WHEN: Thursday, 7:30 p.m., USF Soccer Stadium
NEED TO KNOW: South Florida will try to take the first step in the defense of its Big East title as it takes on a Marquette side that was one of only two teams to earn a point from its trip to the USF Soccer Stadium this season.
The Golden Eagles tied the Bulls 1-1 earlier in the season, but have struggled to find consistency in the past two weeks. Marquette defeated Pittsburgh 5-0 last Saturday, but that was its only win in its last four contests as it closed the regular season with a 3-0 defeat against Connecticut.
South Florida was on a five-game winning streak before it was upended 2-1 by Rutgers in double-overtime last Saturday. Over that time, Hasani Sinclair has found his scoring touch, and is now tied with Bernardo Anor for the team lead with five goals. The Bulls, who finished their second straight regular season with an undefeated home record, will look to extend what is an overall run of 28 games to advance though to face Notre Dame.
A trend the Bulls will hope to avoid, however, is following in the footsteps of their Big East counterparts who held home-field advantage in Wednesday’s other first round games. In all three instances, the lower seed, No.6-seed Rutgers and No.5-seeds Providence and DePaul, advanced through to the quarterfinals.