#11 Villanova Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Villanova Wildcats

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #11
Conference Rank: #1 Big East

Villanova Team Page#11 Villanova Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy Villanova Basketball Tickets

Villanova spearheaded the Big East revival, but they have also dominated the new look Big East over the last two seasons. In that span they have lost just four conference games. Two of those came last season at Seton Hall and Georgetown and the Wildcats did not lose again until the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately for Villanova, that loss came much sooner than it should have. The Wildcats rightfully earned a #1 seed, but lost in the third round to eighth seeded North Carolina State. This team may not be quite as dominate, but they should be able to put together a stronger finish.

2014-15 Record: 33-3, 16-2
2014-15 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jay Wright
Coach Record: 319-1522 at Villanova, 439-237 overall

Who’s Out:
Three starters are gone and that hurts. Darrun Hilliard, a 6-6 wing, led the team with 14.3 points per game and he was the most prolific outside shooter on a team that was full of shooters. Dylan Ennis ranked second on the team in three-pointers made and averaged 9.9 points and 3.5 assists during his senior season. Those two were a big reason why Villanova ranked 14th in the country in three-pointers made per game. The other loss is 6-7 forward JayVaughn Pinkston. He was a versatile big man who could pass pretty well out of the post and play tough defense. He averaged 9.7 points and 5.4 rebounds during his senior season.

Who’s In:
One of the main reasons why Villanova is still the favorite to win the Big East title despite the loss of three starters is because of this recruiting class, most notably five star point guard Jalen Brunson. Brunson is one of the best point guards in this class and he should be starting from day one. Brunson can even be eased into his point guard duties as a secondary ball handler beside returning point guard Ryan Arcidiacono. Brunson has enough scoring prowess to play off of the ball and Coach Jay Wright has never been opposed to playing two point guards, especially when both can score. The freshmen class also includes wings Donte DiVincenzo and Mikal Bridges. DiVincenzo is a combo guard who will not likely make a big splash as a freshman, but Bridges has the versatility to be an interesting option off of the bench. As a redshirt freshman, Bridges has some experience in the system and he can do a little bit of everything. Tim Delaney is a tough 6-8 forward and he will have to be ready to provide depth right away.

Who to Watch:
As usual, it will be the backcourt that carries Villanova. Arcidiacono rarely puts up big numbers, but he seems to make all of the big shots. The senior guard averaged 10.1 points and a team high 3.6 assists last season. He can knock down three-pointers, but could stand to be more consistent. With Brunson presumably taking some of the pressure off, Arcidiacono should be in for a big senior season, even if the numbers do not show it. The expectations are pretty high for Josh Hart too. He turned into a superb sixth man last year and played some great basketball down the stretch. The 6-5 junior averaged nearly 18 points per game during the Big East Tournament run and averaged 10.1 on the year. With his size, Hart can attack the basket, but he does most of his damage from long range. He made an amazing 46.4 percent of his 112 three-point attempts last year. He was not the only shooter off of the bench though. Phil Booth is also back after hitting 48.5 percent of his 66 three-point attempts. Booth is an option to step into that sixth man role now that Hart is expected to step into the starting lineup.

Final Projection:
The backcourt is very strong, but the frontcourt needs to find a partner for 6-11 forward Daniel Ochefu. Ochefu just keeps getting better and last season averaged 9.2 points and team highs with 8.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. He has had some huge games, but does not do it consistently. That will be what Villanova hopes for during his senior season. It would be much easier if Kris Jenkins was ready to step into a starting role too. The 6-6, 240 pound junior is mostly a shooter though and Ochefu cannot do all of the rebounding himself. Villanova can win plenty of games with Jenkins knocking down shots and Ochefu hanging out in the paint, but there will be times when they need Delaney or a player like little used Darryl Reynolds to bang in the paint.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Ryan Arcidiacono, Senior, Guard, 10.1 points per game
Jalen Brunson, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Josh Hart, Junior, Guard, 10.1 points per game
Kris Jenkins, Junior, Forward, 6.3 points per game
Daniel Ochefu, Senior, Forward, 9.2 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.5 (21st in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 60.9 (42, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.0 (37, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.6 (72, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 9.1 (14, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.9 (25, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.1 (47, 1)
Rebound Margin: 2.0 (106, 5)
Assists Per Game: 15.8 (15, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.6 (26, 1)

Madness 2015 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#20 Jalen Brunson
#127 Donte Divincenzo


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