2009-2010 Villanova Wildcats Basketball Preview
The Big East better watch out. The Villanova Wildcats (30- 8 overall, 13-5 Big East) are loaded and primed to be the top team in the Big East. Along with a fine group of returning players, coach Jay Wright has managed to recruit the top class in the conference. Last season, after finishing fourth in the league, the Cats made it to the Final Four where they lost to the champions-to-be the North Carolina Tar Heels 83- 69.
Last season, the Wildcats were tops in the conference in free throws, hitting 75%. They knocked in 35% (3rd) of their threes. Although the club was ranked ninth in scoring defense, allowing 67.4 PPG, they scored an average of 76.8 PPG (6th). Under the boards, Villanova proved to be better than most, earning a rebound margin of plus-4.9 (4th).
The frontcourt welcomes two frosh: Mouphtaou Yarou and Isaiah Armwood. The two power forwards teamed up at Montrose Christian in Maryland. At least one of these guys will need to come through early on for this team to excel. The play of junior forward Antonio Pena (5.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.0 APG) is also essential to Villanova’s success. Last season he played well; this year as a veteran, he’ll need to step up and become the team’s go-to guy. Former McDonald’s All-American Taylor King, a transfer from Duke, will play the small forward spot.
Senior Scottie Reynolds (15.2 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 3.4 APG) proved to be a clutch performer last season and has been consistent throughout his three years at Nova. Former McDonald’s All-American Cory Stokes (9.3 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.0 APG) is a seasoned sharpshooter who’s proven to be durable. In his time at Villanova, Stokes has improved his defensive play dramatically. The Wildcats have depth in the backcourt. Point man Corey Fisher (10.8 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 2.8 APG) has the potential to be one of the best. Now a junior, the Cats will look to him to become more decisive.
Villanova has had quite a run in the NCAA Tournament. In the past five years, they’ve been to the Final Four and Elite Eight once and the Sweet 16 twice. The other time, in 2007 when Nova went to the Big Dance, they went one and out. Anything less than a Big East Championship and a trip to the Elite Eight will be a disappointment for the Wildcats.