Coach Jay Wright still has concerns as Villanova opens Big East play

Villanova's Ryan Arcidiacono (15), with teammates JayVaughn Pinkston (22) and Daniel Ochefu. Arcidiacono, a freshman point guard, has improved his play.
Villanova's Ryan Arcidiacono (15), with teammates JayVaughn Pinkston (22) and Daniel Ochefu. Arcidiacono, a freshman point guard, has improved his play. (      JASON DeCROW / AP)
Posted: January 03, 2013

Some questions have been answered about Villanova's young team during nonconference play, but a few nagging concerns remain as the Wildcats prepare to open their Big East season on Wednesday night against St. John's at the Pavilion.

Coach Jay Wright said the Wildcats (9-4) have become comfortable playing with one another and have fit into their roles, particularly during the five-game winning streak they're riding.

However, some of his season-long worries remain - outside shooting, taking care of the basketball, and defending the three-point line. Villanova is last among Big East teams in shooting percentage (41.2), turnovers (15.8 per game), and three-point defense (35.8 percent).

Wright said turnovers could be a major problem against the Red Storm (8-4), who have 13 freshmen and sophomores on their roster.

"That is St. John's best offense," he said. "They're a young team. They're not trying to be fancy on offense, but they're very aggressive defensively, and what do young, gifted kids do well? They get out and run well. So if you turn the ball over and let them get out and run, you're in trouble."

Ryan Arcidiacono, Villanova's freshman point guard, has done a better job recently of running the team. He has not committed a turnover in three of the last four games.

"I'm not trying to force as much, so I'm really just trying to let the game come to me," he said. "I'm going to pick and choose my spots. If I don't have anything, just let someone else reverse it and they can make a play."

Wright said that even with the struggles 'Nova has endured, he believes the Wildcats are ready to go in the conference.

"It's taken some ugly losses and some good road wins," he said, "but I do think we're probably as defined and as comfortable as we can be going into the Big East [season]."


Wednesday's City Six Games

Penn at Butler, 7 p.m. TV/Radio: TCN, WXPN-FM (88.5)

Drexel at Georgia State, 7 p.m.

St. John's at Villanova, 8 p.m. TV/Radio: ESPNU, WIP-AM (610)

La Salle at Miami,

9 p.m. Radio: WNTP-AM (990)


Contact Joe Juliano at jjuliano@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @joejulesinq.

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