The 2014-15 season will be one of high expectations for the Villanova Wildcats, and not just from fans, but the Big East as a whole. The 'Cats are the only Big East representative in the preseason Top 25, and as a result Jay Wright & Co. are left carrying the flag of a once powerful conference.
And why would Villanova not be the favorite? The defending regular season conference champions are returning four of their five starters from last season, with James Bell being the only departure. On top of that, the man replacing him -- Josh Hart -- has the ability to pile on the points, so it seems like the offense shouldn't miss much of a beat.
Now, even though many around the league expect the season to go very well for Villanova, it's not always the case. Here are the best and worst case scenario for the 'Cats in the 2014-15 season.
Best Case Scenario: For starters, the Wildcats will do exactly what everyone believes they will. Villanova easily wins the Big East, probably by about two or three games, and finish with another 14-2 conference record (assuming a loss to Georgetown and whether Seton Hall or Providence is in the cards).
On top of the success in conference, The 'Cats also make quite a run in non-conference play. In total, they finish the nonconference schedule with two losses as well (let's go with Syracuse and the winner of Oregon/Michigan). We can throw a conference tournament win in there as well for another No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Beyond the regular season, and 'Nova fans please don't come after me for saying this, but I think the best case scenario in the pretty realistic world that we live in is a Final Four appearance. When it comes down to it, I just don't think Jay Wright and Crew have the firepower to actually match up with these teams like Kentucky, Arizona and Wisconsin, who all not only have the talent, but the late tournament experience that they do.
Worst Case Scenario: Even though we call this the "worst case scenario," with the state of the Big East this season, I think it cannot really get that bad for Villanova. I think in this scenario the Wildcats lose about five or six games in the conference, and finish in third or fourth, behind Georgetown, Seton Hall and maybe Providence. If it were to happen this way, a lot would have to do with 'Nova not being able to replace the production of Bell, and therefore they would struggle on the offensive end more than anything.
Outside of the conference, the schedule isn't too bad, and I think worst case 'Nova loses four game (Illinois, VCU, Michigan/Oregon and Syracuse). I think in this scenario, a conference tournament victory is out the picture, and the team loses in the conference semi finals.
In the postseason, I would see an NCAA Play-In Game or high NIT seed as the realistic options. If the 'Cats were to fall into the NIT, I think they'd have a pretty solid shot of emerging victorious. In the NCAA Tournament, I think a loss in the play-in game would be the case there.