USF vs. No. 20 Villanova
When/where: Noon; Sun Dome, Tampa
TV/radio: Ch. 28; 1250-AM
Records: USF 7-11, 2-4 Big East; Villanova 14-4, 2-3
Notable: Here's how tough the Big East is: Villanova is ranked, and just a half-game ahead of the Bulls in the league standings. All four of the Wildcats' losses are to ranked teams by fewer than 10 points, including Texas and Connecticut. The Bulls haven't beaten a ranked team in eight tries under coach Stan Heath, though USF is playing well, sweeping DePaul and losing by five to Syracuse and three at West Virginia. Senior G Jesus Verdejo, who missed Tuesday's win against DePaul to recover from a concussion sustained two days earlier at West Virginia, returned to practice Thursday (minus a tooth lost when he landed on a WVU player) and is expected to play. Villanova's top scorer is 6-foot-8, 230-pound Dante Cunningham, who leads the team in scoring (16.7 points per game) and averages 7.1 rebounds. The key battle is inside, where the Bulls must go without center B.J. Ajayi, lost for the season after injuring his right knee in practice Thursday.
Greg Auman, Times staff writer