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The Sun's Arizin: Villanova Wildcats news and links for January 1, 2014

Daily Villanova Wildcats links, today featuring Bell's progression, NYE marathon recap, and the biggest blowout ever?

Happy 2014, 'Nova Nation! How good does it feel to begin 2014 on a winning note?!

And now, the "news."

Bell is a ringer for 'Nova this year |
James Bell had one point and one rebound in a Villanova win over NJIT. Exactly 1 year later, Bell exploded for 25 points and five rebounds against Syracuse.

Reconstituted Big East off to an undistinguished start to its first season | The Washington Post
Can't make up my mind. The math says this conference isn't chock full of elite teams, but it has more projected tournament teams than many are saying. 5 bids feels like the best this conference can do with the perceived terrible OOC performance.

Xavier ran the Johnnies off the court in the second half | Rumble In The Garden
Matt Stainbrook won the battle with Chris Obekpa, and the Red Storm had no answer for Semaj Christon & Co. in transition - a worrying sign for a team apparently chock full of athletes.

Mack trusts his youth, and it pays off | Banners On The Parkway
Over at the X blog, they're lauding Isaiah Philmore's performance alongside Stainbrook on the interior, while acknowledging that Chris Mack is finally trusting his youth, in the form of Brandon Randolph and Dee Davis.

Pirates defeat Friars and officials on NYE! | South Orange Juice
If you didn't watch this game, this is no an overreaction. The officiating was HORRIBLE, and Seton Hall fought through it and came away with a huge victory that could potentially load this team with confidence heading into what was anticipated to be a brutal conference season with all the injuries.

Former Iowa State, Michigan basketball coach Johnny Orr dies at 86 |
The iconic college coach passed away at the age of 86. A little before my time but some of you elders probably remember this guy as the man who is the winningest coach at both Michigan AND Iowa St.

The story of Champion Baptist, who trailed Southern 44-0 and lost by 104 |
This game counts in the Division-I standings as a basketball game. It should not.