Editor, Dave Klinger (Photo: Marquette Athletics)
College basketball season is quickly approaching. In an effort to preview it, we spoke with ten bloggers or writers, each covering a different Big East men’s basketball team. Today, we have a conversation with VU Hoops, a blog from SB Nation covering Villanova basketball. Get to know your enemy by reading their answers below. Lastly, we asked them to rank the Big East.
2015-16 Record: 29-5 overall, 16-2 conference
Postseason: 2-seed in NCAA Tournament, won championship
Why will Villanova win?
VUH: Villanova returns a ton of talent, including the player who drained the buzzer-beater than won it all (Kris Jenkins), arguably their best player (Josh Hart), and a roster full of younger players with a ton of experience playing in high-stakes games. They aren’t exactly the same team, but they will still have a very high level of talent and experience on the court.
Why will Villanova lose?
VUH: We still haven’t heard from the NCAA whether Omari Spellman will be cleared for this season.* Daryl Reynolds played well last year, but the ‘Cats will be playing small more often without the highly-touted freshman big; which could hurt them against some bigger teams.
* Spellman was recently ruled an academic redshirt for 2016-17. Read about it from VU Hoops here.
What is Villanova’s ceiling and floor?
VUH: The Wildcats are definitely a team that has a lot of potential again this season. They lost two key starters in Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu, but return the bulk of the roster that won the National Championship. They’re adding a good recruiting class and have a couple of younger players who are poised to break out this season. Jalen Brunson certainly seems like he’s setting up to take on a bigger role, and guys like Phil Booth and Mikal Bridges could also impress this year. If things go according to plan, they could challenge the top teams and get a trip to Phoenix to cap the season.
On the other hand, losing leadership from Arcidiacono and Ochefu means that this will be a different team. I don’t think their floor is too low, but lots of great teams take a step back after a couple of graduations. The floor is probably an at-large NCAA bid that flames out too early.
Who should I be afraid of…and why?
VUH: Easy answer: Josh Hart. He’s the guy that NBA scouts will be kicking the tires on all season, and he did all of the workouts this spring and summer before deciding to come back to school. He’s been working hard on his game to prove to them that he’s a guy that they should look for in the first round, so expect him to be a constant for the ‘Cats again this season.
Rank the Big East.
VUH: Gun to my head, at this stage, I’d go:
5) Seton Hall
9) St. John’s
Tweet us your thoughts at @mubbnation, or comment below.