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Preseason College Basketball Rankings: #16 Villanova Wildcats

© Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

It was weird not seeing the Villanova Wildcats playing in March, as the team missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012. The team could never get going due to injuries and just pure inconsistency. Head coach Kyle Neptune didn’t let that get him down as he heads into his second season. He brought back arguably his two best players, Justin Moore and Eric Dixon, and he was super aggressive in the transfer portal, adding four high-impact transfers. This team will not have the same result as last season.

The previous teams in my rankings can be seen here.

Preseason College Basketball Rankings: #16 Villanova Wildcats

Moore only played in 13 games for Nova last season because he was recovering from the torn Achilles he suffered in the Elite Eight against Houston in 2022. Achilles tears are tough to come back from. Thankfully, he pretty much returned to form. In some categories, he was actually even better. Dixon took on an even bigger role last season and did not disappoint. His 15.4 points per game ranked eighth in the Big East, and his 6.6 rebounds ranked tenth. Dixon and Moore are an incredible inside-outside duo.

A few role players at the guard spots also return. Chris Arcidiacono, Jordan Longino, and Mark Armstrong all started games last season and could all contribute this year. Armstrong especially could take a step forward at the backup point guard spot.

As mentioned, Neptune did a great job in the transfer portal, bringing in the fourth-best transfer class, according to 247 Sports. First up is a pair of small forwards who are both super seniors. Hakim Hart comes up I-95 back to his home city of Philadelphia from Maryland. He posted career-highs in points, rebounds, and assists under now Terrapins coach Kevin Willard, who knows plenty about the Big East from his time at Seton Hall. So Hart should be ready. Also coming up I-95 is Richmond transfer Tyler Burton. The former Spider earned All-A10 honors each of the past two seasons. He was third in the Atlantic-10 in scoring average and sixth in rebounding average.

TJ Bamba had a breakout season last year at Washington State. He averaged 15.8 points per game, which was eighth best in the PAC-12 and was more than double his previous career-high from the year before. Lance Ware was a top 50 recruit coming out of high school. However, in three years at Kentucky, he only averaged 9.2 minutes per game. This fresh start at Villanova should be good for him.

Projected Lineup

PF – Eric Dixon (15.4 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.6 BPG)

SF – Tyler Burton (19.0 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.5 BPG at Richmond)

SF – Hakim Hart (11.4 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG at Maryland)

G – TJ Bamba (15.8 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.7 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.3 BPG at Washington State)

PG – Justin Moore (13.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 3.2 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.0 BPG)


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