@GTMBK Non-Conference Preview – Villanova

Sept. 22, 2015

THE FLATS – Each week up until the beginning of basketball season, Ramblinwreck.com takes a look at an opponent on Georgia Tech’s non-conference schedule. This week, we look at Villanova. Tech has won all three meetings against ‘Nova at neutral sites, and a possible fourth neutral-site meeting would occur at the Barclays Center Nov. 27 in the NIT Season Tip-Off.

Date: November 27, 2015
Location: Villanova, Pa.
Conference: Big East
Home arena: The Pavilion (6,500)
2014-15 Record: 33-3 overall, 16-2 in the Big East (1st place), 6th in NCAA RPI
Post-Season: SEC Tournament First Round, lost to Mississippi State 82-68
NCAA Championship Appearances: 35 (last in 2015)
All-time series record: Georgia Tech leads 3-0 (First meeting 3/15/1986)
Head coach: Jay Wright (entering 15th season, 319-152)
Starters returning/lost: 3/2
Top scorer returning: Ryan Arcidiacono (10.1)
Top rebounder returning: Daniel Ochefu (8.5)

Quick preview for 2015-16

In Jay Wright’s 14-year tenure at Villanova, the Wildcats have reached the NCAA Tournament 10 times, including seven straight appearances from 2005-2011 and 10 of the last 11 years since 2005. Last season, Wright coached the Wildcats to 33 wins, the most he’s ever won in a season as a head coach. To match this level of success in 2015-16, Villanova will look to Ryan Arcidiacono. The rising senior guard was tied for the team’s second-leading scorer last season (10.1 ppg). He also had the highest percentage from the charity stripe. Arcidiacono will need help from rising senior big man Daniel Ochefu. The 6-11 forward had a monster year on the boards (8.5 rpg), and had 111 more rebounds than the team’s second-leading rebounder. The two standout seniors will need others to step up from a veteran lineup with nine upperclassmen.

Quick recap of 2014-15

Last year Villanova only lost three games the entire season. The Wildcats won their first 13 games before losing to Seton Hall in overtime. After losing to Georgetown in late January, Villanova won 16 consecutive games. The Wildcats won the Big East Tournament in three games, including a 17-point win over Xavier in the championship game. Villanova earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and defeated Lafayette easily in the opening round. However, the NC State Wolfpack upset the Wildcats in the round of 32 for a spot in the Sweet 16. In 2014-15, ‘Nova ranked number one in the Big East in many categories, including scoring offense, scoring defense, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, three point shooting and steals. The Wildcats ranked in the bottom half of the Big East in offensive and defensive rebounding. Jay Wright will depend on Daniel Ochefu to change these numbers in 2015-16.

Greatest program accomplishment

1985 National Championship, 4 Final Fours, and 35 NCAA Tournament Appearances – Villanova basketball began in 1920, joined the Big East in 1980, and has appeared in 35 NCAA Tournaments. Villanova and Ohio State are the only two schools that have competed in the NCAA Tournament in every decade since the 1930s. The Wildcats competed in seven consecutive NCAA Tournaments from 2005-2011, and have competed in 10 of the last 11. In 2009, Villanova advanced to its fourth Final Four and the first time since its 1985 National Championship. The Wildcats defeated Pittsburgh 78-76 to get to the Final Four before losing to North Carolina. Last year, Villanova ended a 20-year conference championship drought by winning its third Big East Tournament. The Wildcats have won seven Big East regular season titles, including each of the last two seasons. Last season, Villanova won 33 games, a school record for wins in a season.

Greatest player in program history

Paul Arizin (1947-1950) – Paul Arizin, a Philadelphia native, is one of the most storied players in Villanova history. Head coach Alexander Severance discovered and took a liking to Arizin even though he didn’t make his high school basketball team. He became Villanova’s first 1,000 point scorer and finished with 1,648 points. When he graduated, Arizin was Villanova’s all-time leading scorer. On February 12, 1949, he scored a Villanova record 85 points against the Naval Air Material Center. Forty-five years later, Arizin’s jersey was retired. He went on to play 12 NBA seasons with the Philadelphia Warriors. He was a 10-time All-Star, and scored over 16,000 points in his career. Arizin averaged almost 23 points and 8.6 rebounds over the course of his NBA career. The Villanova Wildcat and Philadelphia Warrior legend died in 2006 at the age of 78 in Springfield, Pa.

Place to visit on campus or in the city

Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia – Villanova University is located 12 miles west of Philadelphia. In Philly, the No. 1 most visited attraction is Reading Terminal Market. The Market is the city’s famous indoor one-stop shop for everything from local produce and desserts to sandwiches and cheeses. Established in 1892, the Reading Terminal Market is the nation’s oldest continuously operating farmers’ market. Tourists and locals can watch as Amish bakers twist and bake soft pretzels right in from of them. Cooks from the best local restaurants come to the market every morning for the freshest meats, poultry, and seafood they can find. The market is a must-see and a must-taste for the entire family.

ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is beginning its fifth year under head coach Brian Gregory. The Yellow Jackets have been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993), played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBK).

For more information on Tech basketball, visit Ramblinwreck.com. Tickets for men’s basketball can be purchased here.

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