#31 Villanova Wildcats: College Basketball 111 in 111


villanova basketball

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

Fun facts: In the past two seasons the Villanova Wildcats have finished 9-11 in the second half of Big East play, haven’t won a Big East Tournament game, and their only NCAA Tournament win was a three-point overtime victory against a 15 seed.  (Okay, not “fun” facts if you are a ‘Nova fan.)  Jay Wright has not been able to sustain a level of success despite having a ton of talent and may struggle to do so this season with a young roster.

Last Season: T-9th, 9-9 in Big East, 21-12 overall
Predicted Big East Finish: 7th

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Mouphtaou Yarou (Jr)/Maurice Sutton (Jr)
PF: Jayvaughn Pinkston (Fr)/Markus Kennedy (Fr)
G/F: James Bell (So)/Darrun Hilliard (Fr)
G: Dominic Cheek (Jr)/Achraf Yacoubou (Fr)
PG: Maalik Wayns (Jr)/Ty Johnson (Fr)

Gone: G-Corey Fisher, SG-Corey Stokes, PF-Antonio Pena, F-Isaiah Armwood (transfer-George Washington)

2011-2012 Outlook:
In losing starters Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes, and Antonio Pena, Villanova faces a transition period with no seniors on the roster.  That means junior point guard Maalik Wayns will carry the responsibility of becoming the team leader and sole ball handler, a job he shared last year with Fisher.

Dominic Cheek and James Bell likely step into the starting line-up, replacing Stokes and Isaiah Armwood on the wing.  Both players are bigger guards and will need to have breakout seasons for ‘Nova to exceed expectations.  A major concern will be who can replace Stokes as the team’s three-point threat since Wayns, Cheek, and Bell are not efficient shooters from the perimeter.

A trio of freshmen will hope to provide depth in the backcourt.  Tyrone Johnson has good size for a point guard and a knack for attacking the basket.  Archaf Yacoubou and Darrun Hilliard are both versatile, hard-nosed wings who can impact a game in numerous ways.

Mouphtaou Yarou brings an energetic, defensive presence to the middle.  He made great strides during his sophomore campaign but still has a way to go with his development on the offensive end.  Maurice Sutton is an athletic, lengthy big man but is rail thin which really limits his effectiveness and often gets  him into foul trouble.  Freshman Markus Kennedy is a big body inside but also extremely comfortable with the ball in his hands meaning he adds some needed versatility to the frontcourt.

Jayvaughn Pinkston was suspended for all of last season stemming from an off-the-court altercation but is eligible for the ‘Cats.  Like Kennedy, Pinkston is a beast inside at 6-7, 260 pounds but can also step out on the perimeter and knock down jump shots.  He will likely step into the starting line-up right away giving Wright a problem causing duo with Yarou.

It has been proven that talent trumps experience.  Half of this year’s ‘Nova team is freshman; skilled players but young and inexperienced.  Wright will have to exorcise the demons of the past two seasons and do one heck of a coaching job.  One thing is for sure, the Wildcats will not be over-ranked this pre-season and must put together a complete effort before I can believe they are a real threat come tourney time.

maalik wayns jay wright

Player to Watch: Maalik Wayns
Having played behind and alongside Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher the past two seasons, Wayns now becomes the leader of this Wildcat team.  He will be given the opportunity of being the catalyst offensively which also comes with the challenge of opposing teams keying in on stopping him.  Wayns has NBA potential and is capable of successfully accepting that responsibility, but for him to prove that he has to cut down on his turnovers and improve his shot selection.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/24 vs. UC-Riverside (76 Classic)
11/25 vs. Boston College/St. Louis (76 Classic)
11/26 vs. New Mexico/Santa Clara/Oklahoma/Washington State (76 Classic)
12/6 vs. Missouri (in New York)
12/10 at Temple
12/17 at St. Joseph’s

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#32 Michigan State Spartans
#33 Florida State Seminoles
#34 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
#35 Harvard Crimson
#36 Illinois Fighting Illini
#37 Oregon Ducks
#38 Wichita State Shockers
#39 Cal Golden Bears
#40 Belmont Bruins
#41 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#42 Saint Mary’s Gaels
#43 Purdue Boilermakers
#44 BYU Cougars
#45 Kansas State Wildcats
#46 West Virginia Mountaineers
#47 Virginia Cavaliers
#48 George Mason Patriots
#49 Old Dominion Monarchs

#50 VCU Rams
#51 Kent State Golden Flashes
#52 Arkansas Razorbacks
#53 St. John’s Red Storm
#54 Northwestern Wildcats
#55 Georgetown Hoyas
#56 Miami Hurricanes
#57 Nevada Wolfpack
#58 Detroit Titans
#59 UCF Knights
#60 Long Beach State 49ers
#61 Virginia Tech Hokies
#62 Clemson Tigers
#63 New Mexico State Aggies
#64 Tennessee Volunteers
#65 Iona Gaels
#66 Murray State Racers
#67 N.C. State Wolfpack
#68 Fairfield Stags
#69 George Washingon Colonials
#70 Indiana State Sycamores
#71 Oklahoma State Cowboys
#72 Indiana Hoosiers
#73 UAB Blazers
#74 Iowa State Cyclones
#75 Creighton Bluejays
#76 USC Trojans
#77 Weber State Wildcats
#78 Maryland Terrapins
#79 Tulsa Golden Hurricane
#80 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#81 Western Michigan Broncos
#82 Dayton Flyers
#83 Stanford Cardinal
#84 Yale Bulldogs

#85 Georgia Bulldogs
#86 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#87 Richmond Spiders
#88 Ball State Cardinals
#89 Utah State Aggies
#90 Arizona State Sun Devils
#91 Marshall Thundering Herd
#92 Oregon State Beavers
#93 Washington State Cougars
#94 Iowa Hawkeyes
#95 Ole Miss Rebels
#96 Nebraska Cornhuskers
#97 Oklahoma Sooners
#98 South Florida Bulls
#99 LSU Tigers
#100 Colorado Buffaloes
#101 DePaul Blue Demons
#102 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#103 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#104 Seton Hall Pirates
#105 Providence Friars
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 South Carolina Gamecocks
#108 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#109 Penn State Nittany Lions
#110 Boston College Eagles
#111 Utah Utes

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 on the web.

You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

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