#68 Villanova Wildcats: College Basketball 111 in 111


villanova basketball

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

Last season, the Villanova Wildcats finished with their worst record during Jay Wright’s 11-year tenure as head coach, also missing out on the NIT or NCAA Tournament for the first time in his regime.  Nova loses their top two scorers from last year but it could be a case of addition by subtraction as I expect the Wildcats to be a middle of the pack Big East squad.

VILLANOVA WILDCATS
Last Season: T-13th, 5-13 in Big East, 13-19 overall
Predicted Big East Finish: 7th

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Mouphtaou Yarou (Sr)/Maurice Sutton (Sr)
PF: Jayvaughn Pinkston (So)/Daniel Ochefu (Fr)
G/F: James Bell (Jr)/Mislav Brzoja (Fr)
SG: Darrun Hilliard (So)/Achraf Yacoubou (So)
PG: Tony Chennault (Jr)/Ty Johnson (So)/Ryan Arcidiacono (Fr)

Gone: PG-Maalik Wayns, SG-Dominic Cheek, PF-Markus Kennedy (transfer-SMU)

2012-2013 Outlook:
Starting point guard Maalik Wayns and wing Dominic Cheek both left the Wildcats a year early to enter the NBA Draft and ended up not being selected.  (Great decision guys)  A team that has thrived in recent years because of their strong backcourt play now faces a changing of the guard. (Pun intended)

Likely to take over at the point for Wayns is Wake Forest transfer Tony Chennault who received a waiver from the NCAA and becomes immediate eligible.  The Philly native returns home to bring some needed experience to the backcourt.  He will be pushed by sophomore Ty Johnson who is definitely more of a floor general than scorer and highly-touted freshman Ryan Arcidiacono.

Wright also picked up a key transfer in Rice point guard Dylan Ennis who must sit out this season per NCAA rules.  His addition for the 2013-14 season will give Villanova a skilled guard capable of contributing in just about every area of the game and give Wright the option to use more of a guard heavy line-up.

On the wing, James Bell will be asked to pick up the scoring slack left behind by Cheek.  The athletic, physical off guard could be poised for a breakout season now that it will be his time to shine.  Sophomores Darrun Hillard and Achraf Yacoubou should see larger roles with Hillard likely to take over as starting shooting guard.  Croatian shooter Mislav Brzoja could become a source of instant offense off the bench as well.  It will be interesting to see how the rotation plays out on the wing but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chennault, Arcidiacono, and Bell emerge as the main trio.

Up-front, the ‘Cats have a solid one-two punch with Mouphtaou Yarou and Jayvaughn Pinkston.  Yarou has steadily improved his offensive game during his time at Nova but is still most effective as a rebounder and physical defender down low.  Pinkston is a tough match-up for opposing defenses due to his combination of strength and skill on the offensive end.  He showed glimpses midway through last season but disappeared and was a non-factor too often.  Consistent production will be key for his development this season.

The loss of transfer Markus Kennedy who left for SMU opens up opportunity off the bench for Maurice Sutton and freshman Daniel Ochefu.  Sutton played well late last season relying on his length and athleticism though his lack of strength and low basketball IQ continues to hinder his effectiveness.  Ochefu is also long and athletic but is fairly skilled as a scorer and should factor into the frontcourt rotation right away.

Villanova finds itself entering a season with low expectations which is something new during the Wright era.  With a rather young roster that has plenty of room to grow from last year’s disappointing season, it’d be insane to think a massive turnaround is imminent for Nova; at least for the 2012-13 campaign.

Player to Watch: James Bell
For the first time in several years, Villanova enters the season without a proven scoring guard returning.  This is where Bell will need to emerge.  He can stroke it from deep but is also explosive at the rim and needs to live up the hype he had when he joined the Nova program out of the high school if the Wildcats are going to turn things around this year..

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/11 vs. Marshall
11/15 vs. Purdue (2k Classic)
11/16 vs. Alabama/Oregon State (2k Classic)
11/25 at La Salle
12/1 at Vanderbilt
12/5 vs. Temple
12/11 vs. St. Joseph’s

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#69 Maryland Terrapins
#70 Marshall Thundering Herd
#71 Iona Gaels
#72 Northwestern Wildcats
#73 Oklahoms State Cowboys
#74 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#75 USC Trojans
#76 UConn Huskies
#77 Harvard Crimson
#78 Xavier Musketeers
#79 Ole Miss Rebels
#80 Clemson Tigers
#81 Oregon State Beavers
#82 Texas A&M Aggies
#83 Providence Friars
#84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

Comments

  1. I still can’t get over how low you hvae Northwestern this year. And thats before they suspended Jershon Cobb for the season, which will hurt even more. It seems off for them to be that bad, but I’m not going to argue with the master

  2. There is zero chance Hilliard will start at the two. ZERO. It will either be archy, T.J. or chennault

  3. Yeah, Swophsire is just such a huge downgrade from Shurna… w/o Cobb there’s zero chance of them making tourney…

    James, totally up for grabs at this point… I threw Hilliard in there because he got the most PT of the returning guys last year… like I wrote, I think Arcidiacono, Chennault, and Bell will be their best line-up at guard…

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