Preseason College Basketball Rankings: #6 Villanova Wildcats

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The Villanova Wildcats already had a good-looking team. But then both Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels announced that they were taking advantage of the free year of eligibility granted to them by the NCAA. All of a sudden, Jay Wright had yet another guaranteed top-tier team.

You can read about the #7 Memphis Tigers right here.

The Villanova Wildcats

Collin Gillespie returning is massive for this team. For starters, he is the best point guard in the Big East and arguably the best one in the nation. He has started all 87 games that he has played in over the past three seasons. And he just keeps getting better. Gillespie posted collegiate career highs in field goal percentage and two-point percentage last season. Last year he was the team’s second leading scorer, tied for first in steals per game, and by far the leader in assists per game. He is obviously immensely talented. He is the reigning Big East Player Of The Year. But besides that, the Wildcats clearly missed him when he went down late last season with an injury. Yes, they did make it to the Sweet Sixteen without him, but they were obviously a different team out on the floor with him out hurt.

Jermaine Samuels has gotten better every single year he has been in college. He shot 45% from three-point range during conference play last season, making him one of the most efficient players in the Big East. Justin Moore made major improvements in his offensive game down the stretch last season. Caleb Daniels made a smooth transition to the Big East after spending his first two college seasons at Tulane. Eric Dixon should be in for a bigger role this year. Another guy to look out for is Bryan Antoine. He only played in 26 total games in his first two seasons in Villanova combined, averaging just 7.9 minutes per game. But the junior guard was a five-star recruit coming out of high school and was the 17th ranked recruit in the Class Of 2019. He could be a potential breakout candidate this season.

Head coach Jay Wright brings in a top 25 recruiting class this season. It is headlined by two top 100 recruits. The first one is shooting guard Jordan Longino. Longino, who grew up just north of Philadelphia, is the 53rd ranked recruit in this year’s class. He will have to compete with a slew of other guards for playing time on this team. But he has more than enough talent to earn his minutes. Nnanna Njoku is the other one. He has a much easier path to playing time. He and Eric Dixon will try to fill the big void left by Jeremiah Robinson-Earl.

Newly minted Hall Of Famer Jay Wright will have his team ready to go. They are the favorites in the Big East and have a strong chance to make it to yet another Final Four.

Projected Lineup:

C – #22 Nnanna Njoku (#96 overall recruit on 247 Sports)

PF – #23 Jermaine Samuels (12.0 PPG/ 6.4 RPG/ 2.5 APG)

G – #14 Caleb Daniels (9.6 PPG/ 2.2 RPG/ 1.2 APG)

G – #5 Justin Moore (12.9 PPG/ 4.1 RPG/ 3.0 APG)

PG – #2 Collin Gillespie (14.0 PPG/ 3.3 RPG/ 4.6 APG/ 1.0 SPG)

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images