2007 Villanova Wildcats Basketball Preview
The Villanova Wildcats (22- 11 overall, 9- 7 Big East) tied for seventh in the conference and went to the NCAA tournament where they lost to Kentucky 67- 58 in round one. Coach Jay Wright (126- 70 in six years at Villanova, 248- 155 overall in 13 years), who has been a fine recruiter, has to replace some productive starters this season. If anyone can do it, he can.
In terms of scoring, Villanova was sixth in points in the Big East with 72.5 PPG and fifth in scoring defense, allowing 64.6 PPG. The Cats hit 78.1% of their free throws, which was the highest in the league. The club’s scoring defense was fifth in the conference, allowing 64.8 PPG. The rebounding margin was plus-4.5, ranking them fifth in the Big East. Ball handling was a problem with Villanova turning the ball over 13.6 TPG, which was 10th in the Big East.
Upfront, Shane Clark (7.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 43.0 FG%) and Dante Cunningham (8.7 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 51.3 FG%) provide some fine defense. Clark worked through injuries last year, while Cunningham made major strides in his sophomore season. Look for Cunningham to step-up in 2007- 2008. Redshirted freshman Antonio Pena stands to be a primary force for the club, and our NCAA basketball picks.
Sophomore guard Scottie Reynolds (14.8 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 4.0 APG, 38.7 FG%) proved in his freshman season that he can turn up all of the burners and score. He’s back and should be even more impressive this year. Reynolds is one of those guys who can rack up points in bunches. Look for him to be the Wildcats’ shooter and for freshman Corey Fisher to man the point. Fisher can command the court and score from the perimeter. He will be tough to stop. Two other frosh guards—Corey Stokes and Malcolm Grant—will see minutes on the court. Stokes is a fine long-range shooter and Grant gives this team speed.
The Villanova Wildcats possess a wealth of talent and that should translate into inclusion in March Madness betting. Anything less would be unacceptable. Still, Villanova needs another year of recruiting and development to propel them into the Sweet 16 or Elite 8.