Since the college basketball season is just over a week away, it is time to make predictions about the performances of certain individuals on the Villanova Wildcats roster.
The Wildcats are expected to be one of the best teams in the Big East, but whether they can contend for the conference title is still up in the air.
What will determine whether or not the Wildcats contend this season is how much their top players step up and contribute on a nightly basis.
Here are the marks that each of the Wildcats stars needs to achieve at the bare minimum to have their seasons considered a success.
Ryan Arcidiacono, Guard
Pass/Fail Marks: 12.5 points per game, 4.0 assists per game, 42.5 three-point shooting percentage
In his freshman season on the Main Line, Ryan Arcidiacono was known for his quick trigger from beyond the arc and his accuracy at the free-throw line.
.@VUCoachJWright on Ryan Arcidiacono "I'm excited about him because he's finally healthy. He's going to add to his game."— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) September 26, 2013
Last season, the point guard affectionately known as "Arch" averaged 11.9 points per game and shot 34 percent from three-point range.
With a year of experience under his belt, the sophomore should make smarter decisions while quarterbacking the Wildcats on the offensive end of the court.
If he is able to command the offense and shoot on a more accurate basis, there should be no reason why Arcidiacono should average fewer than 12.5 points and four assists while improving his three-point shooting percentage by around eight points.
JayVaughn Pinkston, Forward
Pass/Fail Marks: 14.5 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game, 76.5 free-throw shooting percentage
JayVaughn Pinkston was the leading scorer for the Wildcats during the 2012-13 season, and he is expected to better his 13.3 points-per-game average during the 2013-14 campaign.
Pinkston will also be handed an extended role in the paint as the Wildcats search for depth in that area of the court.
Expect Villanova to slide Jayvaughn Pinkston to the 5 when Daniel Ochefu isn't in the game. Small ball again a common theme for the Cats.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) October 21, 2013
With that being said, the redshirt junior should improve on his rebounds-per-game average by a board and a half.
By having to play more in the paint, Pinkston will likely be fouled more as he turns his attention to the more physical side of the game.
If he wants to play physical in the paint and draw plenty of fouls, Pinkston will have to work on his free-throw shooting. He shot 71 percent from the charity stripe last season, a total which should be boosted by a few percentage points.
Daniel Ochefu, Center
Pass/Fail Marks: 7.0 points per game, 7.5 rebounds per game, 1.5 blocks per game
Daniel Ochefu will be handed a massive amount of responsibility during the 2013-14 campaign as he will look to replace Mouphtaou Yarou at the center position.
Ochefu is not expected to score much in the paint because he has plenty of guards and Pinkston in the starting lineup who can do just that.
Since the sophomore big man will not be relied on to consistently score, he must contribute on the defensive end in the rebounding and blocking departments.
In a reduced role last season, Ochefu averaged 4.1 rebounds and 0.6 blocks per game.
As he is handed a large amount of minutes by head coach Jay Wright this season, Ochefu must increase his numbers in both statistical categories for the Wildcats to have success in all aspects of the game.
Darrun Hilliard, Shooting Guard
Pass/Fail Marks: 11.5 points per game, 2.5 assists per game, 2.5 steals per game
The fourth key player to the Wildcats' cause this season will be junior guard Darrun Hilliard.
During the stretch run of the 2012-13 campaign, Hilliard stepped up and became a strong second scoring option out of the backcourt.
For the Wildcats to get through the rigors of Big East play with a strong record this season, Hilliard will have to do much of the same.
While his points-per-game average should be expected to remain about the same from last year's (11.4), Hilliard's numbers in the assists and steals-per-game categories should move up a bit.
With Arcidiacono and Pinkston expected to do plenty of scoring, Hilliard will be expected to some of the dirty work that may not be noticed by the casual basketball fan.
By contributing the little things to the box score, Hilliard should see his numbers rise from last season, even if they do so marginally in some categories.
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