2016-17 RTC Top 25: Week Seven

Posted by Walker Carey on January 3rd, 2017

The first full weekend of conference play was quite a doozy. From several head-scratching results (e.g., #22 Indiana falling in Bloomington to what was supposed to be an overmatched Nebraska team) to last second heroics (e.g., #11 Oregon beating #4 UCLA on a Dillon Brooks three-pointer), the start of conference play reminded us why college basketball is great theater. No conference that had a more dramatic opening weekend than the ACC, a fact that was driven home on New Year’s Eve when league stalwarts #6 Duke, #13 Virginia and #14 North Carolina were stunned by #21 Virginia Tech, #15 Florida State and Georgia Tech, respectively. While it is probably unreasonable to expect each subsequent week to provide as much drama, it is fair to assume that we will see flashes of this unexpectedness throughout the remainder of the season. 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. The Wildcats improved to 14-0 last week but it was not without a challenge. In Wednesday’s Big East opener, Jay Wright’s squad fought off a pesky DePaul squad until the very end in a 68-65 victory. Saturday’s much-anticipated showdown at #10 Creighton was not much easier, but Villanova used a late second half run to pull away from the unbeaten Blue Jays in an impressive 10-point road win. The Wildcats will continue conference life on the road when they head to #18 Butler on Wednesday before returning home for a Saturday battle with Marquette. Finding ways to win close games is a mark of a good team, but you have to wonder how long Villanova can stay unbeaten if it keeps pushing that envelope.
  • Duke has another hurdle to climb. The story of Duke’s week was going to be its listless performance in Saturday’s loss at #21 Virginia Tech (without Grayson Allen), but that all changed on Monday morning when the news broke that legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski will take a one-month leave of absence following Wednesday’s Georgia Tech game to undergo back surgery. Krzyzewski’s absence from the bench will be yet another hurdle for these Blue Devils to climb, as they have already endured a drama-filled season full of roster issues. It will certainly be interesting to see how interim coach Jeff Capel handles his big chance and how his team responds to a different voice coming from the bench.
  • Florida State continues its steady rise. Florida State has not been to the NCAA Tournament since 2012 but that looks primed to change this season as the Seminoles currently sit at 14-1 with two solid wins to open ACC play.  The Seminoles used a big second half run to topple Wake Forest in last Wednesday’s home opener before using a 29-point effort from sophomore Dwayne Bacon to pull off the road upset of #13 Virginia. While there is still a lot of basketball yet to be played, it is safe to say that Florida State is one of the most improved teams in college basketball. It would be wise to keep an eye on Leonard Hamilton’s talented unit as the season progresses.

Game of the Week. #12 Wisconsin vs. #22 Indiana. Indiana already has one of the most bizarre résumés in recent memory. The Hoosiers own fantastic wins over #2 Kansas and #13 North Carolina, but they have also suffered a loss at Fort Wayne and a perplexing home loss to Nebraska. Tom Crean’s squad will look to begin 2017 on a brighter note tonight when it hosts Wisconsin in what could be considered a must-win for the home team. The Badgers are a veteran squad led by seniors Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes, so it would be hard to imagine that they will be intimidated by a raucous environment at Assembly Hall. Will Indiana be able to right the ship or will the Hoosiers suffer their third straight loss and start the Big Ten schedule at 0-2? In a week filled with interesting match-ups, this is the most compelling game.

Keep Tabs On. #14 North Carolina vs. #25 Clemson; #1 Villanova vs. #18 Butler; #7 Louisville vs. #24 Notre Dame; #15 Florida State vs. #21 Virginia Tech; #24 Notre Dame vs. #25 Clemson; #12 Wisconsin vs. #19 Purdue.

Conference Call: ACC (8), Big East (4), Pac-12 (3), Big 12 (3), Big Ten (3), SEC (2), WCC (2).

WCarey (251 Posts)


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