It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
No, I’m not talking about Christmas. However we ARE officially in the holiday season; Starbucks has their gingerbread lattes, Hallmark has had Christmas ornaments out for over 3 months, and everything pumpkin is thankfully off the shelves.
It’s the return of college basketball. Let’s be honest: the NFL sorta sucks, the NBA finals are already set, baseball is over, Alabama won the title months ago, and for some reason people still don’t care about hockey. This Friday evening will fill a nasty void for sports fans.
For Villanova fans, that void couldn’t possibly be filled by a hail mary nor a walk-off homerun. When your season ends triumphantly on a buzzer beater to win the first national championship in 31 years, there isn’t much that can come close to matching or replacing that.
And the high of the championship will last throughout this season. With every mention of that wonderful shot, or every pan of the championship banner into and out of a commercial break, we’ll have an opportunity to relive April 4th.
But while last year is always nice to think about, there is a new season at hand. Besides looking to repeat that success, what else is there for Wildcat fans to look forward to?
Well, not Omari Spellman. He is ineligible for the 2016-2017 season for manufacturing/distributing crystal meth and running an underground casino. What? The NCAA just thought he started high school too early? Are you sure- the full season suspension makes it seem like he did something pretty bad...
There is plenty of excitement in the return of Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins. With the new NBA draft declaration rule, many players decided to throw their hat in the ring. There was speculation with Hart especially, who was pegged as a late first round pick on some mock drafts. But in the end both athletes chose to play their senior years and give Villanova something that most schools don’t experience following a national championship; somewhat identical rosters.
With Ryan Arcidacono graduating, Jalen Brunson will have more of the spotlight on offense. We can see if Phil Booth can replicate his championship game performance for an entire season. More realistically, can Booth put together a solid bounce back year after his sophomore slump?
Donte DiVincenzo returns from his fractured foot that sidelined him for most of last season. The timing is perfect since the team is down one extremely white Italian guard. Tim Delaney is also active, and while it’s unclear what impact he will have, getting him back on the court after multiple hip surgeries is great to see.
And now Villanova will be playing on a new stage, in a conference that will hopefully get a little more respect. With two top-10 teams and one national championship (have I mentioned that Villanova won the championship yet? Stop me if I have) we’re experiencing a whole new outlook for the "new" Big East. And it all begins in just 4 days.
|Friday||6:30pm||Lafayette Leopards||(4) Villanova Wildcats||FS2|
|Friday||6:30pm||Vanderbilt Commodores||Marquette Golden Eagles||CBSSN|
|Friday||7:00pm||Fairleigh Dickinson Knights||Seton Hall Pirates|
|Friday||7:00pm||Lehigh Mountain Hawks||(7) Xavier Musketeers|
|Friday||9:00pm||UMKC Kangaroos||(22) Creighton Bluejays||FS2|
|Friday||9:00pm||Bethune-Cookman Wildcats||St. John's Red Storm||FS2|
|Saturday||12:00pm||South Carolina Upstate Spartans||Georgetown Hoyas|
|Saturday||7:00pm||Northern Colorado Bears||Butler Bulldogs||FS2|
|Sunday||2:00pm||Cntrl Connecticut St Blue Devils||Seton Hall Pirates||FS1|
|Sunday||7:00pm||Robert Morris Colonials||DePaul Blue Demons||FS1|