Fresh off surprise NCAA berth, Villanova enters with higher expectations in revamped Big East

By the time Villanova knocked off its third top-five team of the season, a few things were clear on the Main Line.

A year after a 19-loss season, the Wildcats were headed back to the NCAA tournament.

And, the good times also were back at Villanova — along with a heap of expectations that this season would only be better.

Coach Jay Wright erased the worst season in Villanova history with a 20-14 mark last season, four wins over Top 25 teams and a surprising berth in the NCAA tournament. That the season ended with 78-71 loss to North Carolina in the second round wasn't as much a disappointment as it was the first step toward rebuilding the program into regular March contenders.

The Wildcats open the season Nov. 8 vs. Lafayette.