Dons Notes: Breaking Down USF’s Non-Conference Schedule


The San Francisco Dons unveiled their 2014-2015 non-conference schedule hours after the WCC released their conference schedule. Dons fans can tip their cap to Rex Walters and the USF program for getting this schedule out quickly and promptly. Yes, we knew that the Dons had to return a game to Cleveland State in Ohio and we also knew that the Green & Gold would participate in the 2014 Gulf Coast Classic. However, now we know that the Dons will only travel three times during the non-conference schedule and will host multiple non-conference home games. Additionally, in an effort to elevate to the next level, they will face off against a few schools that made the NCAA tournament last year.

Even though Dons fans are happy to mark future games off on their calendars, it appears that USF lacks a true Opening Night game and also is still awaiting the final announcements for the 2014 Gulf Coast Classic field. Lets take a look at USF’s current schedule.

VIDEO: Welcome to the Season – USF Athletic Department Feature

Dec 3, 2013; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers center

Landry Nnoko

(center) battles for the ball with South Carolina State Bulldogs forward

Darryl Palmer

(30) and guard/forward

Devin Joint

(15) during the second half at J.C. Littlejohn Coliseum. The Tigers won 65-49. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina State Bulldogs

November 16th, 2014

Conference: Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

Last Season: 9-21 (5-11 MEAC)

San Francisco’s scheduled opening night will be at the Hilltop against South Carolina State. For the Bulldogs, this game will be the second contest for the year after playing the University of Washington on November 14th. South Carolina State ended last season in 8th place in the MEAC. After losing their two top scorers, the Bulldogs will rely on senior Devin Joint and sophomores Darryl Palmer and Karon Wright. USF has won their Opening Night matchup the past two season and will hope to extend their streak to three straight wins against the Bulldogs.

VIDEO: South Carolina State coach Murray Garvin talks about the 69-67 Overtime win over Bethune Cookman University. SC State Men’s Basketball improves to 2-3 in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play.


Notre Dame De Namur

November 19th, 2014

Conference: The Pac West (D-2)

Last Season: 7-19 (6-14 Pac West)

The Dons will play the Argonauts for the second straight season during their 2014 non-conference schedule. However, this time around, the game will be contested for the 2014 Gulf Coast Showcase. Last year NDNU played USF on Opening Night and took the loss with a final score of 95-57. During the matchup, Kruize Pinkins introduced KruizeConrtol by scoring a game high 19 points. Mark Tollefeson joined the party by scoring 15 point of his own. Even though Notre Dame De Namur will not be traveling to Florida for the Gulf Coast Showcase, this game will be contested as part of the multi-team event played the following week.

VIDEO: The Dominican Penguins take on Notre Dame de Namur at the Conlan Center on February 13, 2014. You can watch the entire matchup! (if you wish)

Dec 21, 2013; Raleigh, NC, USA; East Carolina Pirates guard

Paris Roberts-Campbell

(22) looks to pass as North Carolina State Wolfpack guard

Desmond Lee

defends during the first half at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports


East Carolina State Pirates

Conference: American

Last Season: 17-17 (5-11 American)

The Gulf Coast Showcase may not have announced their bracket yet, but it is never too early to breakdown some of the possible opponents in this tournament. The Pirates are the 2013 College Insider Tournament Champions and will deploy a veteran, upperclassman based lineup on game day. If matched up against the Dons this will be a game where physicality and toughness will determine a winner.

VIDEO: Jeff Charles and Head Coach Jeff Lebo discuss Zangari’s improvements from during the 2013-2014 season.

Feb 1, 2014; Wichita, KS, USA; Evansville Aces forward

David Howard

(44) grabs a loose ball against the Wichita State Shockers during the second half at Charles Koch Arena. The Shockers won 81-67. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports


Evansville Aces

Conference: Missouri Valley Conference

Last Season: 14-19 (6-12 Missouri Valley)

Evansville loves to shoot from beyond the three point line. They will also put together a lineup heavy with upperclassmen. If the Green & Gold had a matchup against Evansville, it would be a straight shootout!

 VIDEO: University of Evansville defeats Illinois State in Overtime (USF lost to ISU during the 2013 non-conference schedule)

Dec 19, 2013; Starkville, MS, USA; Florida Gulf Coast Eagles forward

Marcus Blake

(24) and Florida Gulf Coast Eagles guard

Bernard Thompson

(2) block out Mississippi State Bulldogs guard

Fred Thomas

(1) during the game at Humphrey Coliseum. Mississippi State Bulldogs defeat Florida Gulf Coast Eagles 66-53. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports


Florida Gulf Coast Eagles

Conference: Atlantic Sun

Last Season: 22-13 (14-4 Atlantic Sun)

After being the first 15th seeded team in the NCAA tournament to make the Sweet Sixteen, the Eagles have lost some of their appeal. However, being the only team in the Gulf Coast Classic from Florida, the Eagles do have a competitive advantage in this tournament. Not to mention that they are one of the favorites to take the Atlantic Sun Conference during the 2014-2015 campaign. This is a dangerous team looking to defend their home in Florida.

FGCU is one of the teams I believe USF may be paired up against for the Opening Round of the Gulf Coast Showcase.

VIDEO: Dunk City!

Mar 1, 2014; Fresno, CA, USA; Fresno State Bulldogs forward

Alex Davis

(10) attempts to grab a rebound next to San Diego State Aztecs forward

Josh Davis

(22) in the second half at the Save Mart Center at Fresno State. The Aztecs defeated the Bulldogs 82-67. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


Fresno State Bulldogs

Conference: Mountain West

Last Season: 21-18 (9-9 Mountain West)

2014 CBI Participant

USF will need to bring it’s game all the way from the Bay Area to finally have an opportunity to take on this California team. Fresno State will return over half of it’s minutes from last year and will be determined to prepare it’s team for a dog fight in the Mountain West Conference. This tournament will be a great tune-up for the Bulldogs as they try to focus on improving their games. The Green & Gold would earn some valuable experience for future WCC match ups if they are slated to play Fresno State.

VIDEO: The Fresno Bulldogs participate in 2014 CBI Tournament.

Nov 16, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers forward

Frank Kaminsky

(44) attempts a basket as Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix forwards

Alec Brown

(left) and

Greg Mays

(15) defend at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon. The Wisconsin Badgers defeated Wisconsin-Green Bay 69-66. Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports


Green Bay (Wisconsin) Phoenix

Conference: Horizon League

Last Season: 24-7 (14-2)

2014 NIT Participant

Green Bay was the 2013-2014 regular season champions in the Horizon League and were awarded an NIT bid. Similar to the Dons, the Phoenix were awarded a 4th seed but were bounced out in the first round of the NIT tournament. Green Bay will try to build on their 2013-2014 campaign by gaining experience in Florida.

VIDEO: 2013-2014 Green Bay Phoenix Highlights

Mar 11, 2013; Springfield, MA, USA; A general view of the MAAC logo prior to the championship game of the Metro Atlantic Conference tournament between the Iona Gaels and the Manhattan Jaspers at MassMutual Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports


Marist Red Foxes

Conference: Metro Atlantic Athletic

Last Season: 12-19 (9-11 MAAC)

The Red Foxes were a late addition to the Florida Gulf Showcase field after UNC Wilmington and High Point University left the tournament field. Marist has a relatively younger team that will try to come together after a rough 2013-2014 campaign. Expect Marist to matchup against one of the heavy hitting teams in the opening round of the tournament.

*The Gulf Coast Classic appears to have one more team participating that has yet to be announced.

VIDEO: ESPN, Siena vs Marist – February 14th, 2014

Nov 12, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Montana Grizzlies guard

Mario Dunn

Jr. (1) dribbles past Minnesota Golden Gophers guard

Deandre Mathieu

(4) during the first half at Williams Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Montana Grizzlies

November 30th, 2014

Conference: Big Sky

Last Season: 17-13 (12-8 Big Sky)

The Green & Gold have seen the Grizzlies for four straight seasons. Each year, the Dons have been victorious. Last years match up came down to the wire as San Francisco was adjusting to the abrupt loss of Cody Doolin. Hopefully USF can keep their winning streak alive against Montana in 2014.

VIDEO: Missoula Madness

Mar 20, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Colorado Buffaloes guard

Xavier Talton

(3) dribbles against Pittsburgh Panthers guard

James Robinson

(0) during the first half of a men

at Colorado Buffaloes

December 3rd, 2014

Conference: Pac-12

Last Season: 23-12 (10-8 Pac-12)

2014 NCAA Tournament Participant

The Green & Gold will travel to a higher altitude and a lower climate to take on their annual Pac-12 opponent. This year, the Buffs will host the Dons in Boulder. The last time these two teams faced off, USF hosted Colorado at the Hilltop. During this matchup, the Dons squeaked out an 83-81 victory. This time around, the Buffs are a much tougher team coming off a 2014 NCAA Tournament appearance.

CU will be preparing for their appearance in the 2014 Diamond Head Classic and will want to play the Dons aggressively. USF will have many obstacles to overcome that will also prepare them for elements similar to what they will find during WCC conference play. This is a valuable game for the Green & Gold.

VIDEO: Colorado Buffaloes Pac-12 Mixtape

Dec 7, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Houston Baptist Huskies guard

Rob Lewis

(12) moves the ball defended by Michigan Wolverines guard

Nik Stauskas

(11) in the second half at Crisler Arena. Michigan won 107-53. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Baptist Huskies

December 7th, 2014

Conference: Southland

Last Season: 6-25 (2-16 Southland)

Houston Baptist finished in last place in the Southland Conference during the 2013-2014 campaign. The Huskies will travel to the Hilltop in early December to try to limber up before they get another shot to redeem themselves in the 2014-2015 season. This time around HBU will be led by Juniors and Sophomores. The Dons must take this opportunity to fine-tune any outstanding position battles or team threats before the home stretch of the non-conference schedule kicks in.

VIDEO: HBU 2013 Non-conference Highlights

Dec 28, 2013; Bridgeport, CT, USA; Eastern Washington Eagles forward

Venky Jois

(55) drives the ball against Connecticut Huskies forward

DeAndre Daniels

(2) during the second half at Webster Bank Arena. UConn defeated Eastern Washington 82-65. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Eastern Washington Eagles

December 11th, 2014

Conference: Big Sky

Last Season: 15-16 (10-10 Big Sky)

Heading into the final stretch of the non-conference schedule, the Eagles will fly into War Memorial Gym to take on the Green & Gold. This squad played nearly .500 ball last season with a record of 15-16, including a 10-10 Big Sky conference record. This year looks to be a promising year for the Eagles and USF will find a tough challenge during this matchup. This is another wonderfully scheduled game that will hep the Dons get ready for WCC ball.

VIDEO: Northern Arizona moves into a tie for first-place with a 84-65 win over Eastern Washington during the 2013-2014 season.

Mar 21, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Cal Poly Mustangs guard/forward Dave Nwaba (0) drives past Wichita State Shockers guard

Tekele Cotton

(32) in the second half during the 2nd round of the 2014 NCAA Men

Cal Poly Mustangs

December 15th, 2014

Conference: Big West

Last Season: 14-20 (6-10 Big West)

2014 NCAA Tournament Participant

Fresh off celebrating their first trip to the NCAA tournament, Cal Poly will travel north to San Francisco. The Mustangs will lose a bit of their scoring from the 2013-2014 campaign but can still be yet another great opponent for USF to prepare for WCC play.

VIDEO: In part No. 1 of the Cal Poly men’s basketball program’s summer interview series, head coach Joe Callero and senior guard Maliik Love pitch LeBron James on becoming a Mustang and discuss Maliik’s law enforcement career.

Nov 8, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UNLV Runnin’ Rebels guard

Daquan Cook

(10) defends against Portland State Vikings guards

Tim Douglas

(11). UNLV won the game 67-48. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Portland State Vikings

December 18th, 2014

Conference: Big Sky

Last Season: 17-15 (11-9 Big Sky)

2014 CIT Participant

This game was heavily over looked after the release of the non-conference schedule and may come as a surprise to some Dons fans. In fact, I did not even know about this game until Portland State announced a couple days after USF announced their schedule!

The Vikings will be the third and final Big Sky opponent that the Dons will play in their non-conference schedule. Portland State was a strong team last year finishing off their campaign with a record of 17-15 before falling to USD in the first round of the CIT tournament.

VIDEO: Highlights and postgame from the Vikings’ 78-74 overtime win over Idaho State Saturday, March 8, at the Stott Center. The win closed out the regular season for the Vikings.

Nov 25, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward

Julius Randle

(30) shoots the ball against Cleveland State Vikings forward

Jon Harris

(35) at Rupp Arena. Kentucky defeated Cleveland State 68-61. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

at Cleveland State Vikings

December 21st, 2014

Conference: Horizon League

Last Season: 21-12 (12-4 Horizon)

2014 CIT Participant

In a return game, the Green & Gold will head to Cleveland for their final non-conference game of the 2014-2015 season. This will be the second straight opponent that they take on that participated in the CIT postseason tournament.

Last year, the Green & Gold needed a 10 point run late in the game to secure a come from behind victory. Tim Derksen was solid off the bench and propelled the Dons to victory. This time around, with both teams on pace to improve from last year, the Vikings will hope to turn the table on the Dons and send them home with the bitter taste of revenge. USF’s challenge is to finish the non-conference schedule strong and swing swiftly into WCC play.

VIDEO: USF wins over Cleveland State