March 7, 2012

Big East Tournament Pick: Villanova vs. South Florida Preview

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Bubbles might be bursting in the Big East on Wednesday night, as the South Florida Bulls take on the Villanova Wildcats at Madison Square Garden in the final game of the four-pack of NCAA basketball betting clashes on the evening.

To say that it has been a frustrating year for the Wildcats is a bit of an understatement. They have just six conference wins all season long, including the win over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the first round of the Big East Tournament on Tuesday. All hope isn’t lost for sure, though. Villanova is a team that is full of talent, and it is coming off of arguably the best half of basketball that it has played all season long. The Cats outscored Rutgers 40-15 in the second half on Tuesday to set up this showdown with South Florida. It was Maalik Wayns that really did a lot of the damage in the second half. He had 28 points for the game. Mouphtaou Yarou chipped in with a double-double as well with 13 points and 12 boards. The rest of the team was a bit MIA, but on the defensive end of the court, business really picked up. That’s great for a team that is allowing a stunning 71.0 points per game on the campaign, ranking a dreadful No. 274 in the land.

Once upon a time, getting 12 wins in the Big East and 19 overall was good enough to get into the NCAA Tournament pretty much regardless of what else you had on your resume. That being said, the Bulls are going to need that 13th conference win for sure if they hope to be in the dance, as a loss in this one would almost certainly put them on the wrong side of the bubble, especially if the Seton Hall Pirates and Connecticut Huskies, both of which are in very similar positions, win earlier in the day. It hasn’t always been pretty for the Bulls, and they are scoring just 59.5 points per game. No one on the squad is scoring in double digits on the average night. That being said, the defense has been the difference for Head Coach Stan Heath and the gang. USF is allowing just 57.2 points per game on the campaign and teams are only shooting 38.9 percent against it from the field. The Bulls rank No. 18 or better in virtually every major defensive category, and though it doesn’t make for great TV, no one in the Sunshine State will care if their team sees its name in the NCAA Tournament.

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The Final Word: This style of play just isn’t going to cut it for Villanova. The Bulls are going to frustrate the heck out of it in its second game in as many days, and by a relatively comfortable margin, they will progress to the quarterfinals and keep their March Madness dreams alive.

Villanova Wildcats vs. South Florida Bulls Free Pick: South Florida Bulls

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Adam Markowitz

is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.

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