#27 Villanova Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Villanova Wildcats

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #27
Conference Rank: #2 Big East

Villanova Team Page#27 Villanova Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Villanova Basketball Tickets

Villanova won 20 games last year and reached the NCAA Tournament. And that was with a relatively young squad. A year older and a year wiser, the Wildcats are poised for a big season in the new look Big East. Coach Jay Wright will need Ryan Arcidiacono to grow up the most. He was a big reason why Villanova ranked 323rd in the country with 15.7 turnovers per game. Arcidiacono did do everything else extremely well. He averaged 11.9 points and proved to be a capable outside shooter. With some solid passing, it was really just the turnovers that were a problem. Arcidiacono was just a freshman last season and that year of experience should help Arcidiacono emerge as a more complete player who can lead the Wildcats back to the NCAA Tournament.

2012-13 Record: 20-14, 10-8
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jay Wright
Coach Record: 257-144 at Villanova, 379-229 overall

Who’s Out:
The loss of Achraf Yacoubou will not have much of an effect on the backcourt, but the frontcourt will certainly miss Mouphtaou Yarou and Maurice Sutton. Yarou started all 34 games in the post and easily led the team with 7.8 rebounds per contest. He added 9.9 in the scoring department. Sutton averaged less than ten minutes per game, but was a tough defender and the team’s best shot blocker.

Who’s In:
Coach Wright will have to rely on some of the newcomers, especially in the post. Kris Jenkins is only 6-6, yet he has a big body that can push people around in the paint. Offensively, Jenkins can score inside and out. Darryl Reynolds, a more traditional power forward, will need to join Jenkins and provide depth up front right away. Josh Hart will add some depth on the wing and Dylan Ennis will help Arcidiacono run the show. Ennis, a transfer from Rice, set an Owl record for assists as a freshman. Ennis is more than just a passer; the 6-2 sophomore is a superb athlete who can do a bit of everything. He averaged 8.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and even blocked 21 shots. The competition is going to get much tougher, but Ennis is ready to at least be the secondary ball handler on the team.

Who to Watch:
Without Yarou, the Villanova frontcourt will rely very heavily on JayVaughn Pinkston. The 6-7 junior started last season on the bench, but stepped into the starting lineup down the stretch. On the year he averaged 13.3 points and 5.0 rebounds. That production is expected to increase this time around. The hope is Daniel Ochefu will be ready to step in for Yarou full time. Ochefu, a 6-10, 245 pound forward, had a promising freshman campaign and started a handful of contests late in the year. He is a strong rebounder and a good defender and the offense should come with time. Behind Pinkston and Ochefu, the Wildcats have no scholarship forward on the roster with any experience. That is why the quick development of Jenkins and Reynolds is huge.

Final Projection:
While the frontcourt may need some time to reload, the backcourt can carry the load. Returning starters Darrun Hilliard and James Bell, along with senior sub Tony Chennault, will join Arcidiacono and Ennis in what is suddenly a very deep and talented backcourt. Hilliard, a 6-6 junior, averaged 11.4 points per game and is a superb perimeter defender. While Hilliard can knock down some three-pointers, it is Bell that spends a majority of his time beyond the arc. Bell was Villanova’s most consistent three-point shooter and should remain in that role during his senior season. With Bell and Hilliard both standing at 6-6, it is even feasible for Coach Wright to run a four guard offense. That is something he has done in the past with great success and the new Big East is not going to be quite as physically tough as it was in the past. The Wildcats will have the opportunity to play small, but the hope is Ochefu and the freshmen will give Coach Wright options to mix around the lineup and rotation depending on the competition. If that happens and Villanova can legitimately go eight or nine deep, this is a team that can do more than just get to the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Ryan Arcidiacono, Sophomore, Guard, 11.9 points per game
James Bell, Senior, Guard, 8.6 points per game
Darrun Hilliard, Junior, Guard, 11.4 points per game
JayVaughn Pinkston, Junior, Forward, 13.3 points per game
Daniel Ochefu, Sophomore, Forward, 3.5 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.9 (159th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.1 (130, 10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 41.6 (255, 11)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.4 (62, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.0 (176, 6)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.1 (209, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.9 (91, 3)
Rebound Margin: 3.2 (79, 8)
Assists Per Game: 12.1 (219, 14)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.7 (323, 15)

Madness 2013 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#74 Kris Jenkins
#92 Josh Hart


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