Villanova Wildcats (28-4, 16-2 Big East)-If it weren’t for Creighton, ‘Nova might be a sure-fire No. 1 seed. The Bluejays made the Wildcats look silly in two games against them, winning by an average of 24.5 points. ‘Nova boasts a gaudy record, and took care of business in the watered-down Big East, but there aren’t too many stand-out wins on the schedule, save for a 63-59 triumph over then-No. 2 Kansas at the Battle 4 Atlantis.
The Wildcats are led by three guys who average just over 14 points per game. Senior guard James Bell (14.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg) is a consistent scorer and clutch shooter. Junior forward JayVaughn Pinkston (14.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg) is tough inside and can often be a difference maker in games.
Junior guard Darrun Hillard may be the most talented of the group, averaging 14.3 points per game. He shoots 42% from the three-point line. But the heartbeat of the team could very well be sophomore guard Ryan Arcidiacano, who will end up being one of those guys who seems like he’s been in college for 10 years. His numbers aren’t gaudy (9.9 ppg, 3.4 apg), but he puts them over the top when he’s playing well.
30th Points per Game (78.5)
23rd Assists per Game (15.6)
22nd Points Allowed per Possession (0.94)
9th Points per Possession (1.13)
Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers (21-13, 7-9 Horizon)- The Panthers crashed the NCAA Tournament bid for the first time since 2006 by knocking off top-seeded Green Bay and then edging 3rd-seeded Wright State in the league final. Milwaukee wasn’t the best team in the Horizon by any stretch, but they got hot for three days and grabbed the conference’s automatic bid.
The Panthers are led by four scorers who average in double figures, starting with senior point guard Jordan Aaron (15 ppg, 3 rpg, 2.4 apg). He shoots 35.6% from three. 6-9 forward Kyle Kelm (12.6 ppg) and 6-8 forward Matt Tiby (12.1 ppg) are skilled big men who could be vital in the Panthers’ first round game.
6-6 sophomore forward Austin Arians (10.9 ppg) is another offensive threat.