South Florida faces a difficult schedule

For a South Florida program looking to rise up in the Big East, the schedule-makers didn't exactly do the team any favors. Coming off a 10-23 season, the Bulls will have to play twice against Pittsburgh, Villanova and Providence.

Even heading into Big East play, South Florida has a tough road ahead of it, because aside from the list of quality opponents, the Bulls won't get to play in their on-campus arena while the Sun Dome undergoes a $35.6 million renovation.

They'll open the season at home for three games, but at three different locations -- the University of Tampa, the St. Pete Times Forum and the Lakeland Center. As WTSP.com notes, that means even a game against a lower-level opponent can get interesting.

USF's other home game will be at the Lakeland Center November 16 against Division II Florida Southern, who will likely have the home-court advantage as the road team since they will be just a few miles from campus.

And that's just the beginning. After that opening three-venue homestand, the Bulls will play at the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame tournament against Old Dominion and then either Kentucky or Penn State. After coming back home to play Georgia Southern and Florida Atlantic at different home sites, then it's off to play at VCU and at Kansas. Later in December, there's a home game against Cleveland State and a road game in Hattiesburg against Southern Miss.

That's a lot of moving around for a team that continues to try cracking into the upper half of the Big East under coach Stan Heath. The Bulls nearly pulled it off in 2010 going 9-9 in conference play and making the NIT, but it's going to be difficult once again to gain traction.