2018-19 RTC16: Week Fifteen

Posted by Walker Carey on March 4th, 2019

The final week of the regular season always presents a great deal of intrigue when it comes to crowning regular season conference champions. This year, races in the ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten and SEC are all still up in the air, and the action this week will determine which teams will finish atop each league. The ACC has #2 Virginia, #3 Duke, and #4 North Carolina fighting for the top spot. Marquette and Villanova are battling it out in the Big East. The Big 12 race consists of #7 Texas Tech and Kansas State trying to hold off #14 Kansas, as the Jayhawks look to take home a share of their 15th consecutive league title. The Big Ten will see #11 Purdue trying to survive road games at Minnesota and Northwestern to fend off #8 Michigan and #9 Michigan State. The fight for the SEC crown has #6 Kentucky looking to catch both #5 Tennessee and #9 LSU. It is going to be an incredibly intriguing week of college basketball because there is action each night that will play an important role in establishing which teams will become the top dog of their conference. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

  • Gonzaga remains at #1 after finishing a perfect run through the WCC. The Bulldogs completed their perfect WCC season with an easy 20-point win at Pacific and a comfortable 14-point victory at Saint Mary’s. Mark Few‘s squad will be the strong favorite in the upcoming WCC Tournament, as it would be surprising to see a team that has not lost in conference play all season become susceptible once the postseason begins. But, then again, it is not called “March Madness” for nothing. Should Gonzaga emerge victorious in the league tournament, a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the third time in the last seven years is all but guaranteed.
  • #7 Texas Tech remains on a roll. After Texas Tech suffered a blowout loss at Kansas on February 2, the Red Raiders were just 5-4 in Big 12 play and appeared unlikely they would be a significant factor in the conference race. Since that setback in Lawrence, though, Chris Beard‘s squad has rolled off seven straight victories and enters the final week of the regular season tied with Kansas State atop the Big 12 standings. While tonight’s home game versus Texas and Saturday’s trip to Iowa State are no walk in the park, neither appear as daunting as they were a few weeks ago — and when you consider the hot streak Texas Tech is currently on, it would be mildly surprising if the Red Raiders do not end the season with at least a share of the conference title.
  • #13 Florida State’s success continues to fly under the radar. It only makes sense that the same program that was an under the radar Elite Eight participant last year would once again have its success overlooked. While the Seminoles’ surprise NCAA Tournament run was largely overshadowed by Sister Jean and Loyola-Chicago’s run to the Final Four, this season’s success being overlooked has been the result of sharing a conference with #2 Virginia, #3 Duke and #4 North Carolina. Florida State enters the final week of the regular season with an impressive 23-6 mark, having lost only once since January 20. It is uncertain if the Seminoles have the overall talent and/or if they will get a favorable enough of a draw to make a return trip to the Elite Eight, but it would be a disservice to not acknowledge Florida State’s successful 2018-19 campaign.

Game of the Week. #3 Duke vs. #4 North Carolina. Arguably college basketball’s greatest rivalry will take center stage again on Saturday evening when Duke heads to Chapel Hill seeking revenge for its 88-72 loss in Durham last month. That game is obviously remembered for Duke freshman phenom Zion Williamson suffering a knee injury in the opening minute, but it must be noted that North Carolina took full advantage of Williamson’s absence with seniors Luke Maye and Cam Johnson combining for 56 points on an efficient 25-of-41 shooting. It is currently unknown if Williamson will return for this game, but either way the Blue Devils will need to turn in a much better defensive effort than they did in Durham if they want to repay the favor and win on North Carolina’s home court.

Keep Tabs On. #2 Virginia vs. Syracuse; #7 Texas Tech vs. Texas; #14 Kansas vs. Oklahoma; #13 Florida State vs. #16 Virginia Tech; #6 Kentucky vs. Ole Miss; #5 Tennessee vs. Mississippi State; #14 Kansas vs. Baylor; #5 Tennessee vs. Auburn; #7 Texas Tech vs. Iowa State; #8 Michigan vs. #9 Michigan State; #12 Houston vs. Cincinnati.

Conference Call: ACC (5), Big 12 (3), Big Ten (3), SEC (2), WCC (1), Mountain West (1), AAC (1).

WCarey (305 Posts)

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