A look back at five things that caught my eye:
1. Georgia may finally be turning the corner. The Bulldogs were a trendy pick for the top 25 in the preseason, but a high ankle sprain by Trey Thompkins set them back a bit. And remember this group of Bulldogs had never seriously won anything, so it may have been premature to put this team on a pedestal. But the two-point win over a scrappy UAB on Friday was a good indicator. Georgia was led by Thompkins’ 20 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. Heralded Tennessee State transfer Gerald Robinson was clutch down the stretch. If forward Jeremy Price continues to play well, the Dawgs will have four legitimate options.
2. Conference play is a different deal. Just when it seemed that Old Dominion was ready to become a top-25 team after beating Xavier and Richmond (its only loss being a narrow one to Georgetown), the Monarchs went out and lost to Delaware. The loss in their Colonial opener means the Monarchs are suddenly in a hole in the conference. And as much as ODU has put itself in position to become an at-large team, it can’t afford to lose to teams that are likely to finish in the bottom half of the conference.
3. Dragons showing some fire. Let’s stay in the CAA. Drexel is 5-1 and 1-0 in league play with three road wins, despite not having two of their top players in Jamie Harris and Kevin Phillip. The pair were suspended from the team over the summer after a charge of armed robbery. Drexel is getting superb play out of Chris Fouch, who is averaging 21.7 points a game and scored 27 in the road win at Northeastern on Saturday.
4. Jon Leuer continues to rise: The Wisconsin big man was one of the handful selections for the U.S. Select team that scrimmaged the national team over the summer. He quietly has become one of the best scoring forwards in the country. Leuer is the reason the Badgers have a shot to finish in the upper-half of the Big Ten and be back in the NCAA tournament yet again. He scored 22 and 29 in decisive wins over NC State and South Dakota. He’s efficient with his shooting, gets to the line (7-of-8 against the Wolfpack) and rebounds at a high rate.
5. Boston College’s Reggie Jackson has become a star. Jackson said last spring that the Eagles could be a Final Four team. Clearly that’s not going to happen, but he did have a good read on his game. He knew he was ready to blossom in college and as a junior he has, becoming a monster with the ball in his hands. Jackson scored 27 points in a win over Indiana and then 17 in a win over previously undefeated UMass in Boston. If the Eagles are to have a chance to finish in the upper-half of the ACC, it will be because of Jackson. He will need to be a dominant player for BC to have a chance. So far he has been.