Villanova basketball comes out hot in first two games

The Wildcats are back and hungry for a title. Villanova basketball played won its first two games this week in the 2K Empire classic at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. This tournament was important for the ‘Cats, who have not been able to scrimmage any teams due to COVID restrictions on Villanova’s campus. Every team needs to deal with the unsure season that is upon them, so these first few games are really going to set the tone. This was the first time head coach Jay Wright has seen them in a real game situation this season and therefore was an important learning experience. Let’s see what these games might tell us about the rest of the Villanova basketball season.

Keeping calm against Boston College

The ‘Cats walked in their first game Wednesday night favored by 14 points over Boston College. Villanova scored early but went into halftime tied 34-34. Then the ‘Cats allowed BC to pull ahead in the second half, getting a decent lead. The Eagles were up by eight points before sophomore Justin Moore came in with a big 3-pointer to get Nova back in the game. All the while, Villanova visibly kept calm even when BC held the lead. This is the kind of mature gameplay that is expected of a Villanova team that is mainly built up of returning players, and this will serve the team well in some of its more high-stress games.

Caleb Daniels showed up

As the season approached, it was clear that three of the starters would definitely be senior forward Jermaine Samuels, senior point guard Collin Gillespie and sophomore forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. While fans speculated about who would fill the roster, not much was said about Caleb Daniels, who is a transfer from Tulane. Daniels redshirted last year, making him one of only two players (the other being redshirt freshman Eric Dixon) who came into the season without having played game time at Nova. Wright seemed confident in Daniels though, and gave him the opportunity to show his stuff.

In the two games that have been played so far, Daniels has scored 14 points and gathered four rebounds. The guard is clearly very comfortable on the court and plays with confidence despite this being his first official season with the ‘Cats. It seems that Daniels may step up to be an integral part of the team this season.

Going forward

Villanova went on to beat Arizona State 83-74 in a good game with consistent play. After having trouble finding the three-point shot, the ‘Cats seemed to calm down and get into a rhythm. This ability to adapt is going to be crucial for Villanova this season. It is an unsure year, and the mental strength to be flexible throughout the winter is going to be essential to any success. It’s not just about playing good basketball anymore, it’s about being tough and willing to adapt.

The Wildcats added another game at Mohegan Sun Arena, and will play Virginia Tech on Saturday. If Villanova basketball can keep playing well and stay healthy, it will have a really promising season.