WHO: No. 12/12 Louisville (20-5, 8-4) at USF (10-14, 1-11)
WHEN: 1 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Sun Dome
TV: ESPN (Rich Hollenberg and Bob Wenzel)
RADIO: 98.7-FM The Fan (Jim Lighthall and Todd Kalas
By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - Red-hot Victor Rudd and the Bulls look to pull off an upset 1 p.m. Sunday when No. 12 Louisville pays a visit to the Sun Dome.
Rudd posted 26 points and 12 rebounds in Wednesday's 76-66 home loss to Providence a game after the junior forward was sidelined with a groin injury. Rudd's aggressive style helped the Bulls grab a 36-25 halftime lead against the Friars.
"I thought him feeling good about himself got him more aggressive on the defensive end and got him more aggressive rebounding as well," head coach Stan Heath said. "I thought he played in probably one of his best rhythms in a long time. I think it was his best Big East game from start to finish."
Heath welcomes another fast start from Rudd and the Bulls on Sunday as USF attempts to snap a seven-game losing streak. This time Heath wants to see the Bulls also put together a strong second half against a Louisville team that posted a 72-58 win over St. John's on Thursday.
"We've been able to put together some solid 20-minute stretches. I really loved the way we played for those first 20 minutes (against Providence) and we need try to bottle that for 40," Heath said.
Louisville was ranked No. 3 in the country when it handed USF a 64-38 loss in the team's first meeting of the season Jan. 12 in Kentucky. The Bulls' defense kept the Cardinals from taking off, but USF shot just 26 percent from the field.
"We dug ourselves into a hole and never could recover. We'll be a much better team this time," Heath said.
Heath said the key to bouncing back on Sunday will be USF's ability to control the tempo of the game against Louisville, which is averaging 74.6 points per game. Russ Smith (18.6 ppg) leads three Louisville players in double-digit scoring figures while opponents are scoring just 59 points per game against the Cardinals.
"It's kind of a mixed bag for us," Heath said. "We've got to find some easy baskets. We have to find some transition buckets, but if we try to go too fast and get sped up too much against Louisville we're playing right into their hands."
USF hits the road for a two-game stretch after Sunday's contest. The Bulls play at St. John's on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. and faces Pitt on Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.