Following the USF men’s basketball team’s game first game this season against BYU on Jan. 7, coach Rex Walters said he was the reason the team did not play well.
“I set basketball back 100 years trying to walk it up against BYU and get our guys nonaggressive,” Walters said at the time. “We’ve got to be aggressive. That’s why I recruited them. I’ve got to put them in situations where they can be successful.”
The Dons followed that game up by playing St. Mary’s with the intensity that had been missing and, despite losing the Jan. 9 game by 15 points, used the result to its advantage.
“I’ve screwed them up so much this year, it’s a joke,” Walters said. “This is who we are. That’s how we should be playing all the time.”
The Dons (17-10, 7-6 West Coast Conference) now get their rematch against BYU (21-6, 9-3) and are playing like a completely different team.
USF is 7-3 since its last matchup with BYU and has won five of its past six games, with the only loss coming to Loyola Marymount by two points.
The Dons face their toughest home game stretch of the season with BYU on Thursday, No. 24 Gonzaga on Saturday, and wrap up league play with No. 16 St. Mary’s on Feb. 25.
BEARS BACK ON TOP
Cal (20-6, 10-3 Pac-12 Conference) swept its games last week and has reclaimed a share of first place in the Pac-12.
This weekend, the Bears host Oregon and Oregon State and they are looking to get a bit of revenge against the Beavers.
Cal lost 92-85 in Corvallis, Ore., in the last game with Oregon State and allowed the Beavers to shoot 63 percent from the field.
But the Bears have stepped up their defense recently and held UCLA and Southern Cal to a combined 36 percent over the weekend.
DOWN ON THE FARM
Stanford (17-8, 7-6) split its games the last time it saw Oregon and Oregon State, with the win coming in a four-overtime marathon against the Beavers.
The Cardinal have not won consecutive games since early January, when they won three straight, and remain tied in sixth place with UCLA.
The Stanford women’s basketball team (22-1, 13-0) has continued to coast through Pac-12 play, but hits the road and will face Oregon State, which the Cardinal struggled to get by in January, and Oregon this week.
The Beavers held Stanford to 36 percent shooting from the field and nearly pulled off the upset before dropping the game 67-60.
Since then, the Cardinal have only had one game be decided by fewer than 10 points.