University Of San Francisco Dons
Louisville basketball fans have been awaiting the arrival of the San Francisco Dons' 2016-17 recruiting class since it was announced on April 12 that 6-foot-8, 190-pound guard Minlend O'Neal had finished his year of service at Louisville. The dynamic Baltimore scorer was already a high-profile new signing when he made a surprise signing at San Diego State University.
He set a national junior college record by scoring 19 touchdowns in 11 games and winning two NCAA titles while playing for Bill Russell and San Francisco. He was accepted to Michigan State University, where he remained until 1954, and later led the University of California to the NCAA championship in men's basketball in 1959. A year later, he coached the gold-medal winning U.S. team at the 1960 Summer Olympics and is one of eight men ever to win a gold medal at the Olympics as well as a silver medal. In 1950, he took a job as assistant coach of San Diego State football team and in 1953, he set the National Juniors college record for most touchdowns scored in a game with 19.
He also coached at the U.S. Naval Academy and the University of California, San Francisco, as an assistant coach in men's basketball and women's football.
In 2010, the USF Dons won more than 20 games and reached the quarterfinals of the postseason CIT tournament. They reached the first round in the tournament before being beaten by the University of Miami and Manhattan College.
They struggled a little against Seattle, but they weren't too great against the spread in their few contests. San Francisco has been mediocre in putting their tries off the strip this season, and they haven't been as great at it in some of those contests.
USF was once a basketball powerhouse in the 1950s, when the legendary Bill Russell led the Dons to national titles in 1955 and 1956, guiding them to national titles. Russell's teams represented the pinnacle, but USF has not reached the NCAA tournament since, and it's still possible it never will.
Cal coach Pappy Waldorf sent the team to the Rose Bowl for three consecutive years (1949-51), but Stanford made it to Pasadena in 52 games. The Dons won 55 games in a row in those two seasons, but that means the prestigious game has never recognized them for San Francisco's outstanding on-field performances. Don won all of their nine tournament games with a total of 135 points, and only one team finished below 10 points. Courage is the name of the game at USF basketball, and the school's most famous player, Bill Russell.
But it got worse by the fact that they could barely attract 500 fans a night and could not even attract 1,000 for their first game against San Francisco.
The Dons entered college football history by going unbeaten in 1951 and producing some of the greatest players in the history of football, such as Gino Marchetti, Bob Toler and John Matson. USF and the Don's were competing in a classic rivalry in the Bay Area, which is probably the oldest surviving alumni university in the country. Both M Watson and Marchestti - who played for the Rams in the 1952 College All-Star Game - were invited to play against the NFL champion Rams.
The teams traded victories in the first match, which Portland won 76-65, while San Francisco won the second match last year 81-65. In the last game of the regular season, the Dons managed a late 8-0 win over the Cavaliers in front of 3,000 fans at a sold-out stadium. After beating San Diego in their last game at home, they won their second in a row, this time 72-60.
Jamaree Bouyea scored 18 points for San Francisco, which has lost 20 consecutive games to Gonzaga since 2012. Jamarea Bouygues scored 17 points in the second half against the Bulldogs, the first time they have won at home since the end of the 2012-13 season and the third time in a row since they lost a game in front of 3,000 fans at the stadium in 2012.
USF beat LaSalle University by 20 points in the first half and 30 points at the end of the second half.
Dons have allowed their opponents to score at will this season, with six passing the 70-point mark and 70 points surrendered to the LMU Cougars. Dons had a chance against the nation's number one team last season but were held to an 85-62 defeat by Gonzaga. Statistically, USF has surrendered the second-fewest points per game against top-10 teams in college basketball. In fact, they are currently fifth nationally and only behind the top five teams - Gonzaga, UCLA, Duke, Michigan State and UCLA.
Portland faces San Francisco in a West Coast Conference showdown that will be broadcast Thursday at 6 p.m. on ESPNU. The San Diego Toreros play the San Francisco Dons on Saturday, March 4 at 7: 30 p.m. at the San Jose Convention Center. Proceeds from the game will go to Baseball for Kids, a charity that helps privileged youth in San Francisco learn and play baseball, as well as supporting local charities.