2017 NCAA Title Odds
Villanova always understood the myriad challenges of defending a national title. Yet the program definitely couldn’t have foreseen Friday’s bit of bad news.
At an afternoon news conference, head coach Jay Wright confirmed that five-star freshman Omari Spellman will not suit up for the Wildcats during the upcoming season. The NCAA ruled him academically ineligible on the basis of failing to complete initial eligibility requirements in time.
Spellman was expected to assume Daniel Ochefu’s position as the squad’s starting center. Now, one of the top prospects in the 2016 class gets saddled with a redshirt. He’ll hold onto four years of eligibility.
By and large, the task of protecting the rim at the Pavilion suddenly falls on the shoulders of Darryl Reynolds. As a junior, the Philadelphia native played just 17.1 minutes per contest. He did average 9.0 points and 10.6 rebounds in the three affairs that Ochefu missed. A double-double effort against Providence offered glimpses of real promise.
Nonetheless, Wright can’t be pleased about rolling out Reynolds, newbie Dylan Painter and the undersized Kris Jenkins as his primary bigs right off the bat. Villanova’s also trying to figure out how to replace the leadership void left by Ryan Arcidiacono, who graduated following the school’s unforgettable victory over North Carolina in Houston. But online sports book Bovada.lv still gives the Wildcats odds of +1000 to repeat, with only Duke (+400) and Kentucky (+700) held in higher esteem.