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ODU tops Richmond, continues hot start

Are the Old Dominion Monarchs for real? It's starting to look that way.

ODU barely missed in its season opener, when Georgetown barely escaped the Comcast Convocation Center with a three-point win. Since then, Old Dominion -- a team most preseason prognosticators expected to compete for the CAA title and another NCAA tournament berth -- has looked the part.

That continued again last night, when ODU got arguably its best win of the season to date, a 77-70 home victory over a talented and athletic Richmond team coming off a convincing 65-54 win over Purdue in the Chicago Invitational final. ODU guard Kent Bazemore had a rather stat-stuffy kind of night (career-high 22 points, six rebounds, five steals, three assists) and forward Frank Hassell scored 15 points and added 12 rebounds in the win.

The transitive property doesn't apply to college basketball. Just because your team beats my team doesn't mean you'll beat the teams I beat. (Say that five times fast. No, seriously. It's actually kind of fun.) Beating a team that beat Purdue -- a team that just won on the road at Virginia Tech -- doesn't mean you're better than those teams. It doesn't quite work that way.

But it does, for all intents and purposes, put Old Dominion in that conversation. Richmond didn't play like it upset Purdue; the Boilermakers shot poorly, sure, but Richmond is a talented and athletic team with star guard in Kevin Anderson, and it didn't win that game by default. The Spiders are an Atlantic-10 contender. And the Monarchs just handled them in impressive fashion.

ODU's other wins aren't amazing, and they look a little worse today, given that Clemson lost to Michigan at home Tuesday and Xavier was upset by Miami (Ohio) on Wednesday. But Georgetown has looked awfully good since it barely topped the Monarchs on the season's first night. The next time we'll get to see ODU in a big-time game comes Dec. 30 at Missouri. That will be a test worth watching. But for now, Blaine Taylor's team has looked thoroughly impressive, and the CAA stands to benefit as a result.