Villanova Basketball: Top 5 Storylines for Wildcats' 2013-14 Season
Somewhat of a new era is beginning at Villanova University this season with the Wildcats being a part of the revamped Big East Conference.
Most of the rivals are the same for the Wildcats, but they did lose rivalries with Syracuse and Pittsburgh, while gaining contests against Creighton, Xavier and Butler.
On the personnel side, the Wildcats have plenty of exciting guards, but they have plenty of concerns about their frontcourt play.
With plenty of goings-on at Villanova for the 2013-14 season, here is a look at the five biggest storylines surrounding the Wildcats.
The Health of Dylan Ennis
One of the fresh faces on the Villanova roster this season is Dylan Ennis, a redshirt sophomore who transferred to the Main Line from Rice last year.
During the final week of October, Ennis suffered a right hand fracture that put him on the sidelines for at least a month per Amy Fadool Kane of CSNPhilly.
Ennis would have added another dimension to the Wildcats offense to begin the season, and if this injury becomes one of the recurring nature, the team will have to rely more on freshman guard Josh Hart to fill the void.
The Continued Development of Ryan Arcidiacono
This season, the Villanova offense will once again run through Ryan Arcidiacono.
As a freshman during the 2012-13 season, Arcidiacono led the team in minutes per game with 34 and averaged close to 12 points per game.
In his second season, Arcidiacono is expected to deliver quality performances on a more consistent basis as he slowly becomes the face of the program.
If the point guard can avoid a sophomore slump, the Wildcats could become a contender in the Big East title race.
How Dangerous Can the Wildcats Be in Conference Play?
Villanova earned their NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament berth last season by scalping a few big names at home in conference play including Syracuse, Marquette and Georgetown.
Jay Wright's team is not expected to be a middle-of-the-pack team like it was in the previous campaign as it should finish in the top four of the Big East standings with Creighton, Georgetown and Marquette.
Having a deadly home record will help the Wildcats, but this season they will have to visit all of the other arenas that host Big East teams because the conference has just 10 teams in it now.
While we know the Wildcats will be strong at home against the conference's best, the unknown is how they will perform on the road.
If they can post a winning road record in conference play, the Wildcats could easily qualify for the postseason and maybe even be crowned Big East champions if all goes right.
Guard Play Will Drive Success
I can't say this enough, if the Villanova Wildcats want to win a bevy of games this season, they will have to rely on their depth at the guard position to do so.
Led by Arcidiacono, the Villanova backcourt has the potential to be deadly in plenty of statistical categories, including points, assists and field-goal percentage.
Playing alongside Arcidiacono this season will be two experienced players in junior Darrun Hilliard and senior James Bell, who both bring different intangibles to the court.
On the bench, a healthy Ennis, Hart and Tony Chennault will hand the Wildcats plenty of depth to survive the entire season.
However, there is a massive concern further ahead in the frontcourt that could halter any dreams that the Wildcats have about the upcoming season.
The Paint Play of Daniel Ochefu
The Wildcats no longer have an experienced body in the paint with Mouphtaou Yarou graduating.
That means sophomore Daniel Ochefu will be called upon to fill Yarou's shoes, and he is expected to do so in a dominant manner for the Wildcats to make any type of noise this season.
Ochefu played sparingly in his first collegiate season, and making the jump to a full-time starter is difficult for some players.
With that being said, some of the pressure will be taken off of Ochefu by the backcourt and JayVaughn Pinkston, who was the Wildcats' leading scorer last season, in the scoring department.
However, Ochefu will be relied to deliver on the glass with the rest of the Wildcats lineup being small compared to other major programs.
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