2016-17 RTC Top 25: Week 14

Posted by Walker Carey on February 20th, 2017

As we enter the home stretch of the college basketball season, the top two teams in the RTC25 have separated themselves from the pack as the best squads in the country. Top-ranked Gonzaga continued its undefeated run with dominant home victories over San Francisco and Pacific. The Bulldogs finish their regular season on Thursday at San Diego and Saturday in Spokane versus BYU, making the likelihood of a perfect 30-0 mark entering postseason play very likely. Second-ranked Villanova extended its winning streak to seven in a row with easy road wins last week over DePaul and Seton Hall — the Wildcats are now 26-2 overall and 13-2 in Big East play. They will have a chance to improve on those marks with looming home showdowns this week against #22 Butler on Wednesday and #23 Creighton on Saturday. Of course a lot can still happen between now and Selection Sunday, but it certainly looks like Gonzaga and Villanova will be pleased with where they end up on the evening of March 12. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

  • Kansas has effectively wrapped up its 13th consecutive Big 12 regular season title. The Jayhawks experienced a whirlwind of a week in which they once again fully grabbed hold of the the top spot of the Big 12 standings. A remarkable overtime comeback victory over #13 West Virginia was followed by another impressive come-from-behind win Saturday at #9 Baylor. #3 Kansas now sits at 12-2 in Big 12 play with a seemingly insurmountable three-game lead in the league standings. Like clockwork, Bill Self appears well on his way to earning his 13th consecutive Big 12 regular season title.
  • Duke remains on the winning path. It wasn’t all that long ago when the story of the college basketball season was #10 Duke’s disappointing campaign. That narrative has shifted as the Blue Devils have now won seven in a row bookended by a pair of tough wins over Wake Forest. Mike Krzyzewski’s team is now a reasonable 10-4 in ACC play, only one game behind conference-leading North Carolina. Upcoming trips to Syracuse on Wednesday followed by Miami on Saturday will be tricky, but if Duke can earn wins in both, the final week of the ACC regular season will be extremely intriguing.
  • The top 10 remains Pac-12 heavy. The Pac-12 trio of #4 Oregon, #6 UCLA and #7 Arizona all remain in the RTC top 10 after completing perfect weeks. An interesting wrinkle in this year’s conference race is that Arizona currently leads with a 14-1 record, one game above Oregon and two games ahead of UCLA. It should be interesting to see if the Wildcats are able to keep the pole position as the regular season nears its end.

Game of the Week. #6 UCLA vs. #7 Arizona. A premier Pac-12 battle will ensue on Saturday night in Tucson as the Wildcats and Bruins hit the hardwood in what should be appointment viewing for college basketball fans. Arizona emerged victorious in the first match-up — a 96-85 triumph at Pauley Pavilion last month — but the Wildcats will again need strong performances from better-known commodities Kobi Simmons and Lauri Markkanen to get the win. The Bruins are an extremely talented offensive unit, so expect them to do their best to limit Simmons and Markkanen from exploiting their spotty defense.

Keep Tabs On. #19 Virginia vs. Miami (FL); #14 Florida vs. South Carolina; #24 Maryland vs. Minnesota; #4 Louisville vs. #8 North Carolina; #2 Villanova vs. #22 Butler; #11 Kentucky vs. #14 Florida; #2 Villanova vs. #23 Creighton; #12 Purdue vs. Michigan; #9 Baylor vs. Iowa State; #10 Duke vs. Miami (FL); #22 Butler vs. Xavier; #15 Wisconsin vs. Michigan State.

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

WCarey (251 Posts)


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