2016-17 RTC Top 25: Week Four

Posted by Walker Carey on December 12th, 2016

Another week of college basketball is in the books, and with it came three previously-unbeaten squads suffering their first setbacks of the season. First, #16 Butler experienced its first loss last Wednesday when it traveled to Terre Haute to take on a feisty Indiana State squad that emerged victorious with an impressive one-point win. The Bulldogs, however, bounced back on Saturday with a nice home victory over a solid Cincinnati team. #20 Saint Mary’s was the next unbeaten to fall, as the Gaels were thoroughly outplayed in Thursday’s home loss to a pesky UT-Arlington team that already has a win over Texas. Much like Butler, the Gaels bounced back with a home victory over UC Irvine on Sunday. #22 Notre Dame was the final unbeaten of the week to fall, as Mike Brey’s squad gave #1 Villanova all it could handle before bowing out with a 74-66 defeat. There are now only seven unbeatens (#1 Villanova, #4 UCLA, #5 Baylor, #7 Gonzaga, #11 Creighton, #18 South Carolina, and #24 USC) remaining one month into the season, so keep an eye on each of these squads as we move into the holiday season and approach conference play. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty Analysis of the RTC25 is after the jump.

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Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

  • Villanova remains #1. Top-ranked Villanova improved to 10-0 last week but it was not easy sledding for the defending national champs. The Wildcats on Tuesday needed a late rally to eventually outlast Big 5 rival La Salle. Then on Saturday Jay Wright’s squad overcame an 11-point first half deficit against #22 Notre Dame before emerging with a tough 74-66 win. Villanova faces another Philly foe this Tuesday when it does battle with longtime rival Temple. The Wildcats figure to be fairly healthy favorites in this game, but rivalries are a perfect time to throw the records out the window.
  • Creighton quietly continues its rise. Creighton boosted its record to a perfect 10-0 last week with lopsided wins over Nebraska and Longwood. After falling off the national radar over the last two seasons, the Bluejays have returned thanks to the play of its impressive backcourt of Maurice Watson, Jr. and Marcus Foster. Playing in the same conference as #1 Villanova, #16 Butler, and #17 Xavier may seem like an arduous task, but given how well Greg McDermott’s team is playing, Creighton has shown it belongs in the discussion at the top of the Big East standings.
  • Wichita State enters the poll at #25. Weren’t the Shockers supposed to take a step back this season with the graduations of longtime standouts Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker? Well, it appears not. Rather, Wichita State improved its record to 9-2 during a perfect week that included a 76-73 win over Oklahoma. Gregg Marshall’s squad will go for the season sweep of Oklahoma’s Big 12 teams this Saturday when it welcomes Oklahoma State to Koch Arena. The Shockers have used a balanced effort to offset last season’s graduation losses, as forwards Markis McDuffie, Darral Willis and Zach Brown are all averaging over 10 points per game.

Game of the Week. #6 North Carolina vs. #8 Kentucky. The second game of Saturday’s CBS Sports Classic will draw considerable national interest as the Tar Heels and Wildcats are set to do battle in Las Vegas. Both North Carolina and Kentucky have suffered just one setback on the young season and will look to grab another signature victory before conference play begins. The key match-up here will be the frontcourt battle between North Carolina veterans Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks and Justin Jackson and Kentucky’s young group of Bam Adebayo, Wenyen Gabriel and Isaac Humphries. The team that can best control the post should have the upper hand when it comes to determining the victor.

Keep Tabs On. #18 South Carolina vs. Seton Hall; #1 Villanova vs. Temple; #14 Purdue vs. #22 Notre Dame; #21 Arizona vs. Texas A&M; #4 UCLA vs. Ohio State; #9 Indiana vs. #16 Butler.

Conference Call: ACC (6), Pac-12 (4), Big East (4), Big 12 (3), Big Ten (3), SEC (2), WCC (2), Missouri Valley (1)

WCarey (263 Posts)


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