The 2017-18 RTC16: Week Five

Posted by Walker Carey on December 19th, 2017

Every now and then a college basketball player comes around who makes all of his games a must-watch for fans. It is still only mid-December but it already appears to be the case for freshman sensation Trae Young and #13 Oklahoma. In Saturday’s nationally televised victory over #10 Wichita State, Young thoroughly dominated a strong Shockers backcourt in a 91-83 road victory. The freshman finished the afternoon with 29 points and 10 assists to raise his season averages to 28.8 points and 8.9 assists per game. Considering how the last 13 seasons in the Big 12 have concluded, it is difficult to envision any team other than Kansas taking home the conference title. Still, the presence of Young makes the Sooners a legitimate contender for the league crown. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty analysis is after the jump…

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

  • Villanova is now the unanimous #1 team. The Wildcats were dominant in their 20-point Big 5 win at Temple on Wednesday to move to 11-0 on the season. Villanova has emerged as the most complete team in college basketball to date with five players averaging double-figures each night. Junior point guard Jalen Brunson continues to look like the one of the best point guards in the country and junior swingman Mikal Bridges has developed into a premier second option. The Wildcats return to the court on Friday when they will play Hofstra in Uniondale, New York — an interesting sidenote about that match-up is that Villanova head coach Jay Wright cut his teeth at Hofstra from 1994-2001.
  • #8 Kentucky continues to grow. The young Wildcats experienced some of the early season bumps that often come with having such a youthful roster. They struggled at the point guard position, took a lot of poor shots and went through long stretches of defensive futility. Over the weekend, John Calipari‘s squad showed, however, that it could work through its struggles and overcome some adversity in a 93-86 comeback win over a solid Virginia Tech team. The freshmen trio of Quade Green, Hamidou Diallo and Kevin Knox combined for 58 points with all three players making winning plays down the stretch. While it would be unwise to conclude Kentucky has it all figured it out six weeks into the season, it has to be encouraging for the Wildcat faithful to see their team showing clear signs of growth.

Game of the Week. #8 Kentucky vs. UCLA. In another thin week of action because of the holiday break, a match-up of last season’s Sweet Sixteen game is probably the highlight of the slate. While each team’s roster is vastly different than they were last March in Memphis, it is always worth tuning in to view a battle between two of college basketball’s most renowned programs. The most interesting item to keep an eye on here will be how Kentucky’s young interior matches up with UCLA big man Thomas Welsh. The Bruins’ veteran forward is averaging a double-double and has the ability to step out on the floor with range. If Welsh gets going early, the Kentucky frontcourt could be in for a long afternoon.

Keep Tabs On. #16 Arizona vs. Connecticut; #13 Oklahoma vs. Northwestern; #11 Xavier vs. Northern Iowa; #7 North Carolina vs. Ohio State.

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

WCarey (318 Posts)

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