Following four tournament wins, the Villanova Wildcats will take the nation’s best record (33-5) to Houston to face-off with the Oklahoma Sooners in the first round of the Final Four. Coach Jay Wright takes a talented team to the program’s fifth Final Four in hopes of capturing its second title.
Here is how they will win their first title since 1985.
1. Front Court Play
Many teams have cooks, but only Villanova has a Chef. Okay, that was corny. Sorry. Daniel Ochefu, Nova’s 6’11, 250 pound senior forward is a force to be reckoned with. He affects the game on both sides of the floor and can take over in spots offensively. Kris Jenkins also has an overpowering build (6’6, 240) and is uniquely talented on the offensive end. He has become the number two guy on the team in both scoring and leadership.
2. Backcourt Play
The top dog, however, on this Nova squad remains Josh Hart. Hart averages over 15 points a game, nearly seven boards, and two assists per contest. As a junior, his experience would put him ahead of opponents in most other NCAA seasons, but this year he is facing a bevy of experienced guards. In this case, Hart will have to rely on his talent, as I feel he is the second-most talented guard remaining (behind Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield). Senior Ryan Arcidiacono joins Hart in the backcourt, who is an efficient offensive player that takes care of the ball and never shies away from contact or some floor burn. He’s the type of player who will lay it all out on the court when need be, and sometimes it’s that effort that can propel you to the win.
The Wildcats rank 15th in the nation in scoring defense. They have length at all positions and it’s that length that held the overall top seed Kansas Jayhawks to 20 points under their season average. It’s a good thing Nova is committed on defense because they will need a full team effort against Hield and a Sooners team that is very adept at putting the ball in the basket.
4. Jay Wright
The most important personnel in college basketball are the coaches. For my money, Jay Wright is the very best coach left in the field. In fact, I think Wright is one of the three best coaches in the country. Wright has only made one Final Four before this season and has never won a championship, but he has won two-thirds of his games in his 22-year head-coaching career. Recruiting plays a large part in winning championships and the Villanova name does not carry the same weight as Duke, Kentucky or North Carolina. Add to that the disbanding of the Big East and you can imagine how hard it would be for Wright to get the top players coming out of high school. Still, Wright has always made it work and has gotten the best out of his players. He also has a knack for developing great guards. He’s definitely the best at getting the most out of what he has been given.
What do you think? Did I miss anything? Let us know below.