Hey, remember back in April when Daniel Ochefu set a screen, Ryan Arcidiacono made a pass, Kris Jenkins took a shot, Jay Wright said “Bang,” Bill Raftery said, “Onions,” Charles Barkley jumped like a madman, and Villanova won a national championship at the buzzer?
That was fun. We should do that whole college basketball thing again. Oh hey, look at that, another season starts tonight! To get you ready, you should check out all the season previews on CSNPhilly’s NCAA page — as well as these following six predictions for Philadelphia's City Six:
Villanova won’t repeat as national champs
I mean, that would be a tall order, especially after losing a player like Arcidiacono, so I’m not going out on too much of a limb here. But led by Jenkins, Josh Hart and Jalen Brunson, Villanova will win its fourth straight Big East title, continue its dominance over the Big 5, and make it to at least the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
’Nova will be the only city team to dance
On paper, it looks like it could be a lean year for Philly hoops aside from ’Nova as St. Joe’s and Temple lost a lot of talent while La Salle, Penn and Drexel have many question marks. The preseason Pomeroy rankings certainly don’t paint the most flattering picture with St. Joe’s ranked 99, La Salle 100, Temple 116, Penn 231 and Drexel 280. But at least one of these teams will surprise some people and …
… Dunph will figure it out, as always
Even though Temple looks to have serious backcourt issues going into the season with Josh Brown injured and Trey Lowe redshirting the season following the graduation of Quenton DeCosey, Temple will grow into a good team as the year progresses. Fran Dunphy may have his share of critics but bad seasons for him are exceedingly rare as the head coach has won 20 games or more in his eight of his 10 years at Temple. Look for the Owls to be in the NCAA picture for much of the season before likely ending up in the NIT.
Obi Enechionyia will challenge Jordan Price for the city scoring title
With so many young players on Temple, Dunphy has said Enechionyia will need to carry much of the scoring load. And considering he’s a big man who can also shoot the three, he can easily average close to 20 points per game this season. Meanwhile, La Salle star Jordan Price averaged a city-best 19.2 points per game last season but may see a small dip in his scoring with the Explorers getting some much-needed offensive reinforcements (more on those below). Josh Hart will average around 17 points per game and finish third. Don’t ask me how I’m coming up with these numbers but just know they’re very, very accurate.
Fresh Kimble will be the city’s breakout star
Lamarr “Fresh” Kimble came off the bench for St. Joe’s last season but still showed flashes of brilliance in his freshman campaign. One year later, with top scorers DeAndre Bembry and Isaiah Miles gone, the Philly native is poised to take over as the Hawks’ next big star. He already has the respect of his teammates, getting chosen as a captain despite only being a sophomore. Soon, he’ll have the respect of a lot of other teams too as a crafty point guard with a little bit of Jameer in him.
Transfers will get Penn, La Salle and Drexel back on track
It seems like it’s the year of the transfer in Philly. Penn will plug in two sharpshooting transfers into their starting lineup in Caleb Wood and Matt MacDonald (along with a freshman in A.J. Brodeur) as they look to ensure a top-four finish in the Ivies and a berth in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament. Miles Overton, son of former La Salle star Doug, will look to get the Zach Spiker era off to a good start at Drexel after coming over from Wake Forest. And La Salle hopes to continue its successful transfer trend as three talented ones in Pookie Powell (Memphis), B.J. Johnson (Syracuse) and Demetrius Henry (South Carolina) join a former one in Price. If those guys live up to the hype, the Explorers could easily become the city’s second best team and contend for a spot in the Big Dance.