1. The Brunson Era begins
Villanova has an assortment of talented returnees, but there's a lot of hype surrounding one of their incoming recruits as well. Jalen Brunson, a native of Lincolnshire, Illinois, is coming into this season with expectations from many college basketball fans for him to follow in the footsteps of the great 'Nova guards that came before him. We got a taste of what to expect from him in the Wildcats' exhibition game against Pace University last weekend where Brunson dropped 13 points. It will be interesting to see what he can do in his very first official college game.
2. Matchup nightmare?
A season ago, the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights were one of the worst defensive teams in the country by most if not all metrics. They allowed teams to score 111.2 points per 100 possessions, almost 10 points above the Division 1 average of 102. This season, KenPom again sees the Knights to be porous on the defensive side of the ball. The preseason projects them to be omitting 107.2 points per 100 possessions which is ranked 336th in the country. Villanova, meanwhile, is expected to be near the top offensively. Via KenPom.com, their projection has them scoring 112.3 points per 100 possessions this season. If Fairleigh Dickinson's defensive lapses continue at The Pavilion, it could be a very long night to start the season for the Knights.
3. Protecting the home court
To say that Villanova has been dominant in their campus venue might be an understatement. The 'Cats are 209-29 at The Pavilion dating back to the 1994-95 season per the Villanova media notes, and have won their last 26 consecutive games played there. 'Nova has also been extraordinarily great in home openers. Per Sports-Reference.com, the last loss they suffered in the first home game of their season was back on December 13, 1976 to Princeton. A 39-year streak will look to continue on Friday night and it certainly favors 'Nova to see their winning ways continue.