Bulls set to take on Nova in Big East tourney

Stan Heath and his Bulls will get a chance to bolster its NCAA tourney resume when USF faces off against the 14th-seeded Villanova Wildcats in the second round of the 2012 Big East Conference Tournament tonight.

The No. 6th-seeded Bulls will get a chance to bolster its NCAA tourney resume against the 14th-seeded Villanova Wildcats in the second round of the 2012 Big East Conference Tournament tonight.

If Stan Heath and USF wants to make their first return to the NCAA Tournament in twenty years (1992), the Bulls are in need of a win tonight.  

USF finished the regular season 19-12 overall and 12-6 in the Big East, their best finish in the conference since joining in 2005. On Tuesday Head coach Stan Heath was awarded the Big East Coach of the Year award after turning USF into the surprise team in the league. 

The Bulls got there by being one of the top defensive teams in the nation all season long, and leads the Big East with an allowed average of just 57.2 ppg.  

The Bulls are lead by dynamic freshman point guard Anthony Collins, who was named to the Big East All-Rookie squad. Colins finished the regular season with 5.3 per game and found a scoring touch down the stretch, averaging 8.0 points per game with a 85.7 free-throw percentage. He also added 1.6 steals per game  and 1.9 rebounds during the regular season. 

On the offensive side, no USF player has over a double-digit scoring average, but forward Augustus Gilchrist and guard Jawanza Poland have stood out as the main offensive weapons.  Gilchrist averaged 9.9 points and 4.8 rebounds while Poland scored 8.9 points per game. Forward Victor Rudd is averaging 8.4 points per game and Toarlyn Fitzpatrick averaged 8.3 points per game and leads the team in rebounds, averaging 6.7 per game. Ron Anderson has been a force inside averaging 5.6 boards per game while chipping in 6.6 points per contest.

USF won both games this year against Villanova and outscored Nova by double-digit margins, holding them  to an average of 54.0 ppg in its two games this season. Even thought the Bulls swept the season series with the Wildcats, and handled them easily during the last match-up at the Forum, this time the Wildacats will have guard Maalik Wayns back. Wayns missed the last matchup with the Bulls due to a knee injury.

During the regular season Wayns  averaged 17.5 points per game, 3.4 rebounds per game, 4.1 rebounds per game with 24 steals and in the recent win over Rutgers, Wayns had 28 points. Guard Dominic Cheek averaged 13.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, and had 31 steals per game while hitting 30% from beyond the arc. Inside is  forward/center Mouphta Yarou, who is averages 10.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game with 24 blocks and forward Jayvaughn Pinkston (10 points and 5.2 rebounds per game).

Beating a team 3 times in a row during a season will be hard and if you go back to 2010-12, where USF sent Nova home during last years BIG EAST tourney, tha't will make 4 in a row, so Heath and the Bulls will have their hands full tonight.

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