TAMPA, Fla. — The University of South Florida men’s basketball team hit a rough patch during the last two weeks of the regular season. But that could all be forgotten once the conference tournament tips off.
“You know as well as I do seasons can turn around quickly with really good performances in conference tournaments,” Bulls head coach Brian Gregory said.
The Bulls (8-12, 4-10) will be the number eight seed and will face number nine Temple (5-10, 4-10) on Thursday at noon. The team’s split their regular season match-ups. After four straight losses, Gregory is telling his team this tournament a fresh start.
“If we can tighten up just 10% better on defense it gives us a few more possessions in transition,” he said. “Knocking down 2-3 more open shots makes a big difference.”
Gregory points to a dramatic difference between the first half and second half of this season. The Bulls played six games, then were shut down for 32 days due to COVID-19. Since the pause, their shooting percentage has been off the mark. Before the pause, USF shot 36% on three-point field goals to 29% after the break.
“You go back and try to emphasize the things that you’ve done well,” Gregory said. “You try to really highlight those. There’s a mentality too, not only collectively playing your best basketball, but get the guys to realize that it’s their time to play their best individual basketball of the season as well.”
The Bulls leave for Fort Worth, Texas the site of the American Athletic Conference tournament on Tuesday afternoon.