Villanova: Why Ryan Arcidiacono Is the Wildcats' Most Indispensable Player
The Villanova Wildcats have progressed immensely since their slow November, when they lost three games in a row to Alabama, Columbia and La Salle.
At the moment, the Wildcats are riding a six-game win streak, which was extended into Big East play on Wednesday with a win over St. John's in overtime.
Now with conference play ramping up, the players on the Wildcats' roster are beginning to find their roles under Jay Wright.
With those players finally finding their own, freshman guard Ryan Arcidiacono has become the Wildcats' most indispensable player.
The Langhorne, Pennsylvania native got off to a hot start this season by scoring in double digits in his first five games.
In his next seven games, Arcidiacono only reached the double-digit mark once, against Penn on December 8.
With conference play starting, the point guard has become an integral part to Wright's team, with 49 points in his last two games.
Wright's Villanova teams have always relied on strong play from the point guard position, whether it be Randy Foye, Allan Ray, Scottie Reynolds or Maalik Wayns leading the team.
With the surprising departure of Wayns to the NBA after his junior year, Wright was forced to put the freshman Arcidiacono into the lineup immediately.
The player who has earned the nickname Arch during the first part of the season will not only have to succeed on the offensive end, he must play strong on the defensive end as well against some of the best point guards in the nation.
During Big East play, Arcidiacono will be tasked with guarding the likes of Peyton Siva, Russ Smith, Michael Carter-Williams and Eric Atkins.
Not only will Arcidiacono have to step up his defensive game against those stars of the Big East, he must not take a night off against the lesser teams in the conference as upsets can happen anytime in conference play, something we saw on Saturday when Rutgers took down Pittsburgh.
On the offensive end, Arcidiacono will be asked to score in double digits on a consistent basis and provide his teammates with a bevy of assists.
Providing assists has been somewhat of an issue for the freshman this season, as he averages just over three per game.
If Arcidiacono were to add to his assist total, he would do something that Reynolds and Foye were unable to do in their Villanova careers, which is average over five assists per game in a season.
There are plenty of weapons on the Wildcats' roster that Arcidiacono can provide assists with.
Starting with leading scorer JayVaughn Pinkston and guard James Bell, who have been two of the most consistent performers for the Wildcats this season.
If Arcidiacono were to provide the duo and the rest of his team with more assists, not only would the individual point totals go up, the team's point totals would be boosted as well. which equates to more wins in Big East play.
Strong play from the point guard position will undoubtedly help the Wildcats during Big East play, and Arcidiacono will be the player to provide that strong play throughout the duration of the season.
For more insight on college basketball, follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90.
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