2016-17 RTC Top 25: Week 12

Posted by Walker Carey on February 6th, 2017

This Saturday gave college basketball one of the most chaotic days of the regular season, and no conference felt that impact more than the Big 12. The league’s top three teams were all defeated, with two of those losses coming to unranked foes at home. The chaos started with #4 Kansas having its 54-game home winning streak snapped in a 92-89 overtime loss to Iowa State. At the same time the Jayhawks were losing to the Cyclones, #10 Baylor‘s offense struggled its way to a 56-54 home loss to Kansas State. To conclude the afternoon, #13 West Virginia blew a four-point halftime lead to allow Oklahoma State to leave Morgantown with an 82-75 victory. A host of other top 10 teams also lost on Saturday. There is always going to be that one crazy day in a college basketball season, so it’s worth wondering if Saturday was this year’s or if even more craziness is yet to come. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty Analysis is after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

  • Gonzaga remains #1. Gonzaga stays in the top spot after completing another sterling week to move to a perfect 24-0. The Bulldogs’ 85-75 win at BYU on Thursday night was especially impressive, as the program has had trouble winning in Provo historically and this was a game many had circled as a possible trap. Mark Few’s unit will face another tough road test this Saturday when it will head to #19 Saint Mary’s, where ESPN‘s GameDay will set up shop. If Gonzaga is able to notch a victory over the Gaels in McKeon Pavilion, it will definitely be time to discuss the likelihood of the Bulldogs carrying out an undefeated regular season.
  • #13 Kentucky continues to fall. It was not too long ago when several national outlets were openly speculating if Kentucky could run the table in a relatively weak SEC. That was quite a silly discussion, as the Wildcats have now lost two of their last three SEC games and needed a big shot from Malik Monk to earn the lone victory. Concern about Kentucky was legitimized on Saturday when it looked listless in a 22-point loss at #18 Florida. While the Wildcats will be decent favorites in both of its games this week – Tuesday vs. LSU, and Saturday at Alabama – keep an eye on John Calipari’s bunch to see how they respond to their current adversity.
  • Is #16 Duke “back?” Just two weeks ago, Duke was at its lowest point of a season filled with plenty. It had just lost to unranked NC State at home for its third loss in four games and the drama that has surrounded the team throughout much of the season had not dissipated. Since then, however, Duke has now won three in a row and appears to have committed to improvement on the defensive end of the court. Another development in Duke’s favor is that head coach Mike Krzyzewski returned from his leave of absence in Saturday’s win over Pittsburgh, and it appears that the Blue Devils are ready to attack the remaining five weeks of the regular season fully intact. It would certainly be premature to once again consider the Blue Devils a national championship favorite, but if they can continue to string together victories and lock in defensively, they will definitely enter that conversation. The next test will be a difficult one as #8 North Carolina heads to Durham on Thursday night.

Game of the Week. #8 North Carolina vs. #16 Duke. The best rivalry in college basketball returns this week for the first of two annual meetings. Thursday night’s game in Durham should be filled with intrigue, as the Tar Heels will be looking to grab an important road win and the Blue Devils will try to keep their recent momentum. To make this game even more buzzworthy, Krzyzewski is back on the sideline and looks no worse for the wear. An item to keep an eye on in this game will be how Duke defends North Carolina point guard Joel Berry. It has been well-documented that the Blue Devils do not possess a true point guard, so its strategy when it comes to handling Berry will be important to emerge with the home victory.

Keep Tabs On. #3 Louisville vs. #12 Virginia; #4 Kansas vs. Kansas State; #10 Baylor vs. Oklahoma State; #17 Purdue vs. Indiana; #5 Oregon vs. #9 UCLA; #2 Villanova vs. #23 Xavier; #11 Florida State vs. Notre Dame; #1 Gonzaga vs. #19 Saint Mary’s; #5 Oregon vs. USC; #15 Cincinnati vs. #25 SMU; #6 Wisconsin vs. Northwestern.

Conference Call: ACC (5), Big East (4), Big Ten (3), Big 12 (3), Pac-12 (3), SEC (3), WCC (2), AAC (2).

WCarey (279 Posts)

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