The Villanova Wildcats hope to repeat as national champions for the first time in school history this upcoming season. Ryan Arcidiacano and Daniel Ochefu have moved on, but does Villanova still have the tools to repeat as champions of college basketball?
The most exciting newcomer is Eric Paschall, who is a transfer from Fordham. Paschall sat out last season per NCAA transfer rules, but he will be ready to contribute significant minutes to this seasons team. The redshirt Sophomore averaged 15.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game as a freshman at Fordham, which earned him Atlantic-10 Rookie of the Year. Dylan Painter is a freshman big man who will have to earn his minutes from hard work in practice. Painter, a 6-9, 215 pound center from Hershey, Pennsylvania, chose Villanova over Big East foe Xavier, and local schools Penn State, La Salle, and Saint Joseph’s. Painter is a big body who will be a classic project for Jay Wright to develop, but he can help out the frontcourt immediately. He has a nice mid range game and has expanded his range beyond the arc. The most popular newcomer is Omari Spellman, a highly sought after 5 star recruit. Due to NCAA bullshit, Spellman is ineligible for this upcoming season. Spellman is an extremely versatile 6-9 forward who could’ve be the final piece to the puzzle for this years team to repeat. We may never know if that’s true or not, but Villanova fans everywhere should be excited to see Spellman in action next season.
Earlier, I previewed Villanova’s chances of winning the Big East. I can’t see ‘Nova losing more than 5 or 6 regular season games. The most notable games are: Nov. 14 @ #15 Purdue, Dec. 10 vs. Notre Dame, Dec. 13 vs. Temple, Jan. 10 @ #7 Xavier, Jan. 29 vs. #8 Virginia, Feb. 11 @ #7 Xavier, Feb. 25 vs. #22 Creighton.
PG: Jalen Brunson
SG: Josh Hart
SF: Eric Paschall
PF: Kris Jenkins
C: Darryl Reynolds
MVP: Josh Hart
Best Newcomer: Eric Paschall
Best bench player: Phil Booth
I see Villanova winning the Big East regular season but losing in the tournament to Xavier. Following a tough loss in the Big East tourney, they will be given a 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. We will see how much this team matures as the season goes on, but I believe Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins won’t go out without a fight. Villanova will at least make it to the Elite Eight, and a possible championship repeat is possible.
Villanova will win around 30 games, and won’t have much of an issue cruising to victories in most of their games. Josh Hart will lead the team, but consistent play from Jenkins and Brunson will key the teams success. Darryl Reynolds will assume a huge role as the teams primary rebounder and post player. If the team can find their identity and have the same grit and toughness that a typical Jay Wright coached team has, then Villanova could repeat as champions. If their play is inconsistent throughout the year and they struggle to mesh as a unit, then they could be sent home the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. Jay Wright will have his work cut out early on, but I’m confident he will figure this team out in time to make a championship run.