There are no guarantees in sports, no matter the talent differential on paper. Coming in with a 3-3 record, USF was looking for an easy win over 1-7 South Carolina State. In a game where ESPN gave the USF Bulls a 93% chance to win, South Florida basketball fell victim to a big-time upset at home, 65-64. While SC State has lost a lot of close games this season, this was a game that South Florida needed to win to keep already slim preseason NCAA tournament hopes alive.
With two of USF’s next three opponents currently ranked in the top 15, in Florida and BYU, the Bulls need to get their act together quickly. With the conference schedule kicking off in just under a month for South Florida, do they have enough time to get back on track, or will this be the game that derails any and all hopes the team had this season?
USF Basketball Upset at Home by South Carolina State
Three Pointers Not Falling
While Javon Greene’s shooting woes certainly contributed, there was plenty more that contributed to the fact that the Bulls shot just 22% from three-point range. At this level, especially in a conference like the AAC, teams need to be able to shoot the ball from deep to have a chance at winning. While the Bulls shot more efficiently from inside the arc than South Carolina State, they saw firsthand just how important the long ball is.
Unfortunately for USF, poor three-point shooting is nothing new. Coming into this game, only two players (Jalyn McCreary and Javon Greene) shot higher than 29% from three. Even with a small sample size of six games, you can’t win ball games if you can’t space the floor. With teams like Wichita State, Houston, Cincinnati and many others able to shoot the lights out on any night, USF won’t win many games unless something major changes. If the Bulls can’t fix it, it’s not too crazy to believe they could end up as the cellar dwellers of AAC basketball.
Javon Greene Ice Cold
Coming into this season, there were high hopes for the fifth-year transfer from George Mason. While he did average 41% from beyond the arc coming into this game, he actually shot worse from inside the arc, shooting just 40%. In a game where every bucket was needed, Greene was nowhere to be seen, shooting an abysmal 1-13 from the field and missing on all five of his three-point attempts.
With starters Caleb Murphy and Jake Boggs shooting efficiently, all that was needed from Greene was just a little more than the worst performance of his career. Unfortunately for the Bulls, tonight wasn’t the night, as his only real contributions were from the free throw line where he hit all six attempts. Not only did he shoot poorly, but he left his team out to dry by fouling out of the game with just under two minutes left. In a game this close, you’d assume your best players would at least be able to stop from fouling out in case of overtime. His shooting definitely hurt the team, but his lack of discipline may have been the final nail in the coffin.