1. Harvard left the Bahamas Sunday with immense confidence after winning the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. The Crimson didn’t shoot as well on the trip, but defended Central Florida and Florida State extremely well. Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said the wins showed how well the Crimson have matured from a year ago. Senior Oliver McNally said that winning the tournament was akin to UConn taking Maui a year ago, a tourney title that brought that team closer together. But there is a dangerous game lurking at Vermont on Wednesday. “It will be like an Ivy league game for us, in a smaller gym, against a well coached team,’’ McNally said. “We can’t be complacent. It’s going to be different to have the bulls-eye on our back, especially on the road.’’
2. Vanderbilt has as tough of a week as any team in the country. Vanderbilt will host Xavier on Monday and then travel to Louisville on Friday in the SEC-Big East Challenge. The Commodores are better prepared for these games after winning late-possession games against NC State and Oregon State in New Jersey. But the Commodores will be without big man Festus Ezeli again. That’s why it will be even more important to keep Xavier’s Tu Holloway and Louisville’s Peyton Siva out of the lane.
3. It’s easy to get excited about wins by teams outside of the power six conferences but what happens after the wins are just as important. Long Beach State hasn’t been able to follow up the win at Pitt. Losing to an improving San Diego State team on the road was fine but then falling at Montana by two is a bit of a dent. The 49ers have a loaded slate still ahead. The 49ers still have to go to Louisville Monday and have games at Kansas and North Carolina in late December before playing Xavier in the Diamond Head Classic. Long Beach State will have a gaudy power-rating for its non-conference schedule. The key will be to win the games it should and steal another one against a big boy.