The 2017-18 RTC16: FINAL

Posted by Walker Carey on March 5th, 2018

The Big Ten deciding to host its conference tournament to New York City was widely derided, but after a week filled with mostly thrilling games and a surprise team emerging to take home the title, many are now wondering what it will take to have the tournament there again. By winning four games in four days, #8 Michigan took home the Big Ten hardware on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. The Wolverines are playing their best basketball of the season right now (unbeaten since February 6), and their keen ability to score points in bunches and get after teams defensively should make John Beilein‘s team a popular pick to reach the Final Four later this month. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty analysis is after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

  • Virginia closes the regular season as the RTC 16’s unanimous #1 team. The Cavaliers certainly earned the top spot this week after winning at Louisville in truly stunning fashion and fighting off a feisty Notre Dame squad at home on Saturday. Virginia finished the regular season with an overall 28-2 record and another outright ACC title — its third in the last five seasons. The Cavaliers will be the top seed in this week’s ACC Tournament in Brooklyn, and while cases can be made for other teams such as #4 Duke and #10 North Carolina as the tournament favorites, it would be unwise to discount Virginia’s chances to keep things rolling.
  • #3 Xavier is the outright Big East regular season champion. For the first time since the new Big East was formed prior to the 2013-14 season, a team other than Villanova took home the outright regular season Big East crown. While Xavier fell in both of its games against the Wildcats this season, the Musketeers won the crown by taking care of business against most everyone else. Chris Mack‘s squad finished an incredible 15-1 in league play against non-Villanova opponents. It will be interesting to see how Xavier performs as the top seed in this week’s Big East Tournament and if it will be able to conquer its Villanova bugaboo should the two should meet again in the title game.
  • #14 Arizona had quite the week. No team has experienced more off-court drama this season than Sean Miller‘s Wildcats. Just five days after being named in an ESPN report detailing an alleged discussion of a $100,000 payment to secure the services of star freshman DeAndre Ayton, the Arizona head coach held a press conference to vehemently deny the report and reiterate that he will be vindicated. Miller also announced he will continue coaching his team after sitting out the team’s February 24 loss at Oregon. Later on Thursday, guard Allonzo Trier won his NCAA appeal and was declared eligible to play following an ineligibility ruling earlier in the week from a failed PED test. It should also be noted that the Wildcats won both their games this week and clinched the regular season Pac-12 title. Arizona has to be hoping all these issues have been addressed and mitigated because distractions typically don’t play very well in the postseason.

Game(s) of the Week. The Big 12 Tournament. While top seed #7 Kansas won the regular season Big 12 title (again) by two games, the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City still figures to be the most volatile of any of the major conference tournaments. The overall strength of the league has been a hot discussion topic all season long, and it is clearly reflected in ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi’s latest update, with eight of the 10 teams currently projected to make the field and a ninth residing in the “First Four Out” category. This week’s action from the Sprint Center should be appointment viewing for college basketball fans, and while it is a bit cliche to say it is anyone’s tournament, the Big 12 Tournament really is anyone’s tournament this season.

Keep Tabs On. A good rule of thumb for Championship Week is if college basketball is on your television, you should be watching it.

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

WCarey (299 Posts)

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