First, let me say, after seeing Villanova in person last night in Brooklyn, I was very impressed.
A friend of mine, a long time Big East antagonist, tweeted me during the game saying that this Nova team reminded him of their teams from the mid 2000s.
While they don't have the NBA-ready guards those teams had, they have a bunch of very good guards and forwards who can attack you in a variety of ways and play unselfishly.
Ryan Arcidiacono is as solid of a PG as there is in the country and plays with a football mentality. Darrun Hilliard and Josh Heart can score. JayVaughn Pinkston is a do-it-all forward and Daniel Ochefu has turned into a solid big man, who seems to have more ability than he is showing at the moment.
But, the glue-guy, at least last night, was sophomore Kris Jenkins. He always seems to make the right play, whether it's the assist, the hockey assist, or scoring the basketball. He had 13 points (2-4 from 3pt) in Villanova's 77-53 win over VCU.
This is a team that looks like it is just hitting their stride and will only improve as the season progresses.
VCU, on the other hand, was exposed in the 2nd half of the game (outscored 45-23).
They are a team that currently lacks go-to scorers and will struggle if their system (pressure defense creating quick buckets) fails to provide points.
Briante Weber, however, is a pleasure to watch and can create havoc all by himself.
#10 Villanova (4-0) vs. #14 Michigan (3-0), 10PM, Brooklyn, NY, ESPN2
This will be a fun match-up, particularly on the perimeter. If Nova plays anything like they did last night, it could be difficult for the Wolverines. Michigan has weapons, but they are relying on youth down low. Prediction: Nova 74, Mich 66.
#11 VCU (3-1) vs. Oregon (3-1), 7:30PM, Brooklyn, NY, ESPNU
VCU will have to regroup from last night's embarrassing loss. It won't be easy against another strong perimeter team that can put up points. This should be nip and tuck. Prediction: VCU 78, Oregon 75.
#17 Iowa State (3-0) vs. Maryland (4-0), 9:30PM, Kansas City, MO, ESPNU
This will be a nice test for both teams. Iowa State has looked good so far. Is Maryland for real this year? This will give us our first look. Prediction: Iowa State 70, Maryland 64.
Kansas State (3-1) vs. #6 Arizona (4-0), 7:30PM, Lahaina, HI, ESPN
Arizona has cruised so far by putting opponents in the grinder. K State bounced back from a surprising loss at Long Beach with a solid win over Purdue yesterday. Prediction: Arizona 71, K State 61.
#23 Arkansas (3-0) vs. SMU (2-2), 7:30PM, Dallas, TX, ESPNews
We get to see tonight whether either of these two teams are any good. SMU needs this home game for their resume, after dropping two away games already. Arkansas winning on the road could change their perception, as well. Prediction: SMU 75, Arkansas 74.
Pittsburgh (2-1) vs. #16 San Diego State (4-0), 10PM, Lahaina, HI, ESPN
Pittsburgh lost at Hawaii last weekend and decided to stick around for the Maui Invitational. SDSU needed two OTs to finish off a solid BYU squad, last night. This should be a serious defensive struggle where shots are tough to come by and even tougher to watch. Prediction: SDSU 51, Pitt 44.
Others games to keep an eye on...
#18 Miami (5-0) vs. Charlotte (3-1), 9PM, Charlotte, NC
Arizona State (3-1) vs. Alabama (3-1), 7PM, Kansas City, MO, ESPN3
Houston (2-0) vs. Harvard (2-1), 7PM, Boston, MA