It's been 20 years since the USF Bulls made the NCAA Tournament. Twenty years. To put that in some perspective, at the time, Bill Clinton wasn't even a candidate for President yet and the New York Yankees were a floundering wreck of a team. The 1980s had just finished, but were still alive in some of the fashion and music choices of the time. It's...been a while.
At the moment, though, the USF Bulls are so close to the NCAA Tournament. So close. At the moment, they're sitting just on the wrong side of the bubble, but a strong showing down the stretch against key conference matchups (Cincinnati, Louisville, and West Virginia) will make or break their chances. A sweep of all three games would be incredible. Two wins out of three would make things dicey, but possible. And all that starts at 1:00pm today, when the Bulls take on the Cincinnati Bearcats in Tampa.
This is a huge game for the Bulls, but they have a good shot at pulling off a win here. As Ken DeCelles pointed out over at SB Nation's Bulls blog, Voodoo Five, this team is better and deeper than anyone expected:
This is a team that has exceeded all expectations. Anthony Collins is one of the best freshman players in the country and is our best point guard since Chucky Atkins. He has one of the quickest first steps in all of college basketball, and is starting to assert himself on the offensive side of the ball. Victor Rudd, Jawanza Poland, and Hugh Robertson all have the ability to bring down the house with some monster dunks. Toarlyn Fitzpatrick is emerging as our most consistent offensive player and can score from anywhere on the court. Ron Anderson Jr. is a monster on the glass and does all the little things that helps a team win. Augustus Gilchrist can fill up a box score and has the ability to score 30 on any given night. Shaun Noriega is deadly from three and change a game in just seconds (Just ask Providence.). Blake Nash can still contribute at a high level and score anywhere on the court when given the chance. Even Alberto Damour and Mike McCloskey are worth the price of admission for their antics on the bench.
For more on the USF Bulls, check out the best Bulls blog around, Voodoo Five.