The Villanova basketball team is coming off a season where they finished the season with 29 wins and only five loses. The Wildcats had a tremendous regular season, they finished the season with 28 victories and were crowned the regular season BIG EAST champions. However, when the team entered the conference tournament, their season quickly went downhill.
Villanova was eliminated in the first round of the BIG EAST tournament on a last-second shot by Sterling Gibbs, helping Seton Hall upset the heavily favored Wildcats. Nova fans were still optimistic heading into the NCAA tournament despite the loss since they were aware that Villanova was a lock to be a number two seed.
In the first round the Cats were matched up against 15 seeded Milwaukee who they ended up beating by 20 points. Everything was looking up for Villanova as they prepared for Connecticut in the second round. It is safe to say that Villanova and Connecticut know something about each other- they used to meet twice every season until last year when Connecticut moved out of the BIG EAST to the AAC conference. This matchup was expected to be nothing short of entertaining like they always are whenever these teams get together.
Led by all american Shabazz Napier, the seventh seeded Huskies outlasted the Wildcats by a final score of 77-65. Although Villanova lost to the eventual national champion UConn, it was still disappointing to see their season come to end as early as it did considering how well they played in the regular season. Many experts thought Villanova was capable of making a run in the tournament but that obviously did not happen.
Looking forward to next season the Wildcats have the makings for another successful season under head coach Jay Wright. Villanova will return four of the five starters from last season which is huge. The BIG EAST does not appear to be as strong as it has in past years next season, which should benefit the Wildcats.
Like past seasons, the Wildcats again have a challenging non-conference schedule where they will face Kansas and Syracuse in the first ten games of the season. Not only will these games show how the Wildcats stack up against some of the nation’s best teams, but also the team as a whole will benefit from playing against top competition.
Preseason predictions are always difficult to make for numerous reasons. We don’t know who will get injured, who, if anyone, will have a breakout season, and if the team will be upset by a Cinderella team in the tournament. This is the beauty of college basketball.
Ultimately I see the Wildcats finishing with 27 wins next year, two less than last year’s win total. It is going to be tough to top last season’s regular season win total which is why I predict that they win lose a few more games. However, I do see the Cats going further in the NCAA tournament than they did last year when they lost in the second round. Their experience will help them through the tournament and I don’t believe Villanova’s season will come to an end until the elite eight next year.