Crucial games ahead for Bulls
USF (6-13, 0-6) at Cincinnati (14-7, 3-4)
When: Tonight, 7
Where: Fifth Third Arena
TV/Radio: None, 570 AM
The story: The last meeting between Cincinnati and USF was nearly a year ago in the Conference USA tournament, in which the Bulls pulled a surprise 80-68 upset over the Bearcats. At the time, Cincinnati was ranked, but this year the Big East is playing out much differently than coaches predicted. West Virginia is undefeated in league play, while the Bearcats have gone 1-4 in their last five games. Cincinnati returns senior Eric Hicks, who is averaging 14.4 points a game.
The Bulls, still seeking to get their elusive first Big East win, have come close to that win by a total of 21 points through five losses. The smallest margin USF has lost by is three points against No. 17 Georgetown (50-47) and No. 4 Villanova (49-46).
Keep an eye on: The Bearcats’ White. The 6-foot-7 senior leads the team in scoring as a large presence underneath the basket. The Florida transfer has 358 points this season and is shooting .358 percent from three-point range. However, the Bulls’ Melvin Buckley seems to be finding his niche and has been coming around to complement Holmes and Jones with 12.4 points a game and a .342 shooting percentage from beyond the arch.
– Mike Camunas
Villanova (12-7, 3-5) at USF (14-7, 4-4)
When: Tonight, 7
Where: Sun Dome
TV/Radio: None, 910 AM
The story: With a tough road trip behind it, the women’s team returns home to battle the Villanova Wildcats. USF will play four of its next seven games on the road, so the Bulls must take advantage of this home contest. The team heads into tonight’s game with some momentum after an upset victory over No. 21 Notre Dame on Saturday. A victory will give USF sole possession of fifth place in the conference. Junior guard Jessica Dickson, the nation’s leading scorer, has been held under her average of more than 23.5 points per game in the past two outings. Her teammates, however, have stepped up and supplied help on the offensive side of the court. Junior Nalini Miller and freshmen Jessica Jackson and Shantia Grace have provided other scoring threats for the Bulls.
Senior Ezria Parsons leads the the team with 110 defensive rebounds and 169 total, while Grace is shooting .269 percent from three-point range.
Keep an eye on: Villanova’s duo of forwards, senior Liad Suez and junior Jackie Adamshick. Suez leads the team in scoring with 14.9 points per game and in blocks with 18. Adamshick leads the team in rebounds with 6.7 per game and is second in scoring with 12.1 points per game. The Bulls must contain Suez offensively and limit Adamshick on the boards.
– Charles Gonzalez