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Villanova Basketball 2013-14 Season Preview: Wisdom of Crowds

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We enlist the VU Hoops community to get a pulse for the upcoming season.

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Are you ready for Villanova basketball? There is just over two weeks until Hoops Mania 2013, and just over three weeks away from the exhibition game vs. West Chester.

Some of you will remember our discussion last season of the 2009 best selling book, The Wisdom of Crowds, in which author James Surowiecki asserts that that a diverse group of independently-thinking individuals can make predictions better than individual experts working alone. He offers many examples, including a story about a contest at a county fair where a crowd accurately guessed the weight of an ox within ounces when their individual guesses were averaged, soundly beating out estimates of several cattle experts guessing independently.

Editor's Note: He could have just looked at any of the VU Hoops' staff predictions as evidence alone for his theory.

For the past four seasons, we applied Mr. Surowiecki’s theory with considerable success to answer the most perplexing questions then facing Jay Wright as the Cats entered the new season.

This year, with the departure of Villanova's fourth-leading scorer Mouphtaou Yarou (9.9 ppg) we will ponder how Villanova will replace nearly 15% of their offensive production. Maurice Sutton's departure means less to the offense than to the frontcourt depth, but his 9.5 mpg and 3.2 ppg will give opportunity for production elsewhere.

Like last last year, we have no early intelligence on the team's offensive capabilities from watching a summer tour abroad - although we did get an early look at new boy Dylan Ennis in the FIBA Americas Tournament. Further complicating this year’s task is the arrival of three scholarship freshman who are expected to play varying roles (Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins and Daryl Reynolds).

And don't forget the transfer of Achraf Yacoubou to St. Louis, and the transfer of Mislav Brzoja to Evansville. Both were low-production players, but combined their 14 mpg and 3 ppg will need to be accounted for.

A good starting point may be ‘Nova’s PPG in their five most recent seasons. The table below provides team PPG stats since 2008. In the poll below, predict the points per game you think the team will score this season and the use comments section to tell us why.

Year 2008-2009 2009-2010 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013
PPG 76.8 81.8 72.2 70.8 68