Villanova Basketball: What's to Love and Hate About the 2013-14 Wildcats

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 6, 2013

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 22:  Ryan Arcidiacono #15 of the Villanova Wildcats drives against Leslie McDonald #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the second round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Sprint Center on March 22, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images

The town of Philadelphia is a very polarizing one when it comes to its sports teams.

While the Villanova Wildcats do not undergo the sometimes excruciating treatment that the professional teams in the city do, they still get their fair share of criticism.

However, with that criticism also comes an unmatched passion about all things done right by the Wildcats.

Here is a look at what fans of the Wildcats will love and hate about the upcoming 2013-14 season.

What's To Love

1. The Progress of Ryan Arcidiacono

Last season, point guard Ryan Arcidiacono burst on to the Philadelphia college basketball scene with his early-season exploits.

Exciting yet sometimes frustrating to watch, Arcidiacono is now a sophomore, and he has a plethora of expectations that he is expected to deliver on this season.

Arcidiacono is one player on the roster at the moment who can continue the tradition of strong guard play at Villanova that has seen the likes of Scottie Reynolds, Allen Ray and Randy Foye in the last decade.

The man they have nicknamed "Arch" on the Main Line averaged 11.9 points and 3.5 assists per game as a freshman, and he will be expected to put up even bigger numbers in his sophomore campaign.

What is also great about the Langhorne, Pa., native is that he plays with a high motor and never quits on a play, a trait that is appreciated in the City of Brotherly Love.

2. A Stacked Backcourt

Villanova's strength on the court has always been at the guard position, and this season's squad is no different. 

Partnering with Arcidiacono in the backcourt this season will be some combination of four other players.

Senior James Bell is expected to be the defensive stopgap to provide energy for the likes of Darrun Hilliard and Dylan Ennis to distribute the ball throughout the entirety of the court.

Add in a local kid looking to have a successful senior season in Tony Chennault, and the Wildcats backcourt has a strong mix of talent that can work together to perform well all season long.

Ennis, who was forced to sit out last season after transferring from Rice, is the real wild card in this group, as he will be forced to adjust from Conference USA to the rough and tumble of the Big East.

3. Plenty of Local Flavor

Langhorne's Arcidiacono is not the only local player on the Wildcats' roster this season.

Accompanying Arcidiacono on the roster as Philly-area players are Darryl Reynolds from Lower Merion High School and Tony Chennault of St. John Neumann High School,  both of whom will be searching for playing time off of the bench.

With three former local high-school standouts on the roster, fans on the Main Line will be able to get a glimpse of their local stars, which is something that rarely happens with major Division I schools.

What's to Hate

1. The Lack of Paint Players

The play of the now-departed center Mouphtaou Yarou will be sorely missed around the Villanova campus this season.

Yarou averaged over nine points and seven rebounds per game in his final two seasons on the Main Line, and with an unproven replacement in sophomore Daniel Ochefu filling his role, fans of the Wildcats have plenty of reasons to be concerned about the paint play. 

In his first season with the Wildcats, Ochefu averaged a meager 3.5 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.

With very large shoes to fill and a large microscope focused above him, it is right to be skeptical about how Ochefu will perform this season.

One other thing to fear is the lack of depth behind Ochefu at the moment, with freshman Darryl Reynolds being the only true center on the roster behind the sophomore.

2. The New Rivals in the New Big East

With conference realignment rearing its ugly head again this season, Villanova has stayed in the Big East, but the basketball-heavy conference has changed its lineup a bit.

Joining Villanova and the six other Catholic schools from the old Big East are three prominent basketball institutions of the Midwest in Xavier, Butler and Creighton.

All three teams will have plenty to prove during their inaugural season in the league, especially Xavier, who had a disappointing 2012-13 season.

With just 10 teams in the conference now, Villanova can ill afford to take a single game off in conference play if they want to contend for a conference championship.

Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90.


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