Villanova was able to successfully navigate a potentially trick game against DePaul on Tuesday night, and as they return home to The Pavilion, they'll have another test against a foe that has given them trouble in recent years - the South Florida Bulls.
The teams have already met once this season, with Villanova winning at The Sun Dome 61-53 in early January. That win exorcised some demons for the Wildcats, who had been on a bad run of form against the Bulls since 2010. Mouphtaou Yarou (16 & 13), Daniel Ochefu (12 & 8), and JayVaughn Pinkston (15 & 4) dominated the first matchup, and with the Bulls' lack of height in the frontcourt, expect more of the same this time around.
South Florida is currently 1-9 in the Big East, with their home win being a major upset of Georgetown at The Sun Dome. They've come close a few times, and their trademark defense has been pretty good, but the lack of offense continues to be devastating to USF's season.
Check out these numbers: 311th in PPG (60.7), 314th in FG% (.399) and 257th in APG (11.8) - that last one is even worse than Villanova!
Victor Rudd and Anthony Collins are the two players that USF's offense will mostly run through, with Toarlyn Fitzpatrick always a threat to hit the deep ball. 'Nova did a solid job on Rudd (3-11 FG) and Collins (9 points, 4 assists) in the last game, and that should be the focus once again. Zach LeDay is a name to keep an eye on as the freshman is coming off of a 14-point effort in the blowout loss to Marquette that may provide him some confidence coming into Philly.
Villanova needs to win this game, and if they get off to a fast start, they shouldn't have a terribly hard time leaving this one with a victory. USF's lack of offense, and the pace at which they like to play, won't allow them to get back into the game if Villanova can build an early lead.
And while Villanova shot the ball well from the outside against DePaul, they should pound it down low against the Bulls, which was the recipe for success in the first meeting this season.
The game will tipoff on Saturday at 3:00 pm ET and will air on ESPNU.