Villanova Basketball: 5 Things Still on Wildcats' Offseason To-Do List
With basketball practice beginning at Villanova University last week, the 2013-14 regular season is rapidly approaching.
However, before we look ahead to what the Wildcats can do on the court this season, there are still a few matters that they need to take care of before their November 8 opener against Lafayette.
Some of those decisions have to deal with recruiting, and some have to deal with the personnel already involved with Jay Wright's team.
Here is a look at the five things left on the offseason to-do list for the Wildcats.
Get New Assistant Coaches Acclimated With New Roles
Right before the start of practice, the Wildcats' coaching staff went through a bit of a shake-up as assistant head coach Billy Lange joined the staff of the Philadelphia 76ers.
With Lange trading in the collegiate ranks for the pros, Baker Dunleavy, a 2006 Villanova graduate, was promoted to the role of associate head coach.
Head coach Jay Wright was also able to bring in former Wildcats video coordinator Kyle Neptune from Hofstra to fill Dunleavy's role on the staff.
While the transition on the bench should not affect the Wildcats when the season starts, it will take a while during the preseason for both Dunleavy and Neptune to adapt to their new roles.
The good news for all involved in the coaching mix-up is that everyone is familiar with the program already, which means the transition will be relatively smooth.
Continue the Search for the Class of 2015
With the class of 2014 basically locked up at this point in the recruiting game, the Villanova class of 2015 is beginning to take shape.
The Wildcats already have one commitment in the class of 2015, which came from power forward Tim Delaney (Pitman High School/Pitman, NJ).
With Delaney in their arms already, the Wildcats would be smart to shift their focus to the backcourt and pick up a few commitments at a position that will continue to lose depth as the years progress.
There are currently five guards in the class of 2015 that have been offered scholarships, according to VUHoops.com.
If the Wildcats should pick up at least two commitments from guards in the class of 2015, then they should have plenty of depth heading into that season to go along with the then-more than experienced Ryan Arcidiacono.
Extend Rivalry with Syracuse Past 2014
When Syracuse left the Big East Conference this summer, the Wildcats lost two games against a conference rival that they had had since the inception of the league.
Luckily for fans of college basketball as a whole, the Wildcats and the Orange agreed to extend their rivalry for two more years as Syracuse enters the Atlantic Coast Conference this season.
Despite the rivalry being extended for the next two seasons as a nonconference game, the rivalry could be rendered extinct by 2015.
Not only would the matchup be an extension of the historic rivalry, but it would also be a very competitive nonconference game that would benefit the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament resumes of both sides.
Find Chemistry in the Backcourt
This season the Wildcats will only go as far as their backcourt takes them.
Led by super-sophomore Ryan Arcidiacono, the Wildcats have five guards who are capable of playing at a high level during the next six months.
While having a ton of talent on the Main Line is a nice thing, the Wildcats do have to develop some sort of chemistry among themselves to succeed at a high level.
With a month left to go until the season opener, the pressure will be on Wright and his staff to figure out which guard combination works best as the Wildcats push forward into what they hope will be a successful season.
Prepare The Team for New, Hostile Road Environments
Every college basketball team is used to visiting hostile road environments during conference play, but instead of preparing for the same opponents in the Big East this season, the Wildcats will have to ready themselves for three difficult road trips to the Midwest.
The trio of new arenas entering the Big East are Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse, Creighton's CenturyLink Center and Xavier's Cintas Center, all three of which see impressive crowds turn out in style every night.
For the young Wildcats, if they want to succeed on the road in the Big East, they will have to play with a tough, battle-ready mentality from the first game of the season on.
If the Wildcats can attain that mental toughness heading into Big East play, they should not have a problem winning on the road in conference.
Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90.
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