The 2010 season for Bulls Basketball Coach Stan Heath is quickly spiraling into a downfall of forgettable proportions. USF fell to #23 Lousiville 86-77 in Tampa on Sunday afternoon. South Florida has now lost 6 straight and 8 of their previous 9 and are currently sitting at the bottom of the Big East with a dreadful 6-11 record.
This entire season can be summed up by the two phrases, blown leads and missed opportunities. In each of their losses the Bulls were competitive till the final stretch when the opposing team was able to will their way to a victory over the Bulls. It has just been like the movie Groundhog Day, the same thing happens over and over in the most predictable fashion.
There is not necessarily one reason or another this team is struggling at the end of games, which is the most frustrating part for Heath and his Bulls. This is the first season in Heath’s tenure with South Florida that he has actually had a bench to go to, so that he did not need to play his starters 35+ minutes a game, so stamina is definitely not the factor that it had been in previous seasons.
Looking at the stats, it seems to be more so of small mistakes adding up to ultimately comeback and catching up with them. A turnover here, a rushed jumper there, and poor defense leading to 3pts on the other end. It’s hard to be successful in the Big East when you are averaging 16 turnovers a game.
One of the biggest categories that I note in all caps every game is free throw shooting. The Bulls are absolutely terrible in this category shooting 67% and the leading scorer, Augustus Gilchrist only 59% from the line. More often than not, the points that USF leaves on the line, would have made the difference in the end if they shot a rough 80%.
NBA guru Steve Kyler says, “That there is a huge difference in coaching between a 2 point win and a 2 point loss.” And that seems to be a problem with the Bulls, in which the coaching adjustments do not seem to be being implemented. Yes, players are rotated off the bench into the starting line up with great frequency but that is not an excuse or adjustment for all of the aforementioned mistakes that are constantly made. Which makes one wonder if the coach and his staff are hindering this team just as much as the miscues.
With Stan Heath just being signed to a 5 year extension this offseason, it is tough to see him being shown the door after this season. But there is no doubt that he must show Athletic Director Doug Woolard signs of improvement over the final 13 games and recruiting this off season.