The top-seeded USF Bulls quest for an AAC Title and a trip to the NCAA tournament starts today at 1 p.m. in Ft. Worth against East Carolina on ESPN2

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South Florida forward Corey Walker Jr. (15) brings the ball up court during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Charlotte on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Matt Kelley)

GOUSFBULLS.COM – TAMPA, Fla. – The University of South Florida men’s basketball team opens the 2024 American Athletic Conference Championship as the No. 1 seed, for the first time in program history, inside Dickies Arena on Friday. South Florida will face the No. 8 seed East Carolina at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

Earlier in the week, the Bulls had four specialty awards along with three players on all-conference teams. Chris Youngblood was named Co-Player of the Year, while Selton Miguel earned the Sixth Man of the Year and Most Improved Player. Head Coach Amir Abdur-Rahim was named a unanimous Coach of the Year. Youngblood landed on the first team and Miguel earned a spot on the second team. Jayden Reid was a member of the all-freshman team.

CY in the YC

Chris Youngblood was named the AAC Co-Player of the Year. He was the first Player of the Year since Charlie Bradley in 1983. He also picked up a First-Team All-AAC and is the first player to do so since Dominique Jones in 2010. In conference play, he averaged 15.7 points per game with 40 assists, 10 steals, and nine blocks. He led the conference with a 3-point field goal percentage of 45.0 percent. His 45 3-pointers were the fourth most in the AAC. He produced 16 games in double figures, with four games of 20 or more. He produced a career-high 29 points in the win against Tulane on March 3. He shot 46.0 percent from the field and 78.3 percent from the free-throw line. For the season, he leads the team with 15.3 points per game. He is averaging 2.5 rebounds per game to go along with 63 assists, 16 blocks, and 16 steals. He is shooting 81.7 percent from the free-throw line, tied for 167th in the country and eighth in the AAC. His 2.14 3-pointers per game are tied for 207th in the country and eighth in the conference.

‘Sel’ing Point

Selton Miguel earned his first Sixth Man of the Year and his first Most Improved Player accolades. He landed on his first all-conference nod with a second-team honor. He is the first Sixth Man of the Year since Altron Jackson in 2001. He averaged 14.9 points per game with 3.0 rebounds per contest. He tallied 40 assists, 19 steals, and eight blocks. He produced 16 games in double figures, with three games of 20 or more. He recorded a career-high 25 points in the win against No. 24 Florida Atlantic on February 18. He produced a career-high three blocks against UAB on January 7. He finished conference play shooting 79.1 percent from the free-throw line, 41.4 percent from the field, and 33.3 percent from 3-point range. For the season, he is tied for 255th in the country with 2.03 3-pointers per game, which is 12th in the conference. He is second on the team with 14.7 points per contest. He is tied for fourth on the squad with 3.4 boards per game. He is tied for second on the squad with 33 steals and is second on the team with 66 assists. He has added 10 blocks.

Chef Boyar“Reid”

Jayden Reid was named to the AAC All-Freshman Team. He finished his first year with 5.7 points per game and 2.3 rebounds a contest. He led the team with 47 assists. He added 21 steals. He tied a career-high five field goals made against Temple on January 4, where he finished with 14 points. He tallied three games in double digits during conference play. He dished out six assists in the win against Tulane on March 3. He shot 53.8 percent from 3-point range, 42.9 percent from the field, and 72.5 percent from the free throw line. For the season, he leads the team with 94 assists. He is tied for 280th in the NCAA with 3.2 assists per game and is tied for 11th in the AAC. He has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.14, which is tied for 110th in the country, tied for fifth in the conference, and ninth among NCAA freshmen. He has a team-best 37 steals. He averages 2.5 rebounds per game to go along with 6.7 points per contest.

Head Coach AAR

Amir Abdur-Rahim became the first USF coach to win an American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year accolade. In his first season at South Florida, he has led the Bulls to a 20-win season, just the sixth time in program history. The 23 wins are the most during the regular season and one shy of tying the most in program history at 24. USF earned their first-ever ranking and reached No. 24 in the AP Poll and the Coaches Poll. He guided South Florida to 16 wins in conference play, the most in program history. The Bulls went on the program’s longest winning streak with 15 games. He is the only coach to win their regular season debut and their conference debut.

Bulls at a Glance

Kasean Pryor leads the team with 7.5 rebounds per contest. His 6.07 defensive rebounds per game are 60th in the NCAA and fourth in the AAC. He is third on the squad averaging 12.8 points per game. He is second on the squad in blocks with 20. He is tied for second on the team with 33 steals. He has added 47 assists. He is shooting 82.2 percent from the free-throw line, which is tied for 153rd in the country and fifth in the conference. Kobe Knox leads the team with 21 blocks. He averages 8.6 points per game and 2.9 rebounds per game. Brandon Stroud is second on the team with 6.0 rebounds per contest. He averages 5.2 points a game with 41 assists, 33 steals, and 10 blocks.

Strong Bench

South Florida’s bench is 20th in the NCAA and second in the conference averaging 28.52 points per contest. The USF bench has outscored its opponent’s bench 827-501. Opposing benches are averaging just 17.27 points per game.

Cashing in on Free Opportunities

The Bulls are tied for 38th in the NCAA and tied for fifth in the conference with 16.3 made free throws per game. USF is tied for 46th in the country with 22.1 free-throw attempts per game, which is fifth in the AAC.

Fast and Furious

The Bulls have been playing stout defense and are tied for 50th in the NCAA with a turnover margin of 2.2, which is the best in the conference. South Florida is 89th in the country with 12.97 forced turnovers per contest, which is fifth in the AAC. USF has used the turnovers to lead to fastbreak opportunities. The Bulls are tied for 80th in the nation with 12.03 fastbreak points per game, which is seventh in the conference.

Last Time Out

The Bulls dropped their second AAC game of the season on the road against the Golden Hurricane, 76-70. Kasean Pryor tied a career-high with 29 points and brought down 11 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season. He added one steal and one assist. Chris Youngblood finished with 12 points, two assists, and one rebound. Selton Miguel closed out the double-digit scorers with 11 points. He collected four rebounds with three assists and two steals.

History with East Carolina

USF and ECU will meet for the 28th time on Friday. The Bulls lead the series 15-12. South Florida won the only meeting this season, 71-60, in Greenville. USF and ECU have met two times in the AAC Tournament and have split the meetings. ECU won last year’s AAC Tournament matchup 73-58.

Scouting the Pirates

RJ Felton leads the Pirates with 17.3 points per game. He averages 6.1 points per game. He paces the team with 57 steals and 19 blocks. He has dished out 41 assists. Brandon Johnson is second on the squad with 14.0 points per game. He leads the team with 8.6 rebounds per game. His 5.97 defensive rebounds per game are 68th in the NCAA and fifth in the AAC. He has 52 steals, 47 assists, and 16 blocks. Ezra Ausar rounds out the double-digit scorers with 11.3 points per game. He averages 4.5 rebounds a contest with 29 assists, 26 steals, and 16 blocks. Bobby Pettiford Jr. leads the squad with 110 assists. His assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.24 is tied for 12th in the country and best in the conference. He averages 7.8 points per contest and 2.3 rebounds a game. As a team, ECU has a turnover margin of 2.0, which is tied for 56th in the NCAA and second in the league. With 8.0 steals per contest, the Pirates are tied for 48th in the nation and third in the conference.

Tale of the Tape 

USFCategoryECU
75.4POINTS PER GAME69.6
68.6OPP. POINTS PER GAME69.9
.439FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE.424
.416OPP. FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE.439
.3603-POINT FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE.314
.309OPP. 3-POINT FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE.322
.741FREE THROW PERCENTAGE.698
36.2REBOUNDS PER GAME34.8
-0.4REBOUNDING MARGIN0.3
14.9ASSISTS PER GAME12.3
10.8TURNOVERS PER GAME10.8
2.2TURNOVER MARGIN1.1
7.0STEALS PER GAME7.9
3.4BLOCKS PER GAME2.8

American Athletic Conference Final Standings

1. South Florida – 23-6, 16-2

2. Florida Atlantic – 24-7, 14-4

3. Charlotte – 19-11, 13-5

4. UAB – 20-11, 12-6

5. Memphis – 22-9, 11-7

4. SMU – 20-11, 11-7

7. North Texas – 17-13, 10-8

8. ECU – 14-17, 7-11

9. Tulsa – 16-14, 7-11

10. Tulane – 14-16, 5-13

11. Temple – 12-19, 5-13

12. Wichita State – 13-18, 5-13

13. Rice – 11-20, 5-13

14. UTSA – 11-20, 5-13

Follow Live

Watch: ESPN2

Live Stats: statbroadcast.com

Listen: Bulls Unlimited

Tickets: Ticketmaster.com

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About USF Men’s Basketball

The South Florida men’s basketball team is led by Amir Abdur-Rahim, who was named the 11th head coach in program history on March 29, 2023. Abdur-Rahim was named the 2023 Mid-Major Coach of the Year (Hugh Durham Award) after leading Kennesaw State to its first-ever Division I NCAA Tournament berth in 2022-23. Abdur-Rahim’s Kennesaw State team set an NCAA record as the fastest team to ever reach the NCAA Tournament after a one-win campaign, accomplishing the feat in a span of just three seasons. He was also named the 2022-23 NABC District 3 and ASUN Coach of the Year after leading Kennesaw State to both the regular season and tournament titles, and a school-record 26 wins.
 
USF has retired three numbers in its history: Chucky Atkins (12), Charlie Bradley (30), and Radenko Dobras (31). The Bulls have earned three NCAA tournament bids, appeared in the NIT eight times, and won the 2019 College Basketball Invitational.
 
For tickets, contact the USF Ticket Office at 1-800-Go-Bulls or by going online to 
USFBullsTix.com.