Villanova Basketball: Final Report Card for Wildcats' 2012-13 Season
The Villanova Wildcats went into the 2012-13 season with very few expectations, but they surprised us all when they earned a spot in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
Jay Wright's team was expected to finish in the middle of the pack in the Big East and to fall well short of the NCAA tournament with a young squad that was supposed to just be finding its own feet.
The Wildcats, led by freshman Ryan Arcidiacono and sophomore JayVaughn Pinkston, won 10 games in the Big East and were able to put up a fight against teams they had no business playing well against.
Here is the complete final report card for the overachieving 2012-13 edition of the Villanova Wildcats.
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Players: Arcidiacono, Darrun Hilliard, James Bell, Pinkston, Mouphtaou Yarou
Grades: Arcidiacono: B+; Hilliard: B-; Bell: C; Pinkston: B+; Yarou: B
Arcidiacono was handed the reins to the Villanova offense as a freshman and he exceeded everyone's expectations.
The freshman point guard averaged 11.9 points per game and was a very accurate free-throw shooter at 82.5 percent.
Going into next season, Arcidiacono's game is expected to get exponentially better.
Hilliard and Bell were both valuable assets in the starting lineup, as they provided the Wildcats with experience and strong defending.
Hilliard was the one player who came into his own towards the end of the season as the Wildcats made their final push into the postseason.
Pinkston developed into a fine player as a sophomore, as he became the team's leading scorer with 13.3 points per game.
As a junior next season, Pinkston will be expected to not only lead the team in scoring, but he will also have to develop into a leader on the court with Yarou departing.
Yarou's senior season may not have been his best statistically, but he did make an impact as the only strong paint player on the roster.
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Players: Tony Chennault, Daniel Ochefu, Achraf Yacoubou, Maurice Sutton
Grades: Chennault: C; Ochefu: B-; Yacoubou: C-; Sutton: D
Three of Villanova's four contributors off of the bench ended up having big roles in the team at some point this season.
Chennault, who transferred into the program from Wake Forest, was not relied on to score points on the offensive end, but he did provide the Wildcats with quality minutes off of the bench during the last month of the season.
Ochefu developed into a quality big man off of the bench in relief of Yarou as a freshman. The 6'11" Baltimore native will have to learn from his experience as a freshman as he becomes the main paint presence next season.
Yacoubou contributed a good amount of minutes during the start of the season, but he failed to make a strong contribution during the stretch run.
Sutton was expected to provide the Wildcats with some extra experience in the paint off of the bench, but that was far from the case for the senior forward.
Play Against Ranked Opposition
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Record Against Ranked Opposition: 4-3
Villanova did not encounter a ranked opponent until it took on Syracuse at the Carrier Dome on January 12.
The Wildcats did not win that game, but they did take down the Orange two weeks later at home.
Just four days before their home upset of Syracuse, the Wildcats were able to take down then-fifth-ranked Louisville at home.
The other two wins Villanova recorded against ranked opponents were also at home, as they beat Marquette and Georgetown in Philadelphia towards the end of the season.
The two other losses to ranked opponents came against Pittsburgh in the final road game of the regular season and in the Big East tournament quarterfinal against Louisville.
Villanova's grade would have been better had it defeated a ranked opponent in enemy territory, but all four of its wins over ranked opposition came at either The Pavilion or the Wells Fargo Center.
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Postseason Record: 1-2
The Wildcats tried their hardest to earn a berth in the NCAA tournament, and they did just that by winning their first game at the Big East tournament against St. John's.
The win over the Red Storm at Madison Square Garden was the only postseason win Villanova had this season. The two losses came at the hands of Louisville and North Carolina.
Jay Wright's team could not replicate the same success that fellow Philadelphia teams Temple and La Salle had in the NCAA tournament.
Luckily for the Wildcats, their loss to North Carolina did not receive much attention on the Philadelphia basketball scene because Temple and La Salle won their respective round of 64 games on the same day.
Next season with an experienced squad, the Wildcats will be expected to win more than one game in the postseason.
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Head Coach: Jay Wright
Wright did an excellent job with his inexperienced Villanova team that unexpectedly lost the services of point guard Maalik Wayns to the NBA a year too soon.
Wright was able to get a freshman to run his offense and mold the rest of the lineup into strong players for the future.
When his coaching career is all said and done, the 2012-13 season may not be looked back on as Wright's best season but it could be looked back on as the season he began to develop a group of Villanova superstars.
The expectations will be much different next season for Wright in a new-look Big East that will have plenty of familiar and new faces.
What grades would you give the Wildcats for their 2012-13 season?
Comment below or leave me a comment on Twitter, @JTansey90.