Villanova Basketball: Best and Worst Case Scenarios for Wildcats in 2014
Now that we are aware of who will be on the Villanova Wildcats' roster for the upcoming 2013-14 season, it is time to begin speculating on what will happen to the Wildcats in the first year of the new Big East Conference.
Jay Wright's Wildcats, just like every other team in college basketball, will have high expectations for next season.
While the expectations will be on high on the Main Line, there is still plenty of concern about how exactly the team will perform next season.
Here are a few best and worst case scenarios for the Wildcats' upcoming season.
Best Case: Ryan Arcidiacono Improves on His Freshman Campaign
Ryan Arcidiacono burst on to the collegiate scene last season with a quick trigger and a knack to make a few big three-pointers.
Now that the Langhorne, Pennsylvania native has played in college for one whole season, a lot will be expected out of him during his sophomore campaign.
Last season, Arcidiacono averaged 12 points per game, shot 82.4% from the free throw line and 34.3% from beyond the arc.
The man they affectionately call "Arch" will be expected to improve all of his numbers as he begins to fill the role of team leader in the upcoming season.
Worst Case: Arcidiacono Falls Victim to a Sophomore Slump
One of the most haunting droughts in all of sports could haunt Arcidiacono next season.
The sophomore slump can derail any career it wants, and Arcidiacono will not be completely immune to it next season.
Luckily for Arcidiacono, he has an experienced coach in Wright behind him who will do everything in his power to help his point guard avoid a struggle in his second year.
If somehow Arcidiacono does run into a sophomore slump, the Wildcats could be in for a long season.
Best Case: Daniel Ochefu Thrives in the Paint
One of the major talking points surrounding the 2013-14 version of the Wildcats is how they will replace the graduated Mouphtaou Yarou.
The man who will be tasked with that job is sophomore Daniel Ochefu, who averaged just 3.5 points and 4.1 rebounds per game last season.
The 6'11" Baltimore native will have to work his tail off in the offseason if he wants to replace the departed contributions of Yarou.
Ochefu may not be asked to contribute as much as Yarou did on the offensive end, but he will be asked to match his rebounding efforts in the paint.
Ochefu will also be asked to step up in the leadership department a bit as well as he leads a young front line.
Worst Case: No One on the Roster Can Fill Mouphtaou Yarou's Void
One problem about losing the senior leadership of center Mouphtaou Yarou is that the Wildcats are now very young at the position.
As a sophomore, Ochefu is expected to be the most experienced player competing for the starting center position.
If the Ochefu experiment in the paint fails, junior JayVaughn Pinkston could step into the role of center. But at 6'7" he would lack the size to compete against the best big men in the Big East.
If Pinkston is moved into the middle, his value as a scoring threat also diminishes.
After the veterans on the roster, incoming freshman Darryl Reynolds is the only other viable option to use at center if the other two players fail.
If you are a Villanova fan, you have to hope the situation at center does not get bad enough where Reynolds is expected to step in as a starter.
Best Case: Wildcats Thrive at Home Against Big East's Best
Looking to the Big East conference as a whole, Villanova will have plenty of work on their hands with three strong basketball programs entering the conference in Creighton, Butler and Xavier.
Both Creighton and Butler are coming off strong seasons while Xavier will have a point to prove after a rough 2012-13 campaign.
Playing all three of those teams as well as Georgetown and Marquette in conference play will be a huge test for Wright and the Wildcats. However, they did prove last season that they can play with the big boys, especially at home.
Last season, the Wildcats were able to take down powerhouses Syracuse and Louisville, as well as Georgetown and Marquette at home.
In the upcoming season, Villanova will have to have the same giant-killing potential at home if they want to contend for the conference title.
With just 10 teams in the Big East next season, every conference game will count, especially the ones that the Wildcats play at The Pavilion and the Wells Fargo Center.
Worst Case: Big East Newcomers Run Rampant in Conference Play
While adding three well-respected basketball programs is a major plus for the Big East, there is a great chance that the trio of Creighton, Butler and Xavier could all finish in the top three of the conference standings when the season comes to a close.
Creighton will surely be one of the teams to beat in the Big East with All-American Doug McDermott returning for his senior season, while Butler and Xavier are expected to put out quality teams in each game no matter what their talent level is.
With the trio of new teams and Georgetown and Marquette in the Big East now, Villanova could easily fall back to the middle of the pack and regress from their performance last season.
Best Case: At Least One of the Three Freshman Take Advantage of Opportunities
Villanova has a solid class of three freshmen coming into the program for the 2013-14 season, and all three will be given a chance to succeed in some type of role.
Kris Jenkins, Josh Hart and Darryl Reynolds will all have a chance to slide into the frontcourt rotation, with Hart being the most likely of three to break into the backcourt rotation.
If any of these three players are able to step up and play at a high level at the forward position, the Wildcats will be in great shape.
Having one of the three youngsters take advantage of their opportunity at the forward position would lift the pressure off of the shoulders of both Ochefu and Pinkston in the paint.
Worst Case: Three Freshmen Fail to Have Any Impact
Luckily for the Wildcats, they are not a program that solely relies on their freshmen to succeed.
Villanova will have seven experienced players that are expected to contribute, and if all of the three freshmen can't break on to the collegiate stage in their first year, the Wildcats' record should not suffer too much.
However, it has to be said that any positive contribution to a team that will be battling for position in the Big East all season is welcome, but if the three freshmen can't hang in their first seasons, the WIldcats will not contend for the conference title.
Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90.