While most students will be enjoying a Thanksgiving meal Thursday, the women’s basketball team (3-1) will be in the U.S. Virgin Islands playing in the Paradise Jam Basketball Tournament.
Coming off a dominant win at home against UNC-Asheville, USF will now take on three undefeated teams in a three-day span.
“There’s an opportunity for us to play some great basketball down there and continue to get better,” coach Jose Fernandez said.
The Bulls will face No. 9 Kentucky (4-0), Oklahoma (4-0) and Illinois (4-0) in the tournament, hoping to show skeptics that this team is the real deal.
With the loss to No. 8 Maryland last week, the Bulls dropped out of the USA Today Coaches Poll that they had recently been added to for the first time in program history. Coming away from this tournament without a loss would almost guarantee them a spot back in the rankings.
“That’s just a credit to the schedule that we play,” Fernandez said. “For us to stay in the poll, we’ve got to go to the Virgin Islands and prove we’re a top-25 team.”
No. 9 Kentucky already beat a top-10 opponent this year when it defeated Baylor last week, 74-64. A win against the Wildcats would give Fernandez and the Bulls what they lacked last season: a victory over a top-ranked team.
Following the tournament, the Bulls will be back in action at the Sun Dome on Dec. 3 to take on Stetson at 7 p.m.