WHEN VISITING SOMEONE'S house, it's appropriate to bring a gift. For those going to the Liacouras Center for Sunday night's Temple-Villanova game, may we suggest bringing a toy?

Former Owls star Aaron McKie will be on hand collecting Toys for Tots donations and signing autographs prior to Sunday's important Big 5 tilt. Barbies, Fisher-Price-brand toys, sports equipment, and arts-and-crafts sets are among the most coveted items.

"If you can provide a child with a toy, it will put a smile on their face," said McKie, a Sixers assistant coach who grew up at 10th and Susquehanna. "I know the significance of that because I was one of those kids that was less fortunate. But I had people step into my life and give me things. As a child, you never want to feel left out when all the kids in the neighborhood get toys and you don't get anything."

McKie's collegiate exploits actually took place down the street from the Liacouras Center at McGonigle Hall. He went 1-1 against Villanova, including a 54-49 win at the Spectrum when he was a senior.

"Traditionally, the Big East was better than the Atlantic 10," said McKie, who had 17 points in that win. "But at the time I was playing we had a good argument to say that the Atlantic 10 was better than the Big East. That's why we always wanted to go out there and put it on those guys."

The third degree

Boy, Miguel Cabrera sure would have looked good manning third base in a Phillies uniform. Speaking of which, there's still plenty of time to buy those throwback jerseys. They go for $189.99.

Cabrera hit .320 with 34 homers and 119 RBI for the Marlins and has been a National League All-Star four times. Still, the sinking Marlins just unloaded him to the Tigers.

Oh, one other thing. If you're buying one of those jerseys, add another five bucks for shipping. *

- Ed Barkowitz