I had the Bulls pegged for the fourth quartile (somewhere in the #13-#16 range) this season, even as I applauded their surge into the third quartile and NIT bid from last season. But not to be this time around, because too much talent (ie Dominique Jones) and experience (Chris Howard, Mike Mercer, etc.) had departed over the off season. Maybe not. South Florida took down VCU 60-59 in overtime last night, an outcome even Ken Pomeroy did not predict (the Bull's Team page will be updated by the time you read this, but he projected a VCU 69-67 win to a 59% certainty).
I know most Big East fans are asking "who the heck is VCU?". The Rams of Virginia Commonwealth University is out of the CAA conference, are coached by Shaka Smart, won the CBI post season tournament last season and have already made some noise this season. They housed Wake Forest by 21, lost to Tennessee by 5 in New York City last week (Villanova lost to the Vols by 10) and they beat UCLA by 4 to take 3rd place in the NIT Tip-Off.
South Florida is 5-3 now, having lost to Southern Mississippi (by 7 at home), Central Florida (by 6 away) and Brigham Young (by 2 in OT at the South Padre Invitational). The next few weeks will tell whether Anthony Crater (transfer from Ohio State) and Jawanza Poland (JUCO from Hutchinson CC) will be able to pick up where Jones, Mercer and Howard left off. And if Ron Anderson (transfer from Kansas State) is an upgrade at the forward spot.