After $35 million in arena renovations, USF will host UCF in Sun Dome opener

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On November 10, expect the Sun Dome to be packed.

Coming off one of the most successful seasons in program history, South Florida will host Central Florida to kick off the 2012-13 season, and also celebrate the grand opening of its newly renovated arena, following $35.6 million in off-season upgrades.

“What an exciting way to open a brand new building with a future BIG EAST opponent in UCF,” USF coach Stan Heath said in a statement. “This should be an exciting game that will feature great talent.  We expect our fans to fill the seats and give us the energy to provide an electric and memorable season opener.”

Among the upgrades to the Sun Dome are a reconfiguration of its 10,000 seats, added concessions and rest areas, widespread concrete restoration, and a new center-hung scoreboard.

According to a report, it is expected to extend the functional life of the arena by 30 years.

South Florida was picked to finish 14th in the Big East preseason media poll, but went on to a 22-14 overall record, including 12-6 in the Big East.

The Bulls advanced to the Round of 32 in the NCAA tournament, where they lost to Ohio.

Overwhelmingly defensive-minded last season, South Florida was built on a slow, calculated offense, led by freshman point guard Anthony Collins.

Expect Collins to break out in his sophomore season after averaging 8.5 points and 5.3 assists per game in 2011-12.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_