The 2017-18 RTC16: Week Thirteen

Posted by Walker Carey on February 12th, 2018

Prior to this week, one of the consistencies of this college basketball season has been #1 Villanova, #2 Virginia and #6 Purdue generally avoiding clunker performances. For a sport that is basically defined by its upheaval on a weekly basis, the Wildcats, Cavaliers and Boilermakers had emerged as the surest things this season. That all came to a crashing halt last week as each team suffered at least one surprising defeat. Villanova’s nine-game winning streak come to a stunning end on Wednesday when the Wildcats were shocked at home by a winless Big East St. John’s squad. Jay Wright’s team recovered from the shocking loss over the weekend in overcoming a sloppy start to dispatch Butler. Purdue also was bit by the home upset bug on Wednesday, blowing a 14-point second half lead to fall by one point to #8 Ohio State. The Boilermakers continued their descent over the weekend, as #3 Michigan State used a late Miles Bridges three-pointer to hand Purdue its second loss of the week. Virginia’s lengthy winning streak also came to an end on Saturday, as it was surprised by Virginia Tech in a one-point overtime loss. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty analysis is after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

  • Despite the loss, Villanova remains at #1. The Wildcats remain at the top of the RTC16 despite its shocking loss to St. John’s. An 11-point home victory over Butler on Saturday helped settle any nerves that the pollsters might have had about the Wildcats. It is rare that a team can suffer a loss to a team of St. John’s caliber and not fall in the poll, but that goes to show the unpredictability that has defined this college basketball season. If Villanova is still in the top spot next week, it will have earned it, as the Wildcats have a tricky road game at Providence on Wednesday before traveling to #4 Xavier on Saturday for what appears like it will be the Big East game of the year.
  • #9 Gonzaga is once again in the Top 10. Given the losses of Nigel Williams-Goss, Zach Collins and Przemek Karnowski from last year’s national runner-up team, it would have been reasonable to assume Gonzaga was going to take a step back this season. That has certainly not been the case, though, as the Bulldogs are now 23-4 and once again illustrated they are a force to be reckoned with in Saturday’s authoritative 78-65 win at Saint Mary’s. The most impressive aspect of the victory was in holding Gaels’ star forward Jock Landale to just four points in 36 minutes of action. Gonzaga is certainly a team to keep an eye on as the postseason nears.

Poll Defense.

  • “My view is that you always do the rankings based on full body of work more so than just recent results. As for Purdue, it just lost two one-possession games to top-11 KenPom teams. That does not change my opinion of the Boilermakers. Other top teams just lost home games to schools worse than Ohio State and probably no one would be favored to win in East Lansing either.” – pollster Brad Jenkins, explaining his decision to rank Purdue fourth despite its two losses this week.

Game of the Week. #1 Villanova vs. #4 Xavier. The game of the year in the Big East will take place on Saturday in Cincinnati when the Musketeers will host top-ranked Villanova. Xavier will have revenge on its mind, as it was thoroughly dominated in a 24-point loss to the Wildcats last month. If the Musketeers want to reverse course and earn the big victory, they are going to need to get better performances from seniors Trevon Bluiett and J.P. Macura –the two stars combined to score only 16 points on 6-of-21 shooting in the blowout defeat. Another item to watch in this game will be the availability of Villanova guard Phil Booth and forward Eric Paschall. Booth has been sidelined since January 24 with a broken hand while Paschall has missed Villanova’s last two games with a concussion.

Keep Tabs On. #14 Kansas vs. Iowa State; #7 Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma; #2 Virginia vs. Miami (FL); #1 Villanova vs. Providence; #9 Duke vs. Virginia Tech; #4 Xavier vs. Seton Hall; #12 Clemson vs. Florida State; #11 Auburn vs. Kentucky; #5 Cincinnati vs. Houston; #14 Kansas vs. West Virginia; #12 North Carolina vs. Louisville; #9 Duke vs. Clemson; #8 Ohio State vs. Michigan; #5 Cincinnati vs. Wichita State.

Conference Call. ACC (4), Big Ten (3), Big East (2), Big 12 (2), SEC (2), WCC (1), AAC (1), Atlantic 10 (1).

WCarey (299 Posts)

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