Penn stays still in the first week rankings, as they lost a wild one to Temple at the Palestra. It was a fantastic contest to kick off the season, but the Quakers late rally fell short, as they lost to the Owls 78-73.
The Quakers can keep their heads high after this loss, as it was a hard-fought battle. Penn looks vastly improved from a year ago and should contend in the Ivy League. Plus, they may not have won, but at least Bill Cosby performed after the game.
Temple remains at #5 for the first week rankings after pulling off the narrow victory discussed above. The Owls lost a lot from last season’s team and will need some fresh faces to step up this season. That being said, Temple always seems to put together a solid squad and with time should improve.
4. Saint Joseph’s
Saint Joseph’s traveled to Vermont to kick off their season. Looking to redeem themselves from a disappointing 2012-13 season, the Hawks soared to a 74-64 victory over the Catamounts. The Hawks were led by strong performances from Langston Galloway and Ronald Roberts, Jr., who each scored 21 points. The talented seniors will look to continue their steady growth and lead a Hawks squad that gets a nice infusion of youth this year.
The Hawks may struggle with depth this season, but look for some youngsters to step up over the course of the season, as this team could have tournament potential if the cards fall right.
3. La Salle
La Salle falls one spot from our preseason rankings to #3 this week. The Explorers lost a marathon double overtime contest at home to Manhattan 99-90. Tyrone Garland drained a 3-pointer with 9 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime. The first overtime was close and the Explorers had Tyreek Duren on the line with 23 seconds left and a one point lead. Duren missed the first and made the second, which would prove costly, as the Jaspers drove the lane and tied the game. The Jaspers would take control in the second overtime and leave Tom Gola Arena victorious.
The Explorers only fall one spot due to this loss, as they still looked good in the game and Manhattan is far from a cakewalk of an opponent.
Drexel is the only school that moves from the preseason rankings, jumping up one spot to move ahead of La Salle. The Dragons lost their opener just like the Explorers, but did it in a close game against the UCLA Bruins on the road. Falling 72-67 to the #22 team in the country on the road is nothing to be ashamed of to open a season.
The Dragons look to have improved greatly since a year ago and could definitely make some noise this season.
Villanova remains at the top of the rankings after handily beating the Lafayette Leopards 75-59 to kick off their season. Villanova won easily despite a poor shooting night and little contribution from sophomore guard Ryan Arcidiacono, who scored just 3 points all game.
The Wildcats showed their depth in the first game of the season, as James Bell scored a career-high 24 points and JayVaughn Pinkston added 22. Villanova has immense potential this season and with their depth could be dangerous late in games.
By: Kyle Babcock
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