The 2017-18 RTC16: Week Nine

Posted by Walker Carey on January 15th, 2018

It has reached that point in the college basketball season where you can identify teams that are playing below expectations. #9 Michigan State currently fits that bill. The Spartans possessed a great deal of preseason hype – and with good reason. They returned preseason All-America sophomore forward Miles Bridges, are coached by Hall-of-Famer Tom Izzo, and looked more than capable of easily dominating what was projected to be a down Big 10. Michigan State first began showing cracks in its foundation when it was dismantled at Ohio State last Sunday. The Spartans certainly did not right the ship this past week, as it had to survive a scrappy Rutgers team in a home overtime win on Wednesday before being outplayed throughout a 10-point home loss to rival Michigan on Saturday. There is certainly time for Michigan State to figure it out and once again look like the class of the Big Ten, but if that does not happen in relatively short order, it is going to be quite the climb for the Spartans to take home the regular season conference title. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty analysis is after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

  • Villanova is now the unanimous #1 team. The Wildcats continued to distinguish themselves as the best team in the country by earning two more Big East wins. They thoroughly annihilated visiting #11 Xavier on Wednesday before gutting out a seven-point victory at St. John’s on Saturday. Villanova will have to continue getting it done of the road this week as it travels to Georgetown on Wednesday before journeying to Connecticut on Saturday for an old Big East showdown. The Wildcats will likely be comfortable favorites in both games, but winning three straight on the road is a difficult ask for any team.
  • #3 Purdue is acquitting itself as the Big Ten’s best team. Purdue moved its win streak to 13 games this past week with a pair of impressive road victories. The Boilermakers survived a raucous road environment and a valiant effort from Michigan in a one-point victory over the Wolverines on Tuesday. Matt Painter’s squad then went to Minnesota on Saturday and annihilated the Golden Gophers throughout a 34-point win. Purdue will look to up its win streak to 15 games this week with very winnable games versus Wisconsin on Tuesday and at Iowa on Saturday.
  • #13 Gonzaga has found its groove. There were some questions about Gonzaga’s long-term prospects for the season after it lost to San Diego State last month. The Bulldogs have answered many of those questions, as they are off to a blazing hot start in the WCC. They sit at 6-0 in league play and have won each game by at least 10 points. Mark Few’s group will have its toughest test of its conference slate thus far Thursday when it hosts fellow WCC unbeaten Saint Mary’s. The Bulldogs and Gaels have played many classics throughout the last several years, so it is fair to say Thursday night should be appointment television for all college basketball fans.

Game of the Week. #4 West Virginia vs. #10 Kansas. Monday night’s showdown in Morgantown between the Jayhawks and Mountaineers will have major implications on the early Big 12 race. Both teams currently have one conference loss and a victory here will allow the victor to keep pace with #5 Texas Tech and #6 Oklahoma in the league standings. The trip to Morgantown will be a tough task for Kansas, as it has lost in its last four trips to the Mountain State. The individual match-up to watch in this one will be between Kansas senior guard Devonte’ Graham and West Virginia senior guard Jevon Carter. If Graham does not get the better of that match-up, it is difficult to envision a scenario where Kansas leaves with a win.

Keep Tabs On. #7 Duke vs. Miami (FL); #15 Clemson vs. #16 North Carolina; #5 Texas Tech vs. Texas; #13 Gonzaga vs. Saint Mary’s; #11 Xavier vs. Seton Hall.

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

WCarey (279 Posts)

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