The 2017-18 RTC16: Week Eleven

Posted by Walker Carey on January 29th, 2018

It has become that time in the college basketball season when certain teams earn victories that indicate they will be a force to be reckoned with as the postseason nears. #2 Virginia scored one of the most impressive wins of the season on Saturday when the Cavaliers left Cameron Indoor Stadium with a 65-63 triumph over #5 Duke. Tony Bennett‘s squad is now 20-1 overall (9-0 ACC) with its lone loss coming on the road to #16 West Virginia in early December. In looking at the remainder of Virginia’s schedule, an argument can be made that the Cavaliers will be favored in each of their remaining games — is an 18-0 conference season in play? #10 Auburn continued to show its surprising season of success is not some kind of mirage, as the Tigers grabbed two dominant SEC wins over Missouri and LSU last week. Bruce Pearl‘s team is one of the best stories of this college basketball season, and all indicators suggest that Auburn will not trail off over the final portion of the regular season. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty analysis is after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

  • Villanova remains the #1 team. Despite Virginia gaining a few first place votes since last week’s RTC16, Villanova is once again the top-ranked team in our poll. The Wildcats moved to 20-1 overall with a dominant home victory over Providence on Wednesday and a hard fought triumph at Marquette on Sunday. Villanova will face a pair of tough home tests this week, as it hosts Creighton on Thursday and Seton Hall on Sunday. The loss of Phil Booth to injury has not yet negatively impacted the Wildcats, but it is certainly something to track with both Creighton and Seton Hall having dynamic backcourts that can create issues.
  • #3 Purdue continues to impress. The Boilermakers increased their winning streak to 17 games last week with a pair of exhilarating Big Ten victories. Purdue used a 62 percent shooting effort on Thursday to hold off a very good Michigan offense in a four-point victory, and Matt Painter’s squad stayed on the winning track Sunday in overcoming Indiana in a road rivalry game on the shoulders of a 26-point performance from senior big man Isaac Haas. Purdue will look to move its winning streak to 19 games at home Wednesday versus Maryland and at Rutgers on Saturday.
  • #16 West Virginia is in a bit of a tailspin. The Mountaineers appeared to be one of the top teams in the country just a couple weeks ago. Things have change quite drastically since then, though, as West Virginia has now lost three of its last four games — the most shocking of which came Saturday in its SEC/Big 12 Challenge showdown with Kentucky. The Mountaineers were unable to keep a 15-point halftime lead, as Wildcats freshman forward Kevin Knox went for 34 points in a stunning 83-76 comeback victory. West Virginia has a chance to right the ship this week with a pair of winnable games, as it travels to unranked Iowa State on Wednesday before hosting Kansas State on Saturday.

Game of the Week. #6 Kansas vs. Kansas State. In a relatively light week of contests between ranked teams, the game of the week to watch will be tonight between the two Sunflower State rivals. There have been several epic games over the years in this rivalry and the atmosphere at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan should be electric. The individual match-up to keep an eye on here will be between Jayhawks’ big man Udoka Azubuike and Wildcats’ big man Dean Wade. Kansas will likely need Azubuike to avoid foul trouble if it wants to leave town with a victory.

Keep Tabs On. #15 Ohio State vs. Indiana; #14 Oklahoma vs. Baylor; #2 Virginia vs. Louisville; #3 Purdue vs. Maryland; #11 Texas Tech vs. Texas; #1 Villanova vs. Creighton; #11 Texas Tech vs. TCU; #8 Arizona vs. Washington; #1 Villanova vs. Seton Hall.

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

WCarey (279 Posts)

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