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Villanova Basketball Blue/White Scrimmage: What To Watch For

Nova’s annual scrimmage should answer some questions, and likely raise others.

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Happy Thursday Nova Nation! While Hoops Mania was the official first look at the Wildcats 2019-2020 team, tonight’s scrimmage will provide a lot more opportunity to see this squad in action. In particular, there will be three things fans should keep an eye out for.

1) Who’s made the biggest jump?

If Villanova is going to overcome the loss of two players now in the NBA, they’re going to need more than an elite recruiting class. More than one of the holdover Cats will need to step up, but the question is who?

The one I’ll rule out is Gillespie. Not that I’m not expecting him to improve heading into his junior year, but he can’t make the kind of jump his teammates can. He’s already been a captain, the team’s third leading scorer, and the floor general. He’s already being counted on the way we hope his teammates can be.

The most obvious candidates are Jermaine Samuels and Saddiq Bey. Both are returning starters, and will have the most opportunity to contribute early this season. Samuels already began his breakout late last season, and Bey is already being talked about as an NBA prospect.

The other three players to keep an eye on are Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, Cole Swider, and Brandon Slater. Cosby-Roundtree showed in last season’s AdvoCare Invitational that he has the upside of putting up a double-double, but it’s unknown if he’ll see that kind of opportunity this season. Swider has the potential to be the team’s best shooter, but his opportunity will be dependent on his defensive progress. Slater’s the real wildcard, and the buzz around him is that he could really turn some heads this season.

2) When will Bryan Antoine play?

The only answer we have from Wright so far is “early December.” But what that really means is still unknown. Is that when they’re expecting Antoine at 100%? Is that when he’ll start seeing the court for games? Or is that when he can participate fully in practice?

After he sat out the Hoops Mania scrimmage, it’s unlikely we see him on the court for Blue/White. So if our answers won’t come on the court, we’ll have to see how much Wright is willing to share. Odds are he’ll stay cautious both in bringing Antoine along and sharing details of his progress. Of all the questions we have going into this scrimmage, this could easily be the one that we still don’t have an answer for.

3) Can the defense rebound?

Last season was the first time since 2012 that Villanova’s defensive efficiency dropped out of KenPom’s Top 30. While it’s unlikely we see any advanced defensive schemes in a scrimmage, what we should look for is the individual defenders with the talent to execute them.

Bey and Samuels showed plenty of promise last season, and hopefully their defense continues to improve. Brandon Slater could become a lock down defender given his frame and athleticism. As for the freshman class, Justin Moore could become one of the better perimeter defenders on the team. It’ll be interesting to see who can stand out on Thursday night.

In other “news”, Villanova Basketball picks up presenting sponsors for their 100th season, Omari Spellman should see increased opportunity with the Warriors, and we’re one day closer to #5 Villanova Football’s showdown with #2 JMU. Enjoy!

Villanova Basketball

Blue White Scrimmage to Showcase Cats Thursday | Villanova University Athletics
The annual Blue/White Scrimmage Takes Place Thursday Night.

Hartford Funds, Coca-Cola to Serve as 100th Season Presenting Sponsors | Villanova University Athletics
VILLANOVA, Pa. – The 2019-20 campaign is Villanova's 100th season of Men's Basketball and a pair of corporate partners are joining forces to help the Wildcats celebrate.

Big East

AUDIO: The Igloo, Episode 8: Villanova and Xavier Preview, Changing Criteria for Big East Coach of the Year by The Igloo • A podcast on Anchor
The final two team previews headline this week's episode as Brendan Reilly helps me preview Villanova while I preview Xavier alone. As for this week's icebreaker, I tackle the issue regarding how the Big East should determine its Coach of the Year at season's end.

Why St. John's believes in Mike Anderson (even if you might not) | ESPN
St. John's, led by NYC newbie Mike Anderson, is a popular pick for last place in the Big East. Here's why the critics might be surprised.

NBA Wildcats

Golden State Warriors: Omari Spellman in-line for an increased role | Golden Gate Sports
Golden State Warriors center Omari Spellman is in-line for a bigger role than expected following numerous injuries to the team's big men.

Villanova Football

CAA showdown on tap Saturday as Villanova visits JMU | KYW
It should be one of the top games of the year to this point in FCS on Saturday as 6-0 Villanova visits 5-1 James Madison in Colonial Athletic Association action. The Wildcats, now ranked as high as No. 5 in the nation, are coming off a 35-28 road win over William and Mary this past weekend.

AUDIO: Mark Ferrante speaks on the Villanova Wildcats upcoming game against JMU | KYW
It will be a CAA showdown on Saturday when 6-0 Villanova visits 5-1 JMU. The Wildcats are coming off a big win at William & Mary. KYW Newsradio's Matt Leon spoke with Villanova head coach Mark Ferrante to get some insight into this one.

Forrest Rhyne Is Spearheading Villanova's 'Redemption Tour' | FloFootball
Villanova linebacker Forrest Rhyne will lead the fifth-ranked Wildcats into a mammoth matchup against No. 2 JMU on Saturday afternoon.

FCS: Percent Chance For Every CAA Team To Make The 2019 Playoffs | HERO Sports
The CAA features a wild race to the FCS playoffs. Which teams have the best percentage to make the 24-team bracket?

Villanova Athletics

Wildcats Travel to Seton Hall Thursday Night, Host DePaul Sunday Afternoon | Villanova University Athletics
Villanova, Pa.- Villanova is 5-4-3 on the season and 1-1-1 in BIG EAST play. In their last match the Wildcat drew at Butler 1-1 to pick up one point in the conference

Wildcats Looking For First BIG EAST Win On the Road at Quinnipiac Friday | Villanova University Athletics
Villanova (4-6, 0-3) is looking for its first BIG EAST win of the season when it travels to Hamden, Ct. on Friday to take on Quinnipiac (3-8, 1-2).

College Basketball

2019-20 College Basketball Events Schedule | Stadium
Here’s the only place you can find the listing of all the college basketball events in one place. We’ll give you a checklist of the early-season tournaments, the doubleheaders and even a rundown of the conference challenges. All times are eastern unless otherwise noted.

Snoop on his controversial Kansas performance: ‘When you pay for Snoop Dogg, you gonna get Snoop Dogg’ – CollegeBasketballTalk
The man has a point.

The Hot Seat: Which college basketball coaches are in danger of losing their job? | NBC Sports
There are a handful of coaches entering this year who are in need of winning seasons.

Kansas coach Bill Self says he wasn't sending a message to the NCAA in a recent video | ESPN
Kansas coach Bill Self bristled at the suggestion Wednesday that he was sending a message to the NCAA when he donned an Adidas jersey and golden chain for a recent promotional video.