2014 Villanova Wildcats Predictions and NCAA Basketball Futures Odds
by Aaron Smith - 11/3/2014
Villanova entered last season with a lot of questions. The Wildcats had an inexperienced team, and they had been underachieving in recent seasons. The Wildcats were picked to finish fourth in the Big East. It turns out expectations were far too low for last year's Villanova team. The Wildcats rolled off 29 wins, which was the second most in program history. They easily coasted to a Big East regular season title.
Villanova was very fortunate to have very few injuries last year. None of the key Wildcats players on last year's squad suffered a significant injury at any time throughout the year. Also key in their turnaround last year was their improved ability to take care of the basketball. Villanova was plagued by sloppy play two years ago, but they turned it over only 11.9 times per game last season.
Coach Jay Wright said last year's team came together and had a special chemistry about them. Wright said about this year, "It's going to be hard to better our numbers in wins and that stuff. We've got to be smart about that and not get frustrated, just make sure we're playing well." One thing Villanova does hope to do is improve the way they finish the season. The Wildcats lost two of their final three games last season and failed to reach the Sweet 16.
2014 Villanova Key Losses & Additions
James Bell was a first-team All-Big East performer last year. Bell averaged 14.4 points per game, and despite being only 6-6 he was arguably the team's most consistent rebounder. He averaged 6.1 rebounds per contest. Bell was a guy who made a big impact on the team, and he led the team with 85 made three-pointers. Tony Chennault is the only other guy gone from last year's team. Chennault gave the team solid depth in the backcourt, and he was seen as a high-character guy.
The Wildcats didn't lose a lot of players, and they didn't pick up a bunch, either. Villanova brought in only two new players this year. Mikal Bridges and Phil Booth are both considered borderline prospects by most talent evaluators, and it isn't likely these freshman will be seeing the court any time soon for Villanova.
2014 Villanova Backcourt
Ryan Arcidiacono's growth as a point guard was the single biggest reason Villanova played so well last year. Two years ago he showed loads of potential, but he was a turnover machine. Last year, he cut his turnovers in half from 96 to 48. Arcidiacono's assist-to-turnover ratio went from 1.24 to 2.46. He did a much better job of taking quality shots and not forcing the issue. This is a guy who got much better between his freshman and sophomore season. He'll probably shoot a little better percentage this year as well. Darrun Hilliard averaged 14.3 points per game last season. Hilliard will be a senior leader for this year's squad. Hilliard's consistency a year ago is something that caught my eye. He scored in double figures in 30 of the Wildcats 34 games. Coach Wright thinks Hilliard is a little too unselfish, and he wants him to look to shoot more often this year. Dylan Ennis is the older brother of former Syracuse star Tyler Ennis. He'll see more time this year, but Wright said he needs him to play within the system more this season.
2014 Villanova Frontcourt
JayVaughn Pinkston is the leader for the Wildcats in the frontcourt. He is good on the offensive glass, and he averaged almost six free throws attempts per game last year. Pinkston needs to work on his midrange jump shot, but he is very good in the low post. He does all the dirty work needed, and the coaching staff looks to see him be a leader this season. Daniel Ochefu is 6-foot-11 center who is a terrific passer out of the post. Ochefu actually had a game last year against Seton Hall where he finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists. Wright said he would like to see Ochefu score a little more, but Ochefu is the most unselfish player on the team. Ochefu averaged 1.5 blocks per game last year. Kris Jenkins will be first off the bench in the frontcourt. Jenkins is described by the coaching staff as a high-IQ guy who learns quickly from his mistakes. Jenkins' versatility on the court will get him increased playing time this season.
2014 Villanova Futures Odds
Villanova is respected by the oddsmakers after such a consistent season a year ago. The Wildcats are listed at 28/1 to win the NCAA Championshipat Bovada. Villanova is listed at +3,000 to win it all at BetOnline.
2014 Villanova Wildcats Predictions & NCAA Basketball Picks
Villanova's good fortune with no injuries last year will be awfully hard to repeat. The Wildcats were also 4-0 in overtime games last season. While I like this Wildcats team, I do think it will be almost impossible for them to match last year's win total. In addition, the weakened Big East doesn't help them be ready for the NCAA Tournament like it did in the past. Villanova is a team that I believe will fall short of expectations this year.
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