The 2017-18 RTC16: Week One

Posted by Walker Carey on November 20th, 2017

The first few weeks of the college basketball season are normally characterized by quality teams distinguishing themselves as teams to watch the rest of the season. #13 Texas A&M acquitted itself as just such a a team with its dominating opening night victory over West Virginia. The most impressive aspect of the Aggies’ big win was it came without the services of standout sophomore Robert Williams — suspended for the first two games of the season. With Williams set to return for today’s game against Oklahoma State, it is safe to assume A&M’s hot start is poised to continue. #8 Purdue proved it deserves some early season attention by securing an impressive road victory last Tuesday against a solid Marquette squad. The Boilermakers will have a chance to further distinguish themselves this week, as they are in the same Battle 4 Atlantis field as both #2 Arizona and #5 Villanova. With Feast Week now upon us, you can expect more teams will begin to showcase the traits necessary to become a team to watch for the balance of the season. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty analysis is after the jump…

Quick N’ Dirty Thoughts.

  • Duke is now the unanimous #1 team. The Blue Devils absolutely looked the part of the top team in the country in last Tuesday night’s 88-81 victory over #6 Michigan State at the Champions Classic. What made the Duke victory even more impressive was that star freshman forward Marvin Bagley III missed the final 30 minutes of the game after being poked in the eye. In Bagley’s absence, senior guard Grayson Allen picked up the slack, finishing with a career-high 37 points on scorching 7-of-11 three-point shooting. Duke will be tested this week at the PK80 Invitational in Portland with a possible game against either #9 Florida or Gonzaga looming. Score a tournament victory there and the Blue Devils will certainly again be the unanimous top team next week and perhaps beyond.
  • Arizona is up to #2. Sean Miller’s squad has gotten to 3-0 with considerable ease, winning its games by 34, 25 and 32 points, respectively. Big wins over inferior opponents are normally expected at this time of the season, but it is a good sign for Arizona considering it spent the late offseason dealing with fallout from an FBI investigation and has had some player availability issues due to injury and suspension. The Wildcats will have a much tougher road ahead this week, however, as they are part of a loaded field at the Battle 4 Atlantis.
  • #4 Wichita State and #10 Notre Dame lead the Maui Invitational field. If all goes as planned, Wednesday night’s final at the Maui Invitational will be between two top 10 teams in the Shockers and the Irish. Both teams are off to undefeated starts and have been among the most successful in the country over the last few seasons. If it all shakes out correctly and these two teams meet in the Maui final, it will be interesting to see who gets the best of the Landry Shamet vs. Matt Farrell and Shaq Morris vs. Bonzie Colson match-ups. Holiday tournaments in far-flung locations often bring about unexpected results, but all college basketball fans should be hoping the Shockers and Irish advance to meet on the hardwood Wednesday night.

Poll Defenses.

  • “In watching the Champions Classic, I came away far more impressed by Duke than disappointed in Michigan State. I think too often people feel they need to drop a team after a loss. But if you’re convinced the team they lost to (in a competitive game on a neutral floor) is the clear top team in the country, why should they drop very far? At this point, I think every other team in the country loses that game to Duke. I’ll plan to adjust accordingly down the road, but I started the season thinking Duke, Arizona and Michigan State were in a class by themselves, and I’ll continue to think that until they give me a reason not to.” – pollster Mick McDonald on his decision to keep Michigan State at third in his poll despite its loss to Duke.
  • “Purdue has that impressive road win at Marquette and his destroyed its three weaker opponents, which not every ranked team is doing. It looks like their offseason USA Basketball experience has put them ahead of everybody out of the gate. Plus I was not impressed much by either Kansas or Kentucky in the Champions Classic.” – pollster Brad Jenkins, rationalizing why he has Purdue ranked sixth — the highest spot any pollster ranked the Boilermakers.

Game(s) of the Week. Battle 4 Atlantis. Battle 4 Atlantis has been a Feast Week staple since its inception, so it is only reasonable to believe this tournament will once again bring the goods. This year’s field includes #2 Arizona, #5 Villanova and #13 Texas A&M. Which team will grab the tournament title and earn those resume-enhancing victories that will look sterling in March? You should tune in to find out.

Keep Tabs On. You should pay attention to all of the Feast Week action, as there are great tournaments taking place all over the western hemisphere and most of those events include several marquee teams. This will be a key week to form early impressions on some of the nation’s top squads heading into December.

Conference Call: ACC (4), SEC (3), Pac-12 (2), Big East (2),  AAC (2), Big Ten (2), Big 12 (1).

WCarey (255 Posts)


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