By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
USF's head coach spoke with the media this week about the state of his team so far this preseason and said he's comfortable going with a lineup that has different strengths than last year's post-up product.
"We have a lot of speed out there and we have to use it to our advantage," Heath said. "Those are the guys that I think have set themselves apart. It's a veteran group. All of those guys have played, except Brock, who practiced last year and knows what's going on."
Collins dribbled his way to stardom last season as a freshman, averaging 9.0 points and 5.2 assists on the way to making the Big East All-Rookie Team.
Rudd found himself on SportsCenter's top plays often with his thunderous dunks last season and finished just ahead of Collins at 9.3 points per game.
Noriega has consistently been a 3-point threat and the senior has really impressed Heath with his improved defense this preseason.
Brock, a junior guard, has been earning rave reviews in camp after averaging 12.8 points and 5.2 rebounds for South Alabama two seasons ago.
Sun Dome Will Be a Popular Place
An NCAA Tournament run and a nice, new home have helped set the Bulls up for what should be an awesome atmosphere for home games this season. Heath said USF has already sold out the lower bowl of the Sun Dome for home games, along with seeing an increase of sales in the upper levels of the newly renovated arena.
"Our numbers are way up. We've done a lot of things reaching out to people," Heath said.
Heath has made calls to season ticket holders and members of the team spent time thanking Bulls supporters on the phone this week in advance of a home exhibition game against Eckerd on Monday, Nov.5.
"I think the momentum has really helped us in a lot of ways," Heath said. "If we can get our students involved along with the increased sales, I think we're going to have a nice, exciting Sun Dome to play in."
Bulls Are Still Hungry
Finishing the season one win away from the Sweet 16 would make a lot of programs content, but not Heath's squad as it turns out. The Bulls are motivated to make 2012-13 even more special than the 22-win run that ended with a loss to the Ohio in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
"We had a very good year, but we didn't feel good about our last game. We felt we let one get away and I think there are a lot of guys coming back that know that and worked extremely hard to better themselves," Heath said. "The new guys are hungry, trying to improve themselves and earn minutes. The good thing about us is practice is very competitive."