2018-19 RTC16: Week Five

Posted by Walker Carey on December 26th, 2018

Winning close game after close game is a trend that we know eventually catches up to a team. The most recent example of such a thing took place Saturday night in Tempe when previously unbeaten #5 Kansas blew an eight-point halftime lead in an 80-76 upset loss to Arizona State. The Jayhawks entered the game at an uncomfortable 10-0, with six of the 10 wins coming by single digits and two in overtime. Bill Self‘s group had been playing with fire all season, and the winning plays down the stretch that had previously bailed his team out never arrived. A single loss will certainly not derail any of Kansas’ hopes for the rest of the season, but it should serve as a bit of a wake-up call. Yes, Udoka Azubuike is still sidelined with a knee injury, but with Big 12 play rapidly approaching, it would be wise for the Jayhawks to put forth more consistent full game efforts if they do not want the losses to become more frequent. This week’s Quick N’Dirty after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Thoughts.

  • Duke is the new #1. The Blue Devils have won six straight games to move their record to a robust 11-1. Thursday’s neutral site win over #9 Texas Tech saw Duke overcome a second half deficit with its defense picking up several key stops en route to a 69-58 victory. Duke now has a much deserved break in its schedule, as it is off until ACC play begins in earnest on January 5 against Clemson. Mike Krzyzewski’s team is already considered the most talented in college basketball, so it will be interesting to see if the added rest makes it an even more formidable outfit.
  • #10 Florida State continues to impress. The Seminoles brought their record to 11-1 this past week with dominant wins over Southeastern Missouri State, North Florida and Saint Louis. Much like last year’s Elite Eight squad, this Florida State team is defined by its depth and balance. Through 12 games, it has had six different high scorers led by senior guard Terance Mann and junior guard Trent Forrest. The Seminoles have a final non-conference tune-up against Winthrop on New Year’s Day before they open ACC play with the extremely arduous task of playing at #2 Virginia on January 5.
  • Mississippi State holds steady in the RTC16 at #14. The Bulldogs remain in the RTC16 after wins over Wofford and Wright State improved their overall record to 11-1. Mississippi State’s lone loss on the season was to Arizona State in a neutral site game way back on November 19, so it is pretty clear the Bulldogs have been playing good basketball for a majority of the season. Ben Howland‘s group will look to move to 12-1 on Saturday at home against BYU in its final non-conference game of the regular season.

Poll Defense.

“It is mostly about strength of schedule. Virginia’s best wins are at Maryland and Wisconsin on a neutral court. Michigan’s best win is either over North Carolina at home or at Villanova. Tennessee, Gonzaga, and Kansas all have better wins, all away from home, and their losses are all entirely reasonable. Just having a zero in the loss column doesn’t mean you should be ranked higher, especially when teams play such wildly different schedules.” – RTC pollster Mick McDonald

Conference Call: ACC (6), Big Ten (3), SEC (3), Big 12 (2), WCC (1), Mountain West (1).

WCarey (299 Posts)

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