Plancher expects sixth year

USF running back Mo Plancher is still waiting to hear back from the NCAA on whether he’ll be granted a sixth season of eligibility, though he says he fully expects to be back.

Plancher, who led all USF running backs with 581 rushing yards and five touchdowns last season, said he’s been told by team officials he has a “95 percent chance” of being granted a sixth year.

“The athletic trainers and the guys upstairs who handle compliance say I have a really good chance,” said Plancher, who expects to compete for a starting spot if he’s with the team next year. “But there’s still always that chance that I won’t, so it’s sitting in the back of my mind.”

Plancher entered college with a shoulder injury and took a redshirt in 2005. He then tore his ACL in the first game of the 2006 season and was granted a medical redshirt.

With Mike Ford dismissed from the team for violating team rules last month, Plancher expects to be the front-runner for next season’s featured back if he returns. Spring practice starts March 16.

“I’m just going to continue to work hard and act like I have it right now,” he said. “My focus is on the team and whatever I can do to help the team.”

Muma groundbreaking

The Pam and Les Muma basketball center, part of a $30 million package of facility upgrades for USF’s athletic district, will have its groundbreaking ceremony today between entries three and four of the Sun Dome.

The event is open to the public.

USF men’s basketball coach Stan Heath, USF Athletic Director Doug Woolard, President Judy Genshaft, women’s basketball coach Jose Fernandez and the Mumas, long-time supporters of the University who helped finance the upgrades, are expected to be present.

The center will hold men’s and women’s basketball practice gymnasiums and team support facilities, including locker rooms, offices, meeting rooms, athletic training, strength training and equipment management facilities.

Holtz to speak at townhall meeting

USF football coach Skip Holtz will hold the first of several “The Inside Skip” townhall meetings tonight in the Sun Dome Corral from 6:30 to 8.

The event, open to the public, will provide an open forum for fans, boosters and season ticket holders to ask Holtz questions after he briefly addresses the audience. USF is planning townhall meetings at other locations as well, including Pinellas County and Palma Ceia.

Women’s tennis at South Carolina tonight

The No. 20 Bulls, coming off a 4-3 win over Texas A&M last weekend, play No. 10 South Carolina (3-3) in Columbia today at 2 p.m. USF (5-2) is on a three-match win streak.

Junior Irene Rehberger is No. 35 in the individual ITA rankings, while in doubles she and senior Melissa Koning are ranked No. 15 in the country.

USF plays at No. 10 Clemson on Friday at 2 p.m. and No. 65 Winthrop on Saturday at noon.

Women’s basketball: Bulls get Big East No. 11 seed, will face Cincinnati in first round

USF (15-14, 6-10), coming off a 75-61 loss to DePaul on Monday, has earned the No. 11 seed in the Big East tournament and will play No. 14 seed Cincinnati in the first round Friday at 8 p.m.

The tournament takes place at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., and runs until Tuesday.

The Bulls, who defeated the Bearcats 64-47 earlier this season, have advanced past the first round in each of the past three seasons.