Morgan State vs Villanova Preview and Prediction
Morgan State vs Villanova Preview
The defending National Champions take the floor for the first time since they won it all in memorable fashion last season.
The new-look Wildcats begin the season ranked No. 9, but they’ll be a different team with the loss of four key players — guards Donte DiVincenzo and Jalen Brunson and forwards Mikal Bridges and Omari Spellman. DiVincenzo, Bridges and Spellman were selected in the first round of the NBA Draft while Brunson went in the second round.
Villanova, which has won two national titles in the last three years, will rely heavily on senior forward Eric Paschall and senior guard Phil Booth. Paschall was named to the First Team preseason All-Big East while Booth was named to the Second Team.
“This is a rare situation for us, I’d rather have at least two of those guys back, and that would be more of a normal transition for us,” said Villanova head coach Jay Wright, who is entering his 18th season with a 421-165 record on the Main Line. “But it’s also kind of refreshing because there is a lot of new roles except for Eric and Phil. It kind of reminds me when Allan Ray, Randy Foye and Jason Fraser and those guys were freshmen. I hope some wisdom has sunken into our coaching staff and we have some more patience with these guys than we did back then, so it is a whole different perspective for us this year.”
A trio of sophomore’s figure to round out the Wildcats starting lineup–guard Collin Gillespie, forwards Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree and Jermaine Samuels will join Paschall and Booth.
Young, but talented are the Wildcats this season. Despite their losses, they are still a Top 10 team and an elite program in college basketball.
What to expect from Morgan State
Morgan State finished 13-19 last season and were picked sixth in the preseason Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference poll. KenPom.com has the Bears ranked as the 343rd team out of a possible 353.
The Bears return only two starters from last year’s team — senior guards Martez Cameron (8.6 points per game) and Antonio Gillespie (3.8 ppg). They do however have other key players coming back that include senior guard Tyler Streeter, junior guard Stanley Davis and junior forward David Syfax.
Notice all of those players are upper-classmen, so youth will not be a problem for the Bears.
Stanley Davis is the guy to keep an eye on for Morgan State. He only averaged 21 minutes per game last season, but did the most with his time on the court, averaging 7.4 PPG.
“I’m looking for him to grow a little bit more and he’s going to have a little bit more freedom,” Morgan State head coach Todd Bozeman told the athletic program’s Web site about Davis. “He can really score the ball. He started to think as much toward the end of the season, and that’ll be key for us.”
“I want this team to be able to grow and form its own personality,” Bozeman said. “I just want our guys to work hard. The rest of it will take shape from there.”
This will be the first meeting ever between these two programs.
Morgan State might be able to hang with the Wildcats as they deal with early game and early season jitters, but they should begin to pull away by at least double-digits at the ten-minute mark of the first half.
Villanova 82 Morgan State 58