long shot. The team looks primed to finish with about 18 wins, which would be their best season since 2009.
Sophomore Erin Fairs has won three straight AAC Player of the Week awards, and is a serious MVP candidate; freshman Amy Van Sant has taken freshman-of-the-week and other conference honors.