Villanova Basketball: Midseason Report Card for the Wildcats
The Villanova Wildcats have had plenty of ups and downs throughout their season and mixed in between has been the development of plenty of young players.
As the Wildcats reach the midseason point in Big East play, it is time to look back and see how the Wildcats performed so far this season.
Included in the midseason report card are not just player grades but critiques from some of the biggest games in the season also make an appearance.
Here is the complete midseason report card for Jay Wright's Villanova Wildcats.
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Players: Ryan Arcidiacono, Darrun Hilliard, James Bell, Daniel Ochefu, Mouphtaou Yarou
Grades: Arcidiacono: C, Hilliard: B-, Bell: C-, Ochefu: C, Yarou: B
The Villanova starting five has been a work in progress this season but they seem to have found a rhythm in Big East play.
Arcidiacono has plenty of potential but his talent is still raw at the moment.
As a freshman, he is gaining valuable experience that he will use in his next three years at Villanova that he will hopefully use to bring the Wildcats back into the national discussion.
Hilliard struggled for most of the season but he has come alive in recent weeks and is now averaging more than 10 points per game.
The sophomore guard was one of the main reasons why the Wildcats upset Syracuse on Jan. 26 as he scored a season-high 25 points in that game.
Bell has not done much on the offensive end during conference play but he is relied on more for his defensive prowess.
Ochefu has been gaining more playing time by the game but for the freshman forward to become more effective he will have to contribute more than his current four points per game.
Yarou has brought plenty of experience to the young Wildcats team and he has played like a senior leader in the last four Big East games.
In those four games, Yarou has averaged just more than 13 points per game against stingy defenses like the ones from Syracuse and Louisville.
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Player: JayVaughn Pinkston
Pinkston has become one of the best sixth men in the Big East with his play during the first half of the season.
The sophomore forward has emerged as the team's leading scorer with 12.7 points per game.
Pinkston's best game of the season came on Jan. 2 when he dropped 26 points on St. John's in the Big East opener.
The performance of the Villanova sixth man has dropped over the past few games as he has struggled against both Providence and Syracuse.
If the Wildcats want to qualify for any postseason tournament, they will need Pinkston to continue his scoring ways.
Rest of the Bench
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Players: Maurice Sutton, Achraf Yacoubou, Tony Chennault
Grades: Sutton: C-, Yacoubou: C, Chennault: D
Sutton was expected to be one of the key players off the bench for the Wildcats this season but he has failed miserably in that role.
Sutton scored more than 10 points in two non-conference games, he has scored 10 points in the last six games.
Sutton's playing time has also diminished greatly as he failed to get into the game against both Louisville and Notre Dame.
Yacoubou was a valuable asset off of the bench in non-conference play but just like Sutton, he has seen his playing time diminish over the past few games.
After consistently averaging more than 15 minutes per game, Yacoubou's amount of playing time and scoring totals began to suffer once Big East play started.
Chennault has not been a major asset to the Wildcats this season and most likely will be not be one for the duration of the season.
Performance Against Ranked Teams
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Record Against Ranked Teams: 2-1
The Wildcats shocked the nation over a span of four days with two wins over Louisville and Syracuse at home.
Jay Wright's team got plenty of national attention for their victory over then fifth-ranked Louisville but they outdid themselves just four days later when they upset the then third-ranked Orange.
Villanova will get plenty of opportunities to add to their record against ranked teams with four games left on the schedule against ranked opposition.
The first of those four games comes at No. 17 Cincinnati on Feb. 12.
No. 24 Marquette, No, 23 Pittsburgh and No. 20 Georgetown are also left on the schedule for the Wildcats to upset.
Ability to Beat Teams They Are Supposed to Beat
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Villanova has played down to their competition during plenty of games this season.
The most humiliating defeat for the Wildcats this season came on Nov. 20 when they fell to Columbia, 75-57, at home.
The Wildcats have also provided Providence with two of their three conference wins this season.
With games ahead against DePaul and South Florida in the next week, two teams who have combined for two conference wins, the Wildcats will have to buck the trend of playing down against teams they are supposed to beat.
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Villanova head coach Jay Wright was handed a tough task this season with just one proven upperclassmen on his team.
Wright has helped his young team gain plenty of experience as he fuels up for a potential successful year next season.
In the upsets over Syracuse and Louisville, Wright proved he still has the knack for coaching in the big games.
Wright's grade could potentially go up before the end of the season if he somehow finds a way to transform the Wildcats into a team that earns a NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament appearance.
What grades would you give the Villanova Wildcats?
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