Villanova Basketball: 5 Things That Should Worry Wildcats Fans
The anticipation for the start of the 2013-14 college basketball season is slowly increasing by the week.
For the Villanova Wildcats, the new season will mark the start of a new era in the Big East Conference.
The Wildcats and their fans have plenty of things to be excited about, but they also have some concerns heading into the new season.
Here are five things that Wildcats fans should worry about during the upcoming season.
The Battle 4 Atlantis
Last season, the Battle 4 Atlantis was one of the best preseason tournaments.
This season, the same can be said about the weekend venture in the Bahamas.
Villanova will be a part of the eight-team field that will make the trip down to the Imperial Arena during the last weekend of November.
The Wildcats will open their slate in the Caribbean against USC, and if they defeat the Trojans, they will most likely face superstar freshman Andrew Wiggins and Kansas.
On the other side of the bracket, Tennessee, UTEP, Xavier and Iowa will play four games, with one of those teams facing the Wildcats at some point in the tournament.
With a bracket loaded with teams looking to prove themselves early on in the season, the Wildcats will surely have their hands full in paradise.
Grant Gibbs and Doug McDermott
To many college basketball fans in the Northeast, Creighton's Grant Gibbs and Doug McDermott are not household names.
However, to diehard fans in the Midwest—especially in the greater Omaha area—Gibbs and McDermott are rightfully viewed as stars.
McDermott should be one of the early Player of the Year candidates and is expected to improve on his game averages of 23.2 points and 7.7 rebounds from last season.
Gibbs was awarded his sixth and final year of eligibility with the Bluejays and will be able to help usher in the new era of Creighton basketball.
Villanova will have to play Creighton twice during conference play, with both of those matchups expected to be tests for Jay Wright's squad.
Only 1 True Nonconference Test
Before it enters the rigorous schedule of the Big East, Villanova will have very few tests in the first two months of the season.
Aside from their participation in the Battle 4 Atlantis, the Wildcats have just one strong nonconference opponent. It happens to be one of their foes from the old Big East, Syracuse.
With the likes of Rider, Towson, Delaware and Lafayette on the docket for the Wildcats, they could be in for a culture shock when conference play begins on New Year's Eve.
Luckily for the Wildcats, their biggest test in nonconference play comes three days before Big East play starts at the Carrier Dome.
To say that game against Syracuse will be a true measuring stick of their success this season is a massive understatement at this point.
Inclusion of the Young Players
There is no debating the fact that the Wildcats' team this season will be full of youth.
Only one senior, James Bell, is expected to contribute significantly on a nightly basis. The rest of the starting five and returning bench players are either sophomores or juniors.
However, the youth movement does not stop there for Jay Wright's team.
With three talented freshmen entering the program this season, Wright will have to make sure that he gives Kris Jenkins, Josh Hart and Darryl Reynolds a decent amount of playing time as the season progresses.
This factor will not be forced upon Wright by the Villanova hierarchy but by the nature of today's college basketball landscape, where freshmen play a bigger role with each passing season.
It may sound like me beating this topic dead—and then some—before the season begins, but the lack of experience in the Villanova frontcourt is a major issue.
Sophomore center Daniel Ochefu will be charged with presiding the paint for most of the season after receiving just 17.5 minutes per game last season.
Ochefu will be under loads of pressure, as he looks to replace the production of Mouphtaou Yarou.
Assisting Ochefu in the paint will be JayVaughn Pinkston, who is expected to move into a larger role in the paint based on necessity, and freshman center Darryl Reynolds.
If the trio of players—especially Ochefu—can perform at a high level all season, then some special things could happen on the Main Line this season.
What worries you most about the Villanova Wildcats this season?
Comment below or leave me a comment on Twitter, @JTansey90.