NASHVILLE – Juan Fernandez has a tough assignment.
The Temple point guard will defend South Florida’s Anthony Collins in Friday’s 9:50 p.m. NCAA tournament second-round Midwest Regional.
The dynamic freshman point guard drives the 12th-seeded Bulls (21-13).
He has nack of finding open teammates, dictating the pace of the game and disrupting what opponents want to do, offensively.
“He steals the ball pretty well,” Fernandez said of facing the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder, who averages 8.6 points, 5.2 assists and 1.6 steals. “But on offense, I think everything runs through him.
“If they go for something and they don’t have it, the ball goes back to him and then they try to do something else. That’s how they manage the game. They play long possessions.”
Fernandez said the fifth-seeded Owls (24-7) must play smart against Collins.
“Know when to deny the ball from him or how to play the pick and rolls smart so he doesn’t hurt us,” he said.
“There’s a lot of things that we’re going to have to pay attention to, not only to stop him, but from keeping him from making everybody else better on that team.”
Here’s a look at the probable starters, coaches’ records and series information:
32 Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson F 6-6 Jr. 9.2 ppg. 6.5 rpg.
50 Micheal Eric F 6-11 Gr. 9.1 ppg. 8.8 rpg.
4 Juan Fernandez G 6-4 Sr. 11.4 ppg. 3.9 apg.
1 Khalif Wyatt G 6-4 Jr. 17.1 ppg. 2.2 spg.
10 Ramon Moore G 6-4 Sr. 17.7 ppg. 3.5 apg.
SOUTH FLORIDA (21-13)
1 Ron Anderson Jr. F 6-8 Sr. 7.1 ppg. 5.5 rpg.
24 Augustus Gilchrist F 6-10 Sr. 9.6 ppg. 4.9 rpg
11 Anthony Collins G 6-1 Fr. 8.6 ppg. 5.2 apg.
34 Hugh Robertson G 6-6 Sr. 7.1 ppg. 5.5 rpg
2 Victor Rudd Jr. G/F 6-7 Soph. 8.9 ppg. 4.6 rpg.
Fran Dunphy (444-227 career record)
Stan Heath (184-167)
This is the teams’ first meeting.