Five observations from the week that was:
1. Old Dominion’s win over Xavier in the Paradise Jam, coupled with VCU’s victory over UCLA, is a strong indicator that the Colonial might end up as a multiple-bid league. Both ODU and VCU play Richmond, which will be another barometer for both squads.
2. On Friday, Siena knocked off Rider on the road in one of the earliest conference games that I can ever remember. The Saints played Minnesota well during a road loss and wilted late against Butler and Princeton, but until proven otherwise, they should be looked at as the favorite again in the MAAC despite a coaching change. Preseason favorite Fairfield is off to a shaky start.
3. This freshman class has looked sensational so far. Kentucky’s Terrence Jones was a beast in Maui, teammate Brandon Knight lit up Washington, Jared Sullinger is dominating in the post for Ohio State and Tobias Harris is proving to be an extremely difficult matchup as a point-forward for Tennessee. Notice none of them are named Harrison Barnes, the preseason AP first-team All-American who continues to struggle in the early going for North Carolina.
4. Credit St. John’s for surviving a brutal travel schedule with only one loss. The Red Storm started the season in California against Saint Mary’s, returned home to New York to play Columbia, and then flew to Anchorage, where they went 3-0 and won the Great Alaska Shootout with a win over Arizona State on Saturday night.
5. Hard to be picky prior to Dec. 1, but I expected to see more wins out of Murray State, Georgia, Butler, Western Kentucky, Colorado, Alabama, Texas Tech and USC at this point in the young season.