Villanova is Currently the No. 2 Choice to Win the Big East Title
One of the most surprising coaching retirements in the college basketball world in recent memory came when head coach Jay Wright decided to step away after leading Villanova to 16 NCAAB tournament appearances, four Final Fours, and a pair of national titles. Let’s take a look at Villanova coach Jay Wright.
Wright led NCAAB Villanova to win records in 19 of his 21 seasons. He finished with a 520-197 record with the Wildcats and an overall head coaching record of 642-282. He was 263-53 over his last nine seasons and that included a 130-31 record in Big East play. The Wildcats finished either first or second in the Big East standings in each of those campaigns.
What will life look like when the Wildcats are coached by somebody other than Villanova coach Jay Wright, for the first time since the 2000-01 season? Villanova (+4000) is tied for the 15th best odds to win the 2022-23 national title.
Villanova Has Some Work to Do
Villanova’s run to the 2022 Final Four was hardly considered a surprise considering that the Wildcats headed into the season tied for the second-best odds at +1200 to win the national title. National champion Kansas was at +1400 while 2022 national finalist North Carolina came in at +3000.
When looking at the NCAA basketball pecking order, Villanova was seventh in the previous season at +1700, ninth going into the 2019-20 season.
When Villanova coach Jay Wright won the 2017-18 season, the Wildcat’s preseason betting odds of +2700 were tied for seventh. Two seasons earlier, the Wildcats were tied for the 10th-best odds at +2500 to win it all before winning the championship.
The last time Villanova started a season outside the top 10 when it came to the preseason odds was the 2013-14 season when Villanova was tied for 22nd at +10000.
Breaking Down the Big East
Creighton (+2000) currently has the best odds to win the Big East title followed by Villanova and UConn (+6600) and Xavier (+8000).
Defending regular-season champion Providence comes in at +10000 after barely beating out Villanova for that crown a season ago. Six teams had winning records in Big East play during the 2021-22 season and those are the same teams expected to be among the Big East elite during the upcoming season.
A Look at the 2022-23 Villanova Team
Leading scorer Collin Gillespie and top rebounder Jermaine Samuels have moved on, leaving Villanova without two of its four double-digit scorers from a season ago.
Justin Moore (14.8 points, 4.8 rebounds), Caleb Daniels (10.3 points), Eric Dixon (9.1 points, 6.4 rebounds), and Brandon Slater (8.5 points) all return. Daniels and Slater are graduate students who opted to return to play for Kyle Neptune. When looking at the college basketball news and rumors, Moore is being touted as a potential breakout star in the upcoming season.
Freshmen Mark Armstrong, Brendan Hausen, Cam Whitmore, and sophomore Collin O’Toole are the newcomers to Villanova.
Villanova coach Jay Wright relied mostly on a six-player rotation a season ago so it will be worth watching to see how Neptune uses his roster.
Neptune was an assistant coach at Villanova from 2013-21 before taking over at Fordham for a season. He recruited many of the players he will be coaching at Villanova.
A Look at the Schedule
The 2022-23 season begins with a home game against La Salle on November 7 followed four days later by a short trip to face Temple. A Nov. 18 game at Michigan State will be an interesting early-season test.
As usual, Villanova will use the non-conference slate to prepare for the Big East schedule.
Reviewing the Odds
Over the last 30 games played by Villanova in Wright’s final season, the Wildcats were 16-12-2 against the spread and pretty much broke even against the total, going over 14 times, going under on 15 occasions, and hitting the total in a February 8 win over St. John’s.
Breaking Down the Title Contenders
Houston (+1000) isn’t far behind and if the Cougars have more luck in the health department this season than they did last year, look out.Follow us on Twitter