By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - The USF men's basketball team has gotten into a groove at the right time.
The Bulls have won three in a row heading into its most difficult test yet, a road game Wednesday night at No. 23/22 Oklahoma State that will be televised nationally on ESPNU starting at 9 p.m. (ET). The Cowboys (5-1) won four straight to open the season and were ranked 10th in the nation before suffering an 81-71 loss at Virginia Tech on Saturday.
"This is a resume builder for you. It can really help you to win on the road in a tough environment against a ranked team that's already knocked off NC State and some very good teams as well," USF head coach Stan Heath said. "They're coming off a tough loss, so I know they're going to play their 'A' game. We have to be ready to play and it could really help us in a big way."
The game will mark USF's second straight appearance on national television after the Bulls' 64-53 win over Georgia was aired on ESPNU last Friday from the Sun Dome.
Big East Honors Collins
Point guard Anthony Collins earned a spot on the Big East weekly honor roll after extending a special assist streak.
The sophomore dished out 10 assists and scored 17 points in USF's 64-53 win over Georgia last Friday. It marked his third straight 10-plus assist game, a feat that's been accomplished by only two other Bulls since the 2002-03 season.
Collins is currently tied for second nationally with 8.5 assists per game.
"He's a very good player and I think he's playing with good poise. He's a real key to their team," Georgia head coach Mark Fox said.
A Break After the Big Game
The Bulls get a long break from competition after the Oklahoma State game is in the books.
USF's next game isn't until Dec. 18 at home against Youngstown State. Players will be taking finals during the time period along with getting a chance to evaluate their work on the court before finishing the non-conference slate.
"It's a great time to study ourselves and improve ourselves. We'll kind of use it that way while we're handling the academic part," Heath said. "We'll have a chance to maybe fine tune or add some things going into the last part of the non-conference season. I think this is healthy."
You Might See Musa
Musa Abdul-Aleem has had to wait a long time to make his USF debut and the wait could be over Wednesday night. The 6-foot-5 guard has been recovering from a foot injury since last season and Heath has been encouraged with the sophomore's progress since he received medical clearance.
"He started practicing and I was surprised how he picked up things very quickly," Heath said. "... He looked good yesterday and he has a couple more days of practice underneath his belt. I definitely see him getting some minutes if we can in this next game."
Abdul-Aleem's last stop was at Georgia Perimeter College, where he became a conference player of the year after leading the Jaguars with 14.7 points per game.