Villanova Basketball: 5 Preseason Misconceptions We Had About Wildcats

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistDecember 23, 2013

Villanova Basketball: 5 Preseason Misconceptions We Had About Wildcats

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    Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

    The Villanova Wildcats are on the verge of shocking us all if they beat Syracuse on Saturday, which would make them an undefeated club heading into conference play. 

    No one outside of the program expected the Wildcats to carry the flag for the Big East during the nonconference schedule while being the epitome of consistency. 

    Since they have proved all of their critics wrong to this point, it is time to look back on the five biggest misconceptions we had about Jay Wright's squad in the preseason. 

Villanova Would Fail to Challenge Kansas

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    Everyone in America bought into the hype that went along with Kansas and Andrew Wiggins at the beginning of the season.

    The majority of the country, including this writer, gave the Wildcats no chance heading into their Battle 4 Atlantis semifinal clash with the Jayhawks. 

    Villanova rendered the preseason hype irrelevant and continued its superb tradition of playing well against ranked opposition. 

    In hindsight, we all should have seen the win over the Big 12 favorites coming given the Wildcats' knack for pulling off upsets last season in Big East play. 

A Second Scoring Threat Would Fail to Emerge

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    Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

    Heading into this season, the Wildcats were almost guaranteed to get consistent production out of last season's leading scorer, JayVaughn Pinkston. 

    What the Wildcats did not know before November is where the rest of the points would come from.

    Now, that answer is quite simple: James Bell.

    The senior has stepped up in an enormous fashion for the Wildcats as he has averaged 15.4 points per game. 

    Just to add to the scoring wealth this team possesses, Darrun Hilliard has averaged a cool 14.4 points per game as well. 

Daniel Ochefu Would Struggle with His New Role

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    Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

    No one person was more skeptical of Daniel Ochefu's acceptance of the starting center role than I was. 

    In 11 games, the sophomore has done an admirable job filling in for the departed Mouphtaou Yarou in the paint. 

    His numbers (3.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game) may not be spectacular, but he has done a fine job in the middle for the current Big East favorites. 

    Ochefu has also contributed 21 blocks in his second collegiate campaign, a statistic that will prove to be vital when the play gets more physical as the season moves on. 

The Guard-Heavy Lineup Would Not Jell This Quick

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    We all know Coach Wright loves his guards, and coming into the 2013-14 season, he had plenty to work with. 

    Hilliard, Bell and Ryan Arcidiacono were the mainstays in the backcourt last season, and they formed a solid core that could be built upon. 

    New additions Dylan Ennis and Josh Hart were expected to contribute in some manner, but not in the way they have in the first 11 games. 

    Despite playing in just seven games because of injuries, Ennis has averaged 9.1 points per game and is set for a showdown with younger brother Tyler of Syracuse on Saturday. 

    Hart has been an even bigger surprise as he has transformed into the fourth-best scorer on the team off of the bench in his freshman season. 

None of the Freshmen Would Have a Significant Role

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    The Villanova freshman class this season was a bit of an unknown to fans in regard to their roles. 

    With a week left before conference play, their roles are set in stone for the time being, and that is a good thing for Wright's Wildcats. 

    As was mentioned in the previous slide, Hart has come off the bench with a bang in his first season in the college ranks. 

    Hart's classmate, Kris Jenkins, has also done well in relief of the starters with 4.8 points per game in 12.7 minutes per contest. 

    The third freshman, Darryl Reynolds, has only been on the court for 33 minutes, but he may have a bigger role to play later in the season if Ochefu runs into foul trouble during Big East play. 

     

    Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90.