2020 Villanova Wildcats NCAA Basketball National Championship Odds with Predictions
Depending on your perspective, Villanova's season last year was either a solid one or a disappointment. It would be a disappointment if you were comparing it to the prior year when they won their second national title in three years. But if you ignore that, and just consider them as a Big East school, then it was a solid success. They won 26 games, won the Big East in both the regular season and in the conference tournament, and they won a game against Saint Mary's in the NCAA Tournament before losing to Purdue in the second round. Most schools would take that any year. But under Jay Wright, Villanova is not most schools. Expectations are higher this year, with a win total a win and a half above last year's level and a Top 10 preseason ranking. Can they live up to them?
Villanova Wildcats Additions/Losses
The team had just one player drafted last year. Power forward Eric Paschall went 41st overall to the Warriors with a pick that had previously belonged to four other players. Thanks to the injury woes with the Warriors, Paschall has gotten an opportunity to play big minutes early, and he has been sensational - he had 34 points and 13 boards in just his seventh career game. Also gone is guard Phil Booth, who played in a school record 148 games in his career but was not selected in the draft and is bouncing around looking for an opportunity. Those are the two big holes for the team to fill.
Part of what has made Villanova's success so impressive in recent years is that they have done it while not recruiting blue chip classes of sure stars. They have been building teams by developing players. For the first time, though, the team is bringing in a top class to restock the cupboards. Their five-man class ranked fifth nationally - a small jump from the ninth-ranked class the year before and a massive leap forward from the 28th ranked class in 2017. In this year's class are two five-star players. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl is the top-ranked player - the power forward is ranked 16th. He's a big player who is a strong rebounder with a good shooting touch, and he is a high IQ player. A prototype Villanova forward, in other words. Shooting guard Bryan Antoine is ranked just one spot behind his new teammate and will have every chance to play big minutes for this squad. There are certainly backcourt minutes available after last year's lone five-star recruit, Jahvon Quinerly, transferred to Alabama after a lousy freshman season. The team surely hopes that these two blue-chippers adapt to the Villanova way more smoothly.
Two more Top-100 recruits will have a chance to make an impact as well. Guard Justin Moore is noted for his ability to defend four positions, though his offensive game is less developed. And power forward Eric Dixon is a big rebounder with the body to contribute right away. The fifth member of the class will be the least valuable in all likelihood, but he will be a sentimental favorite - Chris Arcidiacono's brother, Ryan, was a hero of the 2016 title team.
Villanova Wildcats Schedule
After a soft opener against Army, the team travels to Ohio State for a good early season test. Then they begin the Myrtle Beach Invitational, which is a long way from the toughest early-season tournament out there. They could meet a Mississippi State team that needs to be respected, and perhaps a strong Baylor team in the finals, but the Wildcats would have to be favored to win. They play a few interesting but very winnable games next, and then close out nonconference play four days before Christmas with a real home test against Kansas . The Big East isn't an easy conference, and they start with an absolutely brutal stretch of road games - at Xavier, Marquette and Creighton. All three teams could potentially be ranked by that time. Add in a ranked Seton Hall team, and you have a conference with plenty of chances to shine - or stumble.
Villanova Wildcats Futures Odds and Trends
Villanova is the solid +225 favorite to win the Big East, ahead of Marquette and Seton Hall at +450. They are tied with Gonzaga and Virginia as the ninth choice to win the national title. The season win total sits at 27.5, with the under solidly favored at -125.
Villanova Wildcats Predictions
The season win total bettors tend to be a little pessimistic about this team, and so do I. They are relying on a lot of guys to step in and step up. After the losses this team has endured the last two years, I don't see enough veteran leadership to guide this team. Veterans are what Wright has relied upon in this team, so that's a major concern. They are going to be a solid enough team, but I am not at all convinced that they are going to win the Big East.
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