Chart Week here at Play For The Garden will be displaying one chart per Big East team; two a day in alphabetical order spanning the week.
Villanova turned a rough start into a very respectable season last year. After losing to Columbia in late November there were very few people thinking that team would be playing in the NCAA Tournament come March. But by winning some key games at home and finishing above .500 in conference play, they earned their way in with an at-large bid.
Good coaching helps, but the turnaround was a full team effort. And that effort could not have been any more balanced than what it was.
The balance of scoring between the starters and even the bench was impressive. Most teams have one or two players that are more of the ‘go to’ guys that tend to fill the stat sheet up more than the others. But the five guys in the chart above – JayVaughn Pinkston, Ryan Arcidiacono, Darrun Hilliard, Mouphtaou Yarou and James Bell – who were the starters and played in all 34 games, took turns being the guy.
Pinkston is their most talented and dynamic scorer, but Arcidiacono and Hilliard had their share of 20-point games. And while this isn’t some deeply analytical chart that has a groundbreaking discovery, it does show that opponents had to respect every player on the floor at all times.
Of the significant contributors highlighted above, all but Yarou return. Daniel Ochefu, who came off the bench last year, could step in and fill that void at forward. But coach Jay Wright will also welcome two ESPN top-100 recruits to the rotation: Kris Jenkins – a 6-foot-6 Power Forward, and Josh Hart – a 6-foot-5 Small Forward.
So it seems reasonable to think that with the improvements seen throughout the season last year, the continuity that returns, and the welcoming of the talented new-comers, that the Wildcats should be in for an even better season than last. This could end up being the most balanced team in the Big East constantly giving opponents fits with the spread of talent in uniform.