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USF vs. Villanova Preview

USF starts the home portion of their BIG EAST schedule, as they welcome the 7th ranked Villanova Wildcats to the Sun Dome tonight. ESPNU will broadcast the game nationally, which will be a 7PM start time tonight. Villanova comes into the game 13-1, with their only loss coming in the Preseason NIT Final to Tennessee.

The Wildcats are lead by their version of The Two Coreys, Senior Guards Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes. The 6'1 Fisher burst onto the national scene over the summer when he scored 105 points in a New York City summer game. After this barrage, most thought he would produce in the same way that Scottie Reynolds did last season. He has filled up the boxscore this season, averaging 14.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.6 steals this year.

Fisher does most of his work in the lane, beating his man off the dribble and somehow find a space where our posts are. If its not there, he will drive and kick it out to Fisher or Maalik Wayns. If there is one major hole in Fisher's arsenal, its his 3-point shooting where he is only shooting 25% from behind the arc. I wouldn't be surprised to see Hugh Robertson get the defensive assignment on Stokes tonight after his effort against Kemba Walker Friday. Hugh did as good of a job on Walker as I've seen this season.

Stokes been known as the 3-point specialist of the team for the last couple of seasons, but this year he has taken it to the lane a little more than in years past. Stokes leads the team in scoring, averaging 16.9 points while only attempting 10.8 shots a game. That is brutally efficient. Of course Fisher still shoots 7 threes a game, and he still makes a lot of them, making an insane 44% of the time. Jawanza Poland will need to do a good job staying on Stokes, as all Stokes needs is a fraction of a second to get his shot off.


The 3rd guard is 6'2 Sophomore Maalik Wayns. Wayns is the forgotten man of the three, but do not sleep on this talents. Wayns is averaging 12.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, and a team high 5.4 assists a game. He is almost a carbon copy of Stokes, but he's even worse from three, only making 20% of his attempts.

In the post is where we have a definite advantage. Villanova will start 12th 5th year senior Antonio Pena, who wants you all to know that he is 6'8-1/2" inches. It's like that guy who's 5'11, but he wants to get as close to 6' as possible, so he tells all of his friends that he's 5'11-1/2". Pena is averaging 9.7 points and 7.5 rebounds a game. He is a quality defender and will most certainly take the defensive assignment on Augustus Gilchrist. Gilchrist should use his size advantage on the smaller Pena.

The other post is the 6'10 center from Benin, Mouphtaou Yarou. Yarou is getting his first quality minutes of his career this season after missing almost 2 months of last year to Hepatitis B. Still an unfinished project, Yarou has done well this season scoring 9.2 points and a team high 7.7 rebounds a game. This will be a tough matchup for Jarrid Famous, as Yarou is becoming a monster on the defensive end.

So how does USF win tonight? Pretty much its the same thing we tried to do against UConn. We need to control the tempo and slow this game to a crawl. Villanova doesn't like to run a zone defense, which will help us get it inside to Gilchrist, Famous, and Ron Anderson Jr. If he can play our normal suffocating defense, we should stay close all game, but in the end I think Nova pulls away and hits their free throws.

Villanova 72 - USF 61