USF's unforgettable season: a timeline
Dec. 28, 2011 Connecticut 60, USF 57 – The Bulls, coming in with a 7-6 non-conference record, battle gamely, but fall against Connecticut, the defending national champion, 60-57. "If our team plays like this, we'll win a lot games,'' Bulls coach Stan Heath says. Jan. 13, 2012 USF 56, Seton Hall 55 – The Bulls, down by 10 points with less than six minutes remaining, rally to defeat No. 24 Seton Hall for their first win against a ranked team in nearly two years. "If we don't quit, good things can happen,'' says USF forward Ron Anderson Jr.Feb. 4, 2012 Georgetown 75, USF 45 – Doubts resurface when the Bulls are blasted on the road. Feb. 8, 2012 USF 63, Pittsburgh 51 – The Panthers, a preseason No. 10-ranked team and winners of four straight games, are throttled by USF. Hugh Robertson limits Ashton Gibbs, the league's preseason player of the year, to four points. Feb. 11, 2012 USF 55, Providence 48 – USF, down and nearly out on the road against the 15th-place Friars, rally and get two 3-pointers from sparingly used Shaun Noriega in his only minute of play to surge ahead. Feb. 19, 2012 USF 56, Pittsburgh 47 – Even after a road win against the Panthers, USF remains a contentious topic for NCAA tournament bracketologists. "They just haven't beaten enough good teams,'' ESPN's Joe Lunardi says. "Where's the beef?'' Feb. 26, 2012 USF 46, Cincinnati 45 – Following a respectable eight-point road loss at Syracuse, USF (18-11, 11-5) hangs on for a tension-filled home victory against the Bearcats. Freshman point guard Anthony Collins wins it on two free throws with 3.2 seconds remaining. Feb. 29, 2012 USF 58, Louisville 51 – In what could be the biggest regular-season win of USF's 41-season history, the Bulls defeat No. 19-ranked Louisville on the road. "We've got to keep kicking the door,'' Heath says. "You don't want to leave anything to chance.'' March 3, 2012 West Virginia 50, USF 44 – Before a season-high home crowd of 9,737, the Bulls (19-12, 12-6) falter in the final minute against West Virginia. "This is one that got away,'' Heath says. March 6, 2012 Coach of the Year – Heath is named Big East Conference coach of the year. The Bulls, from 3-15 to 12-6 in the league, tie for the Big East's second-greatest turnaround. March 8, 2012 Notre Dame 57, USF 53 (OT) – In the Big East tournament quarterfinals, probably needing a win to lock up an NCAA berth, the Bulls play poorly in the final minute, lose control of the game and potentially jeopardize their postseason fate. March 11, 2012 The NCAA bid – With CBS-TV cameras focused on USF players and coaches at the school's practice facility, the Bulls (20-13) receive the program's first NCAA tournament bid since 1992. March 14, 2012 USF 65, California 54 – The Bulls, who shooting a blistering 66.7 percent in the first half and take a 23-point halftime lead, put it all together in the NCAA tournament's opening round at Dayton, Ohio. "This game was like a dream,'' Anderson says. March 16, 2012 USF 58, Temple 44 – The No. 12-seeded Bulls upset the No. 5 Owls at Nashville, Tenn. USF's second straight NCAA tournament victory matches the school record for single-season victories at 22. March 18, 2012 Ohio 62, USF 56 – Playing for the third time in five nights, the Bulls were unable to hold a second-half lead against the No. 13-seeded Bobcats, who made nine of 18 from 3-point range.