11. VILLANOVA Previous: 9
Villanova is coming off a season that was difficult to grade, given that the Wildcats didn’t necessarily live up to preseason expectations, lost 10 games and were bounced in the NCAA tournament’s first weekend — but still won the Big East.
And now Jay Wright’s team loses its two best players in Phil Booth and Eric Paschall.
So why the optimism?
Much of it centers on the additions of five-star freshmen Bryan Antoine and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl.
Antoine suffered an offseason shoulder injury that could affect the start of the season but is a high-level scorer. Robinson-Earl will be leaned on early up front, and he was terrific at the FIBA U19 World Cup.
There’s also the expected development of returnees Collin Gillespie, Jermaine Samuels (above) , Saddiq Bey and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, and Cole Swider also could take a step forward.