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2015-16 Nebraska Basketball Opponent Preview - Villanova

Last years Big East Champions take on the Huskers

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


Date: Tuesday, November 17th

Location: Villanova, PA

Mascot: Wildcats

Coach: Jay Wright (15th year)

Conference: Big East (Version 2.0)

2014-15 Record: 33-3 (16-2 Conference)

Game will be televised on Fox Sports 1

As a Nebraska basketball fan, you want the team to play in big games. As much as we love the wins against teams such as Northern Kentucky and Central Arkansas, the end result generally doesn't stay in the system for too long and we usually forget the game within a week.

Friend: "Go to the Nebraska game on Wednesday?"

You: "Yeah, we won pretty easily"

Friend: "Who did we play again?"

You: "Ummmmmmm, North/South Wisconsin/Alabama?"

And even worse, we definitely remember when we lose to one of those teams we shouldn't.

Friend: "Remember when we went to the Incarnate Word game last year?"

You: "Shut up"

Villanova is not one of those teams. They are good and should have very little drop off from last years success. This is the game the pops off the schedule and you check to see if it interferes with a Husker football game (it doesn't).

Villanova is coming of one of their best years in a long time by winning both the Big East regular season and conference tournament. Losing only to Seaton Hall, Georgetown, and their final game to North Carolina State in the third round of the NCAA Tournament by 3 points.

This year should be no different as they are going to likely be the preseason favorite for the Big East once again. Will they make it through as easily as they did last year? Probably not as most of the leagues schools should be improving from a lackluster year across the board. Only three of the schools made the final Top 25 for 2015. Seeing them play last year one could see that they had a majority of the talent on the floor but that gap should be tightened with the fresh talent across the conference.

Major losses from last years team are Big East First Team memeber Darrun Hilliard who was drafted in the second round to the Detriot Pistons, JayVaughn Pinkston who was the Big East preseason player of the year, and Dylan Ennis who transferred to Oregon.

Among the returning starters is Big East Player of the Year Guard Ryan Arcidiacono who averaged 10.1 PPG and has improved defensively each year he has been on the court for the Wildcats. No player on the team has as much importance to the success of the program as Arcidiacono has. His leadership has helped guide them to the post season each year and this year should not be an exception.

In this day in age where players come and go from teams on a regular basis, it's nice to see a player like Ryan who has not only stayed in school but has also improved his game and his team each year he has been there. For those who watch this game, keep an eye on #15.

Another returning starter to watch is Big East Honorable Mention forward Daniel Ochefu who averaged 9.2 PPG and 8.5 Reb and is also expected to improve from last season.

As for recruiting, they really didn't do too bad for a team of their caliber. Picking up Tim Delaney (4 Star), Donte DiVincenzo (4 star), and Jalen Brunson (5 star) who among other accolades was Illinois Mr. Basketball and an all american in numerous publications.

Another interesting note on the game is that it is apart of the Gavin Tipoff which is in it's inaugural season between the Big Ten and Big East conference and will run until 2022. It will post eight teams from the respective conferences against each other each year. Big East teams are required to participate in the series a minimum of six times and Big Ten teams are required to participate a minimum of four times during the course of the series.

Oh yeah, they beat Creighton...twice!