The 2017-18 RTC16: Week Three

Posted by Walker Carey on December 4th, 2017

The ACC/Big Ten Challenge has come and gone with the ACC earning a resounding 11-3 victory last week. While the series as a whole ended up lopsided in one direction, it is important to note one key victory earned by each league. On Wednesday evening, #9 Miami (FL) earned its most impressive win to date with an 86-81 road victory over a formidable Minnesota team. The Hurricanes received another star effort from standout sophomore Bruce Brown, Jr., as he finished the game with 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists in a winning effort. On the other side, #4 Michigan State was one of just three Big Ten participants to secure a victory in the event, but it might have been the most impressive result of all. The Spartans dominated throughout their 81-63 victory over #8 Notre Dame, as sophomore guards Joshua Langford and Cassius Winston got the better of the Fighting Irish backcourt to lead Tom Izzo‘s group to a stellar resume-enhancing win. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty analysis is after the jump…

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

  • Duke remains at #1. The Blue Devils are developing quite a consistent habit in coming from behind to win games this season. This phenomenon occurred again last Wednesday when Duke used another late rally to overcome its defensive woes at Indiana. The Blue Devils also beat South Dakota in a romp on Saturday, but once again, their defensive effort left something to be desired. Duke’s young roster is going to have to improve defensively as the season wears on, as it will hit the hardwood twice again this week with a home date versus St. Francis (PA) on Tuesday before opening ACC play at Boston College on Saturday.
  • Unbeaten #10 Virginia keeps easing its way to victories. Tony Bennett teams have never been known for playing the most aesthetically pleasing style of basketball, and this season’s Cavaliers have been no exception as evidenced by last Monday’s 49-37 victory over Wisconsin. While this style of play suits Virginia (and Wisconsin) very well, there are going to be times throughout the course of a season where the Cavaliers will have to adapt to the style of its opponent or suffer the consequences. One of those situations could come as soon as Tuesday this week when the Cavaliers travel to Morgantown to take on a West Virginia team that will do everything in its power to speed up the game and make Virginia uncomfortable.
  • #15 Seton Hall had a great week. The Pirates grabbed both a huge neutral site victory and an impressive road win last week. On Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, Seton Hall’s backcourt of Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez and Myles Powell combined for 59 points in lifting the Pirates to an 89-79 win over a talented Texas Tech team. They then took their winning ways on the road Sunday where they gutted out a last-minute 79-77 victory over Louisville. Seton Hall will have to be near its best again this coming Saturday when it plays host to an always pesky VCU squad.

Poll Defenses.

  • I have a lot of respect for Tony Bennett as a coach and for the success he’s had at Virginia. But his team’s style of play, time and again, lends itself to being overly loved by the computer models. Much like a year ago, and with full acknowledgment of Kyle Guy’s great start, I don’t see a dynamic playmaker or next-level athlete on the roster in the mold of Malcolm Brogdon or Justin Anderson. Win at Morgantown on Tuesday, and my opinion will start to change.” – pollster Matt Auerbach, commenting on his decision to not rank unbeaten Virginia in his RTC16.
  • “I don’t penalize a team for losing on the road to the #3 team in the country. I’d expect every other team (sans Duke) in the country to do the same. Sure, the score was lopsided, but I’m not moving them below a team they beat on a neutral court last week (Wichita State) for losing a true road game against #3.” – pollster Mick McDonald, summarizing his decision to keep Notre Dame at #5 despite the Fighting Irish’s big loss at Michigan State last week.

Game of the Week. #2 Villanova vs. #12 Gonzaga. Two of the country’s most consistently excellent programs will do battle on Tuesday night at the Jimmy V Classic in Madison Square Garden. The Wildcats enter the game with an undefeated record while the Bulldogs have suffered just one defeat (in double-overtime to Florida). There will be a lot of angles to keep an eye on in this contest, but the point guard duel between Villanova’s Jalen Brunson and Gonzaga’s Josh Perkins is probably the best one. Both veteran players come into this event with a great deal of winning experience, so it will be fascinating to see which player wins the individual battle as it should contribute greatly to which team leaves New York with a victory.

Keep Tabs On. #6 Florida vs. Florida State; #10 Virginia vs. West Virginia; #5 Texas A&M vs. Arizona; #15 Seton Hall vs. VCU; #7 Wichita State vs. Oklahoma State; #6 Florida vs. #16 Cincinnati; #3 Kansas vs. Arizona State.

Conference Call. ACC (5), SEC (3), Big East (3), AAC (2), Big 12 (1), Big Ten (1),  WCC (1).

WCarey (318 Posts)

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