March 3, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; South Florida Bulls guard Jawanza Poland (5) reacts after scoring a basket against the West Virginia Mountaineers at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Griffith-US PRESSWIRE
The USF Bulls and Villanova Wildcats face off tonight in the second round of the Big East Tournament. The Bulls need a win to help clinch a bubble spot into the NCAA Tournament.
The USF Bulls have been having a dream season thus far. Their athletic department has been mired in mediocrity in recent years -- their football program has been pain-inducing recently -- but the Bulls' men's hoops team is currently on the verge of receiving their first NCAA Tournament bid in 20 years. After going 19-12 during the season (12-6 in the Big East), the Bull clinched a No. 6 seed in the Big East Tournament, and they could solidify their bubble status tonight with one more win.
The Bulls will face No. 14 seed Villanova tonight, as the Wildcats beat No. 11 Rutgers last night 70-49. As Collin Sherwin over at Voodoo Five pointed out, this is a great match-up for the Bulls:
Go Villanova! The Bulls beat Villanova by 17 on the road and 14 at home this season, but needed a massively clutch play by Anthony Collins to squeak out a two point win over the Scarlet Knights on New Year's Day. USF is a much better team than they were in early January, but there's no reason to tempt fate, and a 'Cats victory should make [the game] slightly less stressful.
The Bulls could still possibly receive a bid if they lose tonight's game, but it would make things dicier and take their fate out of their hands.
Tonight's game is slated for 9:00pm EST, and it will be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN3D. The winner will go on to play No. 3 Notre Dame on Thursday night.
For more on tonight's game, drop by SB Nation's blog on the USF Bulls, Voodoo Five.