This year’s team has a heavy Maryland presence, with four Maryland natives set to play huge roles for the Wildcats in 2015-16, starting with 6-foot-11 senior big man Daniel Ochefu, who dominated the glass last year, averaging 8.5 rebounds per contest. Three other Maryland guys in Phil Booth, Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins will look to bring the third straight 16-win conference season to Philly.
However, the most important player on the roster hails from Illinois. Freshman Jalen Brunson is an elite five-star point guard who should give senior Ryan Arcidiacono a chance to operate without the ball and improve upon his 39 percent shooting clip with additional floor space. The losses of Darrun Hilliard and JayVaughn Pinkston to graduation and Dylan Ennis to transfer leave ‘Nova thin across the board, but they’re still the most talented team in the Big East and should cruise to another league title.
Head Coach: Jay Wright
2014-15 Finish: 33-3 (Lost to North Carolina State in the Third Round of the NCAA Tournament)
2014-15 Conference Finish: 16-2 (First Place in the Big East Conference)
Projected 2015-16 Conference Finish: First
*G – Ryan Arcidiacono – Senior
*F – Daniel Ochefu – Senior
G – Josh Hart – Junior
G – Phil Booth – Sophomore
F – Kris Jenkins – Junior
Jalen Brunson is not only the most important player on Villanova’s roster but might be the most important freshman in the country. A potential one-and-done, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound youngster has ridiculous talent and might find himself playing 30-plus minutes per game by the time we hit January. There will be growing pains, albeit minimal, but he is the type of player that keeps opposing coaches up at night.