As the title implies we will be taking a look at our Big East opponents and what they will be looking like heading into the coming season.
It was no surprise that Villanova was gonna be good coming into last season and they looked it in the non-conference. They rolled through non-con to a 9-2 record with the only losses being at Ohio State and against Baylor. Thier big win was on the road over Kansas, a game in which Jermaine Samuels hit a late 3 to seal the victory. The conference schedule began with Nova’s traditional home win over Xavier but then they lost on the road to Marquette before rattling of 6 straight wins. This was immediately countered by a 3 game losing streak which included two home losses. As the race for the conference tigthened up they picked up huge wins, incuding at Seton Hall, to win 6 of their last 7 conference games and get 1⁄3 of a Big East title.
What made Nova good last year were the same things that make them good every year: elite offense, good defense and limiting second chances for opponents. These things were all executed at a high level and brought Nova another Big East championship and would have brought them another tournament bid.
Good news! Saddiq Bey (16.2/4.7/2.4) declared for the draft and is gone from Nova. Bad news! Everyone else is back. Collin Gillespie (15.1/3.7/4.5) and Justin Moore (11.3/3.1/1.9) return as a terrifying backcourt duo. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (10.5/9.4/1.9)is back after averaging just shy of a double-double as a freshman and Jermaine Samuels returns for his senior season after a season where he seldom had a bad game and shot an absurd 65% from 2 point range. Also returning is Cole Swider who faded out of the starting five last year as well as bit players Brandon Slater, Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree and Bryan Antoine.
Since Nova isn’t losing a lot they aren’t adding much either. Eric Dixon sat out last year but should be healthy to play and is expected to be a contributor. They also bring in Caleb Daniels from Tulane who is eligible to play this season and put up good numbers his last season at Tulane. Daniels is expected to come off the bench, playing behind Moore and Gillespie.
Villanova is gonna be a problem this year. Most preseason polls have them in the top 5, KenPom has them 4th and Bart Torvik has them 10th. The roster is loaded with talent and experience and they have managed to stay Covid free at time of writing. Obviously anything can happen, but if Nova stays healthy they will be a very tough team for anyone in the country to beat.