The 2017-18 RTC 16: Week Six

Posted by Walker Carey on December 26th, 2017

What originally appeared to be a light week of college basketball ended up bringing about some unexpected results. The most stunning result occurred on Wednesday when #14 North Carolina was knocked off at home by Wofford. What made this upset so surprising was that the Terriers held a one-point halftime lead but never again relinquished the upper hand en route to 79-75 victory. Former RTC16 mainstay Miami (FL) also experienced a perplexing defeat, as it suffered its first loss of the season in ugly fashion to New Mexico State at the Diamond Head Classic. The Hurricanes were let down by their offense in the loss, as they shot just 34 percent from the field and sported a ghastly 4-to-14 assist-to-turnover ratio. As this past week showed, college basketball will always find a way to surprise no matter how uninteresting the schedule may at first appear. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty analysis is after the jump…

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

  • Villanova remains the unanimous #1 team. The Wildcats remain the top team in the RTC16 this week after moving to 12-0 with an easy 95-71 victory over Hofstra. Villanova appears to be the best team in the country at this point of the season, but Jay Wright‘s squad will be tested early in Big East play as the Wildcats open with road trips to DePaul on Wednesday and Butler on Saturday. They figure to be a healthy favorites in both games, but it is of course a well-established maxim how difficult it is to win on the road in league play. Can Villanova remain unscathed and stay on top of the RTC16?
  • #3 Duke has recovered from its lone defeat. One of the more surprising results of the season thus far was when #1 Duke was stunned at Boston College three weeks ago. That loss resulted in plenty of questions about Duke’s struggles with perimeter shooting and consistent defense. After an 11-day layoff following that loss, Duke returned to the hardwood with a vengeance last Wednesday in a dominant 104-40 win over Evansville. While the Blue Devils’ competition clearly was not great, they may have begun to answer some of those lingering questions. Duke shot an incredible 16-of-26 from three-point range and held the Purple Aces to just 30 percent shooting on the other end. Duke will have another chance to showcase its holiday season improvement on Saturday when it continues ACC play with a home showdown against a formidable Florida State team.
  • #13 TCU remains unbeaten. Jamie Dixon‘s undefeated Horned Frogs are one of the best early stories of the college basketball season. TCU has not been to the NCAA Tournament since 1998 and it enters rugged Big 12 play with an unscathed record. It should not matter that its non-conference schedule was on the easier side, because if it was so simple to hit Christmas week unbeaten, more than three teams would possess a flawless mark. Conference play is going to get serious for the Horned Frogs in a hurry, though, as they open their Big 12 slate with a home game against #6 Oklahoma and its freshman phenom Trae Young.

Game of the Week. #3 Arizona State vs. #15 Arizona. It is not outside the realm of possibility that the match-up of the year in the Pac-12 will take place this weekend when the undefeated Sun Devils travel to Tucson to take on their intrastate rival. Arizona State has been an offensive juggernaut all season long, and its win at Kansas earlier this month showed it has the ability to compete and win in a hostile environment. Arizona started the season in disastrous finish with a last place finish at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, but the Wildcats have recovered quite well since then and have not lost again. The individual match-up to keep an eye on in this game will be how Bobby Hurley schemes to contain Arizona star freshman big man DeAndre Ayton. If the Sun Devils are unable to handle the freshman big man, there is a good chance they will return to Tempe with their first defeat of the season.

Keep Tabs On. #8 Xavier vs. Marquette; #12 Kansas vs. Texas; #16 Kentucky vs. Louisville; #3 Duke vs. Florida State; #6 Oklahoma vs. #13 TCU; #1 Villanova vs. Butler.

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

WCarey (279 Posts)

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