Villanova Wildcats Basketball: 2017-18 season perview

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 16: Jalen Brunson
BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 16: Jalen Brunson /

With the college basketball season fast approaching, how do the Villanova Wildcats stack up? We preview the team and schedule and make predictions.

The Villanova Wildcats had a great regular season last year but fell short in the postseason once again. Wisconsin, led by Nigel Hayes, pulled off the upset in the Round of 32. The 1-seeded Wildcats had aspirations of winning the NCAA tournament in back to back seasons, but their frontcourt play was a major reason why they couldn’t escape the Badgers upset bid.

Villanova lost some quality players from last years team. The expectations for this upcoming season have been lowered, but not by much. There’s still the main expectation for the Wildcats to win the Big East and make a run in the NCAA tournament.


Villanova is counting on their versatility this season to lead them to wins against some tough opponents.

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The team has several impact players who can play multiple positions on the floor and therefore create matchup nightmares for opposing teams. Mikal Bridges, Eric Paschall, and Omari Spellman all can play multiple forward positions. Phil Booth and Donte Divicenzo are both scoring combo guards. Jalen Brunson, now a Junior, is the face of this team and their new leader.

Brunson was a preseason All-American, and this could be the season where he finally shows the college basketball world exactly what he can do. He’s arguably the most mature player in all of college basketball. When he was a freshman, it was said he had “Senior maturity levels.” It’s time for Brunson to take the reigns and lead this team to a Big East championship.

Another important player to watch this season for Villanova is Bridges. Now a junior, Bridges has to flourish and expand his role on the team. Bridges has been a glue guy since the day he stepped on the court for Villanova. He plays hard on both ends of the floor, and he does the little things extremely well. Paschall played a similar role last season as a freshman for Villanova. Both guys are extremely unselfish and will do whatever it takes for the team to win.


This season, Villanova’s non-conference schedule could present some early season tests for the Wildcats. Villanova will participate in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, which features Tennessee, Purdue, Arizona, and NC State. Villanova will likely see Purdue and Arizona in the later rounds of the tournament expecting they can take care of business against Western Kentucky in the first round. Other notable non-conference games include bouts against Gonzaga, at Temple, and at St. Joe’s.

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Villanova’s notable wins could very well be decided by their results in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. With potential match ups vs Tennessee/Purdue, and then Arizona, the potential is there for Villanova to get a couple quality non-conference wins under their belt early in the season.

Villanova Wildcats Predictions

I see Villanova finishing the regular season with a 27-4 record as they enter the Big East conference tournament, with potential losses against Arizona (likely in the Battle 4 Atlantis championship game), at St. John’s, at Seton Hall, and in their home game against Providence. Even with four losses, I still foresee the Wildcats winning the Big East tournament and land a 2-seed in the NCAA tournament, before ultimately bowing out in the Elite-8.

Even though the season hasn’t started yet, I forsee Brunson winning the team MVP, Paschall winning the Most Improved Player, and Spellman ultimately bringing home Rookie of the Year honors. Bridges will finally have his breakout season on the Main Line and land himself on the Big East’s second team. Booth will take several games to acclimate, but he will be a quality player in Big East play.

Next: Villanova Wildcats receive respectable No. 6 spot in latest Coaches Poll

This team has the potential to make a deep NCAA tournament run, as well as the potential to disappoint due to the loss of stars Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins, and Darryl Reynolds.