Last NCAA Appearance: 2008, Sweet Sixteen loss to Villanova
Coach: Jay Wright (7-6 in 6 NCAA appearances
Why They Can Surprise:
Villanova’s leading scorer is a forward, but the next five are all guards. Dwayne Anderson, Corey Fisher, Reggie Redding, Scottie Reynolds and Corey Stokes have all started at least eight games this season. Reynolds is the leader on the floor. The 6-2 junior averaged 14.9 points and 3.9 assists during the regular season. Reynolds is a solid shooter from long range and will always be effective getting to the basket. He gets to the line 5.4 times per game and that is quite impressive for a guard. Reynolds is also one of the best free-throw shooters in the nation so it is also a good thing for him to get to the line.
Corey Stokes is the other main long range threat for the Wildcats, but every guard on the roster is a threat to hit a three-pointer or two. And every guard is good at something and Coach Jay Wright has the luxury to mix and match his backcourt depending on the situation and the competition.
Why They Can Disappoint:
By the numbers, Villanova is a pretty solid team. They rebound well, play good defense, keep the turnovers down and can actually hit free-throws. However, forward Antonio Pena struggled during Big East play and was eventually benched in favor of Shane Clark. Clark is not much of a scorer, especially in the paint. The 6-7 senior has done well when the team needed him, but he plays more like a tall guard than a power forward. It was Pena who would back down the opposition, work hard on the glass and do the dirty work around the basket. Pena, at the least for depth purposes, needs to get back to his earlier form.
Who To Watch:
The Wildcats do not necessarily need Pena to score since they have Dante Cunningham. The 6-8 senior leads the team in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots and steals. It is not everyday that a single player leads a team in all those categories. Cunningham’s versatility is a big plus and he compliments the talented guards very well. It is because of Cunningham’s presence in the paint that all the guards have the opportunity to take open three’s or the space to get to the basket. Cunningham has only been stopped this year by foul trouble and if he can avoid committing bad fouls, the Wildcats can make a deep tournament run.
Scottie Reynolds, Junior, Guard
Reggie Redding, Junior, Guard
Dwayne Anderson, Senior, Guard
Shane Clark, Senior, Forward
Dante Cunningham, Senior, Forward
Corey Fisher, Sophomore, Guard
Antonio Pena, Sophomore, Forward
Corey Stokes, Sophomore, Guard
+ Following final Bracket announcement, more team info will be added, including final RPI, final team statistical rankings, Joel's prediction, and more!