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Villanova Among USA Today's 8 Teams to Watch

Corey Fisher graces the cover of the regional edition of USA Today's College Basketball Special, which is available on newsstands and online until November 15 for $4.95. (Duke is featured on the national edition).

Highlights about Villanova:

  • Preseason Rank: #7 behind Duke, Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan State, Pittsburgh and North Carolina
  • Projected Starters: Fisher, Wayns, Stokes, Pena and Yarou
  • Key Games: NIT Season Tip-off in NYC (Nov 24-26), vs. Temple (Dec 30), at Connecticut (Jan 17).
  • Top Recruit: James Bell ... "A high-level athlete with strength ... deep range from the wing and potential to be a lock-down defender"
  • Could Surprise: Jayvaughn Pinkston "... if in top physical condition, will be the type of undersized power player who can thrive at Villanova"
  • About Corey Fisher: "... Villanova will need more points from him this season ... Reynolds departure opens the door for Fisher, Stokes and Pena to secure their own legacies ... Pena believes Fisher's average could balloon to 20 PPG ... "
  • Other Observations of Interest: "unusually thin backcourt with the availability of freshman guard James Bell in doubt ... Stokes is delivering on a promise to drive more and become a better ball handler ... and a defensive stopper ... Nova will make up for its shortage of guards with more big men than usual ... 'This year everyone is going to see that Mouph is a beast,' Stokes says ... Villanova will have a formidable inside game it has lacked in past seasons ... 'we have more talent than our Final Four team,' Stokes says."
  • About the Big East: project a top five of Pittsburgh, Villanova, Syracuse, West Virginia and Georgetown .... Projected POY -- Ashton Gibbs (Pitt) ... Projected All-Conference Team: G Ashton Gibbs (Pitt), G. Jeremy Hazell (SH), G. Austin Freeman (GTown), G. Kemba Walker (UConn), F. Kevin Jones (WVU) ... Corey Fisher is the only Nova player listed on the second team.
  • March Madness: predict that Villanova reaches the Sweet 16, but is eliminated there by Duke ... Duke goes on to lose to Michigan State in Championship game

I find a number of USA Today's comments highly debatable and, in some cases, ill-informed. However, I leave it to the VUHoops readers to post their own critiques.