Big East Tournament: What South Florida Must Do to Earn NCAA Berth

Michael DixonAnalyst IIIMarch 3, 2012

LAWRENCE, KS - DECEMBER 03:  Blake Nash #15 of the South Florida Bulls controls the ball as Naadir Tharpe #1 and Connor Teahen #2 of the Kansas Jayhawks defend during the game on December 3, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

As things stand right now, South Florida does not deserve to be in the NCAA Tournament. The Big East has a good basketball reputation so whether they can actually get in or not on their current resume, remains to be seen. The good news is that the Bulls can get in and deserve to be there, but the following things must happen. 

A solid run in the Big East Tournament

I am not talking about winning it. Clearly, if that happens they're in, but the Bulls have enough of a regular season resume to have a little bit of breathing room. 

What absolutely can't happen is a first or second round elimination at the hands of some Big East bottom feeder. Getting to the third round of this thing is an absolute must.

If that doesn't happen it will be hard to take this team seriously as a legit tournament squad. Joe Lunardi's most recent Bracketology has USF as a bubble team and an early loss would do nothing but wreck their chances. 

Worst Case Scenario: Close loss to a top team

The Big East currently has five ranked teams in Syracuse, Marquette, Notre Dame, Georgetown and Louisville. Even if they beat up on a couple of bottom teams first, South Florida can't encounter one of the top teams only to get dropped by 25 points. 

The only way they could possibly get away with it is, if immediately follows a win against another one of those top teams. If South Florida does get destroyed in one of those matches, then the tournament committee would be better off taking a small conference school with a much better record. 

Score some points

USF hasn't hit 60 points in each of its last five games. On the season, its averaging just over 60 a game, which is good enough for 320th in the country. 

Right now, no player on the Bulls averages more than 10 points a game. Augustus Gilchrist leads all scorers at 9.9. 

If they are going to garner a spot in the tournament, this team has to put up some points. Many of the mid-major programs put up a lot of points, as they generally feature more upperclassmen than some of the "one and done" big conference schools.

South Florida needs to show that they can compete with those teams when they get hot. That means hitting 60 or even 65 on occasion.