Remember, the DoJo-Go-Pro-O-Meter is not interested in hearsay, rumors, or gossip… only fact.

Stan Heath had an interesting quote in an entry on Scott Carter’s blog that warranted a change in the meter.

Heath clarified his stance on Jones’ future on Thursday via text message, saying:

“I don’t have any expectations on Jones returning to school,’’ Heath said. “Until all the information about the draft and his most accurate status within the draft is available – I will not have an expectation nor will I advise him on what I feel is best.’’

That made me wonder if Heath had had any players leave early for the NBA at Arkansas. (He wasn’t at Kent State long enough for that to happen.) The only one that did so was Ronnie Brewer, who gave up his senior year to enter the NBA Draft. Jones and Brewer had similar production in their junior year, although Brewer’s measurables were a little better. The Jazz took Brewer 14th overall in 2006, making him the last lottery pick. Brewer declared for the NBA Draft in late April that year, but didn’t hire an agent right away. Heath’s quote at the time was interesting.

“It probably is a very smart thing for him to do. He definitely wants to play in the NBA, he knows that’s a big part of his future,” Heath said. “The rule was specifically made for guys like him — guys who really are considered in that realm of first-round draft pick, somewhere … who knows? With that, Ronnie is going to make sure that he doesn’t do anything to jeopardize his eligibility.”

So it stands to reason that if Dominique Jones were to make a move up draft boards – say, if he goes off in the NIT and the Bulls end up winning the thing – Heath would recognize DoJo’s opportunity and not stand in his way. Based on this, the DoJo-Go-Pro-O-Meter is being adjusted up to 40%.

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Our Las Vegas Correspondent DoJoMojo was nice enough to throw a liveblog together from one of the finest establishments that the city has to offer. Read about it after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Suit Number Two

March 10, 2010

If you don’t understand the title, Chris Howard told Coach Heath and the staff to pack five suits for the Big East Tournament. Today we present our pick of what Coach Heath will wear today.

Get it done today Coach.

Suit Number One

March 9, 2010

After the Connecticut game, Chris Howard told the coaches to pack five suits. Here is our prediction for suit number one vs DePaul today.

Busy Day on Fowler Ave

March 3, 2010

I hope that the Athletics Department has the Red Bull on ice today, because they are going to be everywhere.

The first step of the new Athletics District will start today, as the groundbreaking for the long overdue Pam and Les Muma Basketball Center will happen this afternoon. The Muma Center will give both Stan Heath and Jose Fernandez with weight rooms, practice gyms, a video room for studying game tape, and their own locker rooms.

The Muma Center will also be a huge help in recruiting. USF was always harped on for not having Big East quality facilities, and finally Heath will have the resources needed to compete with other high-major programs. Unfortunately, when you have to share The Corral between Volleyball and the Basketball programs, you are going to have scheduling difficulties, and sometimes it led to some teams practicing in the Campus Recreation Center. Thankfully, the days of me interfering with their practices are coming to an end.

You can see some of the other rendering of the Muma Center at the Bulls Club here, and hopefully they will have some more renderings at the groundbreaking today.

The other major thing today is Coach Holtz’s first Town Hall meeting today at the Corral, which Athletics is calling The Inside Skip. Coach Holtz will be talking with the fans from 6:30pm to 8:00pm, and will be answering any and all questions. Hopefully I will be able to make it to the Q&A today, so check back with us tomorrow, and we will have a report of the meeting.

Also to our Pinellas County readers, Coach Holtz will be at The Venue tomorrow for another Town Hall meeting at 6:30pm.

USF Outruns Providence 99-93

February 28, 2010

I saw the final score and thought to myself, “Well, Providence plays so fast. Both teams must have had the ball a bunch of times, that’s why the score was so high. USF isn’t that bad at defense.” So I figured out the teams’ offensive efficiency for the game. You take the number of possessions by a team in the game and divide the number of points they scored by it. (Often the stat is multiplied by 100 and expressed as a ratio – I didn’t bother doing that.) I calculated it for the Bulls’ last 10 games just to see if this game was some kind of anomaly.

USF OPPONENTS - LAST 10 GAMES
Providence - 105 points, 114 possessions - .921
Seton Hall - 74 points, 103 possessions - .718
Pittsburgh - 61 points, 91 possessions - .670
Georgetown - 64 points, 93 possessions - .688
Notre Dame - 65 points, 95 possessions - .684
Marquette  - 63 points, 88 possessions - .716
Cincinnati - 57 points, 89 possessions - .640
St. John's - 74 points, 89 possessions - .831
Villanova  - 74 points, 98 possessions - .755
Providence - 93 points, 100 possessions - .930

USF OFFENSE - LAST 10 GAMES
Providence - 109 points, 123 possessions - .887
Seton Hall - 76 points, 99 possessions - .768
Pittsburgh - 70 points, 95 possessions - .739
Georgetown - 72 points, 95 possessions - .758
Notre Dame - 62 points, 92 possessions - .674
Marquette  - 52 points, 104 possessions - .500
Cincinnati - 65 points, 84 possessions - .774
St. John's - 58 points, 84 possessions - .691
Villanova  - 49 points, 93 possessions - .527
Providence - 99 points, 106 possessions - .934

So you can’t blame pace. Both teams just stunk defensively. USF was a bit better, obviously because they didn’t give up as many points, but because Providence made several contested shots in the half-court offense, even contested threes.

On the other hand, the Friars were unbelievably bad at transition defense. To tweak a phrase from Ed Olczyk, it was tremendously untremendous. Part of this was tactics – they love to crash the offensive glass, which helps them rebound all those threes they take. And it worked, because they got 18 offensive rebounds. But it left them with a lot of guys trapped down low when they didn’t come up with the ball, and USF exploited that all night by outletting and pushing up the court again quickly. Then other times, and especially on the game-winning basket by DoJo, guys were standing around after a made shot, and the Bulls flew out on the wings to collect long inbounds passes. They got numbers in a hurry and capitalized. I don’t know how many fast break points USF got, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was something like 30. They got out in transition a lot and Providence couldn’t stop them at all.

I really liked Stan Heath’s strategy tonight. He knew the Friars were going to make some threes, crash the boards, and get some easy baskets. It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to match a team like that and putting up 25 of your own from beyond the arc, which obviously would have been a horrible idea with how bad the Bulls shoot the ball from outside. But they didn’t. They got the ball out on the break, got to the rim, and especially got to the foul line. People love to rip on USF when they don’t make free throws, so here’s a stat for them. The Bulls were 32-for-38 from the line tonight, the most they’ve made in a game since 1991 and tied for the fifth-most in school history.

Gus Gilchrist looked as good as he has since he came back from his injury. He was strong in the post and on the boards, and he made enough shots that defenders couldn’t leave him alone and collapse in the half-court. It also helped that Providence didn’t have anyone who could guard him. Bilal Dixon was in foul trouble the whole game and only played 15 minutes, and I don’t know who this Ray Hall guy is, but he looks like the recently departed Phil Harris of the CorneliaMarie. He might be the least athletic big man I’ve seen in the Big East. The guy didn’t have a chance.

It was an immensely entertaining game and the Bulls pulled it out in the end, delivering another brutal loss to Providence. USF should salt away an NIT bid with one more win – it would make their worst possible record 18-14, and that should be enough to get in as a Big East team with at least a little bit of an identity. That one more win should be on Tuesday against DePaul (that would also shave a loss off their worst possible record), but stranger things have happened.

P.S. I couldn’t decide who Keno Davis looks like. Eventually I narrowed it down to either Fred Savage or Patton Oswalt.

If you’re an old-timer (or a semi old-timer like me), it felt really nice to finally win an important game against Cincinnati. I know that isn’t the same team as it was when Huggins was there. Among other things, their players graduate now, and they don’t punch police horses and/or spend any time in jail. But still, USF must have lost The Big Game at Home to the Bearcats at least a half-dozen times over the years. Finally they get one, and without much drama or suspense.

It looked like Heath’s game plan changed a bit with Famous out. Shorthanded and realizing that he didn’t have much of a bench or a front line to defend the rim, Heath decided to make the game really short, stretch out possessions, and play some mean perimeter defense with his guards. It wasn’t exactly a fun game to watch, but as far as a way to win, it did the trick nicely.

Cincinnati had nothing in the first half. Then they came out in the second half and had even less. They really struggled with ball handling (they fumbled at least three or four balls away), running their offense, and capitalizing on their second-chance opportunities. There were a lot of misses around the rim. But credit is due to the Bulls’ defense because they were in Cincinnati’s face all night long. The man-to-man D was fierce tonight. With eight minutes left the Bulls had only given up 30 points. Until the Bearcats emptied the paint and started driving to the rim to either score or draw contact, they couldn’t go anywhere. Lance Stephenson only had four points and one field goal, and Deonta Wright scored most of his points in garbage time.

The Bearcats had the same defensive strategy that Notre Dame and Marquette offered up. Press Dominique Jones, help on defense when he tries to get to the rim, get the ball out of his hands, and make everyone else beat them. They did a decent job of it for awhile, but tonight the Bulls made more outside shots. The Bulls spaced out better on set plays for Jones, and Mike Mercer and Anthony Crater both shot well from the perimeter in the first half. When Cincinnati had to pay more attention to the shooters, and eventually had to start trapping to try and get back in the game, DoJo found more room to operate in the second half. The fouls piled up, Jones lived at the free throw line, and he ended up with 26 points.

A few other things:

– Nice crowd tonight. A lot of people showed up late because the game started at 7 instead of 7:30, but the lower two levels were pretty much full. Everyone make sure you’re on time for the game on Saturday… it starts at high noon.

– I know Toarlyn Fitzpatrick is a freshman and hopefully he has a lot of development ahead of him, but man did he struggle tonight. Without Famous to back him up and with Gus still not quite 100%, he had to shoulder more of the load than he could handle. He couldn’t keep Ibrahima Thomas off the offensive glass (good thing Thomas missed so many putbacks), he still looks confused on defensive rotations, and let’s all just agree that his botched layup/dunk/whatever that was in the second half never happened.

– OK, remember when the clock stopped in the first few minutes of the second half? The game clock and shot clock both stopped, and when Heath pointed it out, the refs stopped the game and took 6 seconds off the shot clock. Not only was that way more than 6 seconds – it was more like 20 – but the refs never adjusted the game clock. Bad job by them. Fortunately that didn’t end up being a factor.

– Skip Holtz’s glowing review of the Embassy Suites breakfast buffet made me hungry and strangely motivated. I was ready to run through a brick wall to get that man a waffle.

St. John’s is up next in a Saturday matinee. Once again, tipoff is at 12 noon. Not 12:30. Not 1:00. Be there. On time if possible.