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USF-Villanova Preview and GameThread

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Never. Gets. Old.
Never. Gets. Old.

Your USF Bulls (8-7) head up to the City of Brotherly Love as they take on the Villanova Wildcats (9-2) tonight in a Big East clash. Game is scheduled for 8:00 PM, and can be seen regionally on BHSN and nationally on the Big East Netework. The game will be streamed on ESPN3.com, and will be broadcasted on 620 WDAE, where Jim Lighthall and Todd Kalas will have the call. Here are your probable starting lineups for tonight.

Villanova USF
6'2" Jr. Maalik Wayns G 6'1" Fr. Anthony Collins
6'6" Jr. Dominic Cheek
G 6'4" Jr. Shaun Noriega
6'6" Fr. Darrun Hilliard G 6'5" Sr. Hugh Robertson
6'7" Fr. JayVaughn Pinkston
F 6'8" Jr. Toarlyn Fitzpatrick
6'10" Jr. Mouphtaou Yarou
F 6'10" Sr. Augustus Gilchrist

Other options for the Wildcats include 6'3" Fr. Ty Johnson, 6'9" Fr. Markus Kennedy, 6'6" Soph. James Bell, and 6'4" Fr. Achraf Yacoubou. The Wildcats have been in a virtual freefall since the start of Big East play last year, and they haven't been able to climb out of the hole.

I'm going to switch things up today, and just give you my three keys to the game. In no particular order:

1. Keep Villanova on the perimeter.

Villanova does most of their damage in the lane, and are quite frankly a horrible three point shooting team. Nova shoots 30% as a team, with Wayns and Cheek shooting 25 and 29 percent respectively. What makes this stat even more confusing is that Villanova shoots over 21 three pointers a game. USF should run a ton of zone defenses, rotating from a 2-3 zone to their 1-3-1 zone when Victor Rudd is on the court.

2. Control the tempo.

To piggyback from key number one, the Bulls will need to control the tempo of the game and keep the bandbox that is the Pavilion from exploding. Villanova will want to push the ball a little bit more than they usually do to keep USF from limiting possessions and setting up the zone. If USF can keep the game around 61-63 possessions, it will bode well for the Bulls.

3. Control the boards.

If there's one thing USF has needed to improve on once Big East play began is limiting second chance opportunities on the offensive glass. While the Bulls have done well in the first half, UConn and Rutgers were each able to grab at least a half dozen offensive rebounds in the second half. Villanova has a +6 rebounding advantage, and averages 14 offensive rebounds a game. Our guards will need to help box as the guards will be flying in from all angles for easy tip-ins.

So there you have it. Hope to see you guys in the GameThread tonight. Go Bulls!