Oracle insight: Top five days of the semester

As a new semester begins, The Oracle picks the top five days on the athletics calendar:

5. Feb. 22

After missing the Big East tournament with a 25-29 record last season, the Bulls baseballteam opens its seasonin Clearwater at theBig East/Big Ten Challenge before coming to campusfor a long home stand beginning with the home opener Feb. 22.

Entering its second season,the USF Baseball Stadium willhost 23 games in a 24-gamestretch through April 3.

4. Feb. 10

Last season, the USFsoftball team climbed into the national rankings on the strength of a dominantpitching staff before the seasonfizzled out with a loss in theBig East Tournament.

With another strongrecruiting class in hand, the Bulls open theirseason at the USF SoftballStadium on Feb. 10 witha game against Maine at 1:45 p.m. beforeplaying Florida Gulf Coastat 4 p.m.

3. Feb. 11

The softball team hostsback-to-back games against LongIsland and Illinois State in theUSF Tournament Competitionbeginning at 1:45 p.m. at theUSF Softball Stadium.

The women’s basketball teamhosts Villanova in the nightcapin the nearby Campus Recreation Center, withtipoff scheduled for 7 p.m. The men’s basketball team willalso be competing that afternoonwith a road game against Providence set to start at 4 p.m.

In addition, the women’stennis team could becompeting at the ITA NationalIndoor Championships inCharlottesville, Va.

2. March 18

With six sports in action andthe potential for a seventh,this will be one of thebusiest nights of the semester.

The women’s golf, men’s golf and sailing teams will all be competing away fromcampus before the men’stennis team gets thingsstarted at the USF VarsityTennis Courts with a matchagainst Winthrop at noon.

Once that match is over, fans should head to the USF Baseball/Softball Complex as both teams will be in action simultaneously on either side of the stadium. Thebaseball team wraps up aseries against Lafayette at1 p.m., while the softballteam hosts Florida State half an hour later.

Should the women’sbasketball team qualify forthe NCAA Tournament, the Bulls could play a first-round game on this day.

1. March 7

The Oracle’s pick for the best day of the new semester is March 7, with three teamsplaying four games.

The day starts at theUSF Varsity Tennis Courts asthe women’s tennis team hosts Boston College at 2 p.m.

From there, fans can head to the USF Softball Stadium to watch the Bulls play CentralMichigan at 5 p.m. Once that game wraps up, fans will have one of the most uniquedecisions in the country tomake as both the softball and baseball teams competeunder the lights at 7 p.m. oneither side of the complex.Baseball hosts Jacksonville, while the softball team will have arematch against CentralMichigan.

Savvy fans may choose towatch the action from theDonaldson Deck, the raised platform that overlooks both fields, and switch over between innings.