The South Florida Bulls are hoping that a quicker team will get them back to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season after reaching the tournament for the first time in 20 years last season. Last year's team gave up the fewest points in Big East history, but with the return of players such as Shaun Noriega and Jawanza Poland, the Bulls are hoping for more offense.
The Bulls are particularly excited to play this season with the $35 million renovations to the Sun Dome. Senior forward Toarlyn Fitzpatrick is excited to see how the team reacts to the raised expectations:
"I've been on the good teams and bad teams. Coach (Stan Heath) is expecting a lot from me," the King graduate said. "I'm just excited to show more of a leadership role, to take the younger guys under my wing and show them what things to do and what not to do to help our team win."
Head coach Stan Heath hopes that despite the team going more up-tempo with their new offensive pace that they will not forget the strong defensive play that got them to the Tournament last season:
"It's the most different team I've ever coached," Heath said. "We don't necessarily have true low-post players. All of our guys with size like to gravitate to the outside. I'm not going to change a Toarlyn Fitzpatrick, who was my leading 3-point shooter, percentage-wise, last year. I'm going to let him shoot, and let the other team that has those 7-foot, 6-foot-10 guys chase him outside.
The Bulls open the 2012-13 season against the Central Florida Knights at the Sun Dome on Saturday, Nov. 10 with tip off scheduled for 7 p.m.