The 2017-18 RTC16: Week Eight

Posted by Walker Carey on January 8th, 2018

This weekend in college basketball was defined by a number of major programs suffering surprise defeats on the road. To kick off Saturday’s loaded slate of games, #10 Xavier — which had not lost since late November — was upended at Providence. Later that day, #14 Arizona fell victim to the back half of its Pac-12 “mountain road trip” and dropped a surprising three-point loss at Colorado. In the nightcap, #5 Duke continued to display why there are lingering concerns about the team’s defensive performance in an 11-point loss at NC State. The conference chaos carried over to Sunday afternoon when Ohio State used a late first-half run to post a dominant performance in an 80-64 victory over #4 Michigan State. Conference play is now in full effect, so road losses should not surprise anyone. One reason why we all remain so enamored with this sport is because most teams can rise to the occasion in their friendly confines. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty analysis is after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

  • Villanova remains the #1 team. One week after Villanova suffered its lone defeat of the season at Butler, the Wildcats got back to their winning ways with a high-tempo 100-90 win over Marquette. It was certainly not a perfect game for Jay Wright’s squad, but considering the carnage that occurred throughout the RTC16 last week, you have to believe the Wildcats were thrilled to secure the victory. Big East play will rise a notch for Villanova this week, as it will host #10 Xavier in what at this point is the most anticipated Big East match-up of the season.
  • West Virginia rises to #2. West Virginia has now won 14 straight games since its season-opening loss to Texas A&M and it appears the Mountaineers are only getting stronger as the season progresses. Bob Huggins’ group now sits at 3-0 in Big 12 play after winning at Kansas State on Monday and holding freshman phenom Trae Young to his worst collegiate game in a convincing weekend victory over #9 Oklahoma. The Mountaineers have a mammoth week ahead of them, however, as they host an always dangerous Baylor squad Tuesday before traveling to Lubbock to take on #7 Texas Tech on Saturday.
  • #7 Texas Tech was the team of the week. Any questions about Texas Tech’s viability as a legitimate Big 12 contender were answered last week as the Red Raiders turned in a pair of very impressive performances. Things started with a massive bang on Tuesday when they went into Allen Fieldhouse and overwhelmed #12 Kansas throughout an 85-73 triumph. Texas Tech then showed that victory was not just a flash in the pan, as Chris Beard’s team dominated a solid Kansas State team over the weekend in Lubbock. The Red Raiders will have an opportunity to raise even more eyebrows this week, as they travel to #9 Oklahoma on Tuesday prior to hosting #2 West Virginia on Saturday.

Poll Defenses.

  • “I think it’s very close with West Virginia and Villanova. I think the Mountaineers’ big wins (Virginia and Oklahoma) are more impressive than Villanova’s. Plus, West Virginia’s only loss was in Germany in its first game of the season… it seems like WVU has really figured things out. I also love its depth, which is something Villanova lacks. Players like James Bolden and Teddy Allen can score off the bench, and Esa Ahmad returns from suspension this week.” – RTC16 pollster Mick McDonald, commenting on his decision to rank West Virginia #1.
  • “When it comes to placing Purdue two spots above Virginia, I felt Purdue’s wins against Arizona, Louisville and Butler add up to a more impressive resume at the top than Virginia. While the losses against Tennessee and Western Kentucky are “worse losses” than that of Virginia’s to West Virginia, both came on a neutral court. While I see little difference between Purdue and Virginia, the difference to me simply came down to the better wins.” – RTC16 pollster Matt Eisenberg, defending his decision to rank Purdue two spots ahead of Virginia.

Game of the Week. #2 West Virginia vs. #7 Texas Tech. This week’s premier game will come on Saturday when the Mountaineers travel to Lubbock to battle the upstart Red Raiders. Both squads have already proven that they are among the class of the Big 12 and can make noise nationally. Since both teams are currently unbeaten through three games of conference play, the team that comes out on top this weekend will have an early leg up in the Big 12 race. The individual match-up to keep an eye on here will be between Mountaineers guard Jevon Carter and Red Raiders guard Keenan Evans. If Carter can provide the same defensive pressure he blanketed on Oklahoma’s Trae Young last Saturday, Texas Tech could be in for a very frustrating 40 minutes of basketball.

Keep Tabs On. #2 West Virginia vs. Baylor; #7 Texas Tech vs. #9 Oklahoma; #6 Purdue vs. Michigan; #11 Seton Hall vs. Marquette; #1 Villanova vs. #10 Xavier; #4 Michigan State vs. Michigan; #9 Oklahoma vs. TCU; #16 Clemson vs. Miami (FL).

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

WCarey (274 Posts)

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