Villanova Basketball: 5 Burning Questions for Remainder of 2013-14 Season
Believe it or not, there are just two months of college basketball left to enjoy.
For the Villanova Wildcats, the stretch of games from February to early April (if they get that lucky) will be quite entertaining as Jay Wright's team has played exceptional this season.
With nine regular season—and hopefully 10 postseason games—left on its schedule, here is a look at the biggest questions surrounding Villanova going forward.
Can the Wildcats Defeat Creighton?
Just as the memories of the blowout loss to Creighton were out of your mind, the national media will begin to remind you of them once again as the clash in Omaha awaits on February 16.
The Wildcats were destroyed by "Wragge Bomb" after "Wragge Bomb" back on January 20 in their 96-68 loss at the Wells Fargo Center, and there is no doubt that revenge will be on their minds when they enter the CenturyLink Center.
As if that was not enough to hype up the game, the Big East regular-season title will most likely be on the line since both teams sit two games ahead of Providence in the current standings.
With all of the pressure on its shoulders, Villanova must come out and deliver one of the best performances of the Wright era to win.
If that can be done, the No. 1 seed at the Big East tournament and a massive amount of respect will be earned by the Wildcats.
How Will the Team Respond If They Lose to Creighton Again?
It's hard not to focus on the Creighton game as the potential turning point in the Wildcats' season.
If the Wildcats do end up on the losing end in Omaha, they must be prepared to respond to that defeat with a victory in the next game.
That did not come easy the first time the team lost to Creighton as they were forced into overtime against Marquette before pulling out a nine-point win on the road.
The game following Creighton this time comes on the road at Providence, who with an upset of Villanova could challenge for the No. 2 seed at the conference tournament.
Losing two games in a row would be less than ideal for Villanova, but if it suffers another crushing loss to Creighton, it could be a realistic occurrence.
Can Daniel Ochefu Continue His Consistent Play?
One of the pleasant surprises of the last few weeks for the Wildcats has been the play of sophomore center Daniel Ochefu.
In his last seven games, Ochefu has scored in double digits on four occasions and has averaged 6.3 rebounds per game, a number that is 0.4 above his season average.
Ochefu has also done well in the foul department during that span as he has picked up four fouls in a game just three times, with one of those games being the overtime win over Marquette.
If the big man continues improving in the paint, the sky's the limit for this Wildcats team.
How Will Players Handle the Pressures of March?
It is easy to forget that Villanova is still a young team despite how well they have been playing.
Point guard Ryan Arcidiacono is only a sophomore, just like Ochefu, while three bench contributors (Kris Jenkins, Josh Hart and Dylan Ennis) are in their first year with the program.
When the postseason rolls around, experience usually plays a bit of a factor in deciding which teams go the distance.
There is a bit of experience on the Wildcats roster in senior James Bell and junior Darrun Hilliard, but neither of them have played in many big games during their respective careers at the collegiate level.
For Villanova to return to the national spotlight for good in March, it will have to see its group of players rally around each other and shake off the pressures that the postseason brings along with it.
Luckily for this group of players, they have a coach in Wright who will have them prepared for anything that comes their way in March.
Who Will Be the Player That Makes the Big Shot?
You're down by one with the ball and have just one possession to win the game: Who takes the final shot?
This is a situation that most teams face at least once, sometimes more, during the final stretch of the regular season and into the postseason.
For the Wildcats, there are two clear-cut answers to this question at the moment in the form of James Bell and Ryan Arcidiacono.
Arcidiacono already has one crucial shot—the game-winner against Kansas—under his belt this season and he is capable of doing that again.
Bell has been the best shooter on the team all season and he could easily deliver a shot in the clutch if Arcidiacono is not open.
Villanova is certainly lucky to have two options in this scenario and expect the Wildcats to rely on either one of these players late in a big game.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.