The NCAA basketball season will begin on Nov. 25. Villanova’s schedule has not been confirmed, but it’s likely that the final details are currently being ironed out. As of now, college basketball is going to happen. Fans can start to take a look at some of the preseason rankings and expectations for the men’s basketball team.
As of Aug. 10, in his latest “bracketology” update, respected ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi had Villanova as a number one seed, meaning that he at least saw the team as a top four team in the nation to start the season.
Garry Parrish from CBS Sports continuously does a “Top 25 and 1” ranking throughout the offseason, and in his latest ranking from Aug. 28, he has the ’Cats at third in the country.
“Jay Wright has a talented and experienced roster that’s strong enough to give the future Hall of Fame coach a chance to grab what would be a third national championship in a six-year span,” Parrish noted.
Rob Dauster of NBC Sports has the team at the number one spot.
“There is enough talent on this roster that I think they are the clear No. 1 team in the country right now,” he said.
The most recent set of rankings, the “Power 36” by Andy Katz of NCAA.com and Turner Sports, has Gonzaga at one, Baylor at two and Villanova at three, which is actually the same ordered top three he had back in April. When discussing Villanova, Katz said that senior guard Collin Gillespie is a potential Big East Player of the Year and that the ’Cats will have a senior nucleus, echoing sentiments from other experts that Villanova has a deep and experienced program for this upcoming season.
“This program is rolling,” Katz said.
Katz also recently released his first bracketology for the 2021 NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats number three ranking for Katz resulted in Villanova being placed as the number one seed in the East region in his projection. He has them slotted to play the number sixteen seeded Vermont Catamounts.
The 2021 NCAA Tournament East Regional Finals are currently scheduled to be held in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center, a place Villanvova has plenty of experience and success. In fact, the Wildcats’ run to the 2016 National Championship began at the Barclays Center, as it was the site of Villanova’s first weekend games.
Earning a top seed in the tournament for the Wildcats will provide the benefit of not only playing weaker opponents but playing at a familiar location.
The 2021 NCAA Tournament is currently slated to go on as scheduled, but there have been rumors of the tournament being turned into a bubble to help reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 interfering with play. In that case, the tournament would be played at a few centralized locations, compared to the normally nationwide locations. Regardless of what happens with the NCAA tournament, at this point, all fans know is that the Villanova Wildcats are positioned to be successful in it, no matter the format or location.
While the official preseason NCAA basketball polls have not been released at this point, it appears that Villanova is a consensus preseason top-four team in the country.