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USF Basketball Faces Villanova, Looking For First Big East Win Of Season

The Bulls welcome the Villanova Wildcats to the Sun Dome tonight as they try and extend a four-game winning streak in the series.


Last year the South Florida Bulls were always happy to see the Villanova Wildcats on the schedule. They ended up beating Nova in all three matchups (including one in the Big East tournament) and it was a matchup that really played into the Bulls' hands. Tonight USF goes for its fifth consecutive win over Villanova at the Sun Dome. Let's take a look at the Wildcats.

The guard-heavy Wildcats were a great matchup for USF in past years because of the Bulls' perimeter defense, and their support down low. The perimeter defense is still there, which will cut off some of Nova's slashing to the basket, but Toarlyn Fitzpatrick and Victor Rudd will need to protect the rim without fouling, which could be difficult. (According to KenPom, Villanova has the #1 free throw rate in the country. In other words, they shoot more free throws relative to their scoring attempts than any other team.) This Nova team is also more balanced, with Maurice Sutton and Mouphtaou Yarou in the starting lineup and bruising JayVaughn Pinkston, their leading scorer, coming off the bench.

It's still unclear if Kore White and Shaun Noriega will be ready to play tonight as they recover from injuries. This may also be a game where Javontae Hawkins can play some useful minutes. We'll see what happens.