The Big East Tournament is finally here, and the Villanova Wildcats, who were picked to finish second in the conference, are at the lowest of lows. Heading into Madison Square Garden on a 4 game losing streak is not exactly the ideal circumstance, but Nova has no one to blame but themselves.
Due to another late season slide, Villanova landed the 10 seed in the all-inclusive 16-team Big East Tournament, which means there are no days off for the hobbled Cats. The good guys open up with the 15th seed, the South Florida Bulls, on Tuesday night.
The guys over at Voodoo Five are your source for biased USF material, and I'm sure if you're a real masochist like we all are here at The Nova Blog, you'll have a great time reading about how we could go down to these guys.
More on the game after The Jump.
Time: 7 PM Eastern Time
Location: Madison Square Garden in New York, NY
TV: ESPNU with Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas, and Bill Raftery calling the action
Radio: ESPN 950 AM
About the Bulls
South Florida enters the conference tournament at 9-22 overall (3-15 in the Big East), another disappointing year for Stan Heath. The record is somewhat misleading, as the Bulls played some tight games this year, including taking UConn to overtime on the road and BYU to double overtime in nonconference play, losing by 6 to Georgetown, and falling short by 1 point to Marquette. Essentially, South Florida is playing only for their pride, but this can be a dangerous recipe. With nothing to lose, the Bulls should be very loose, while the Wildcats' psyche has been heavily scrutinized the last few weeks.
The Bulls sport a lineup with mostly juniors, led by 6'10" forward Augustus Gilchrist. He scores at a clip of 13 points per game on 44% shooting, and he chips in 6.5 rebounds a contest. Upperclassmen Ron Anderson Jr. and Jarrid Famous compliment Gilchrist down low, as they both average over 7 points and 5 boards a game. Guards Anthony Crater and Jawanza Poland man the backcourt for the Bulls. Crater is the distributor with his 4 assists per game, while Poland contributes 9.7 ppg.
Villanova has never lost to South Florida in their brief 5 game history. In the most recent meeting, back in January of this year at the Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla., five players scored in double figures for Villanova in a 83-71 win. Corey Stokes was the high scorer with 22 points. Maalik Wayns also played well, scoring 16 points and dishing out 9 assists.
What to Expect
Does anyone know what to expect at this point? I honestly have no clue. The one thing I do know is that the Cats should be worried about tomorrow night's game and that game only. They have no right to even look at a potential second round game. This team just needs to play well against South Florida. Once the outcome is determined, the focus can switch to something else, but right now, Villanova needs to think about playing stellar basketball for 2 hours. We haven't seen this in over a month. No more excuses.