Here’s what we know:
The Ohio State Buckeyes will be fine without Evan Turner. After their 18-point win over Florida (on the road), the Buckeyes are primed for a Final Four run. Jared Sullinger has been a beast in the paint (18.7 ppg, 10.7 reb). And he’s only a freshman. David Lighty (15.3 ppg) seems to be trying to replace Turner. The 6-5 junior is off to a nice start.
Butler of 2010-2011 won’t be Butler of 2009-2010. But the Bulldogs will be a tournament team this season. Gordon Hayward is gone, but Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack are a quality one-two punch. Keep an eye on 6-11 sophomore center Andrew Smith He’s a rugged rebounder who could be a big factor down the stretch.
I know we say this ever year, but Rutgers could be on to something. Sunday’s 61-45 win over Miami was impressive. The numbers may not illustrate that, but in past seasons the Scarlet Knights would lose games like that to BCS conference schools. John Mitchell had a solid game with 12 points and 7 rebounds.
Pay no attention to Providence and its 4-0 start. Sorry to be negative. But when a Big East team plays Dartmouth, Yale, Morgan State and Prairie View A&M to start the season, how serious can you get about it?
Who will be this season’s Butler? It’s a little early in the season, but keep an eye on Central Connecticut State (3-0) from the Northeast Conference. The Blue Devils have junior forward Ken Horton back. Horton averaged 14.5 points in his first two seasons. He missed last year with an injury. He’s back this season and is averaging 21.3 points and 9 rebounds so far. His partner in crime has been senior guard Shemik Thompson, whose averaging 20 points and 4 rebounds. Add to that former Bayport-Blue Point standout Robby Ptacek (13.3 pts, 5.3 reb) and you have a CCS team that could turn heads.
On the west coast you have to be impressed with San Diego State. The Aztecs are 4-0 and have beaten Gonzaga (on the road). Their next big test will be against St. Mary’s on December 1. They also have a game against Cal before their Mountain West Conference schedule gets under way. Look out BYU. Kawhi Leonard (20.7 ppg, 11.3 reb) is the real deal. So is Billy White, who dropped 30 points on 14-for-18 shooting against Gonzaga.