1. Ochefu can anchor the defense.
The Wildcats possessed the 12th best defense in the nation last year according to defensive efficiency metrics, but lost three integral pieces in JayVaughn Pinkston, Darrun Hilliard and Dylan Ennis.
With their departures, the Wildcats will look for other players to step up and lead. Well, in the season opener senior Daniel Ochefu proved he is more than willing to be a leader on the team. Not only does his around-the-rim presence disrupt opponent's shots, but it also ignites energy into the Wildcats. On one first half possession, he had not one, but two blocks, with the second one sending the ball out of bounds. He roared and the crowd followed, providing for quite a great moment at the start of the year.
He has taken strides forward each year and it appears this year he will take on a leadership role. Ochefu ultimately found himself leading in more than one way, as he led Villanova in scoring and rebounding with 16 points and 10 boards for his 10th double-double of his career.
2. The Arcidiacono-Brunson show is here.
Midway through the second half Arcidiacono poked the ball loose, Jalen Brunson scooped it up and took it the length of the floor, dishing it back to Arcidiacono at the wing, who splashed it from three.
Just one game into the regular season and there already seems to be a nice chemistry between the two. Either one is capable of taking the ball upcourt and running the point. The two combined for eight assists on the night, and it was Brunson who led the 'Cats in first half scoring with nine points. Brunson is presumably the future, and fortunately for him there are few better guards in the country to have as a mentor than Ryan Arcidiacono. As the season progresses this backcourt combo may not only develop into the best in the Big East, but also one of the best in the country.
3. There will be a new Big East 6th Man of the Year.
Those honors will not belong to Josh Hart this season. With the loss of three starters, Hart has found his way into the Wildcats' starting lineup. Known for his three point shooting, he was one of three Wildcats to find any sort of groove from deep.
Kris Jenkins, Jalen Brunson and Hart were the only three on the team to record multiple made threes. Villanova struggled from deep as a team shooting just 10-for-36 on the night. But with such a commanding lead, unfamiliar faces were able to take the floor to simply get playing time. Nova's bench shot a combined 2-for-16 from three, which did not help.
But Jay Wright showed us old habits do die hard. Last year, Josh Hart led Nova's second team as the sixth man. In the opener, after things got out of hand and many of the starters were sitting, Hart was still out on the floor leading the second team and led the Wildcats in minutes with 26. Wright will have to find a new sixth man, and with the way the bench shot in this one no one really has an edge.