The 2019-20 RTC16: Week Two

Posted by Walker Carey on November 25th, 2019

It is not uncommon for teams breaking in new pieces to experience some peaks and valleys early in the season, but that does not appear to be the case thus far for #2 Duke and #6 Virginia. The mostly new-look Blue Devils rode a star in the making turn from freshman big man Vernon Carey Jr. to throttle California and survive an inspired effort from Georgetown at the 2K Empire Classic at Madison Square Garden this weekend. Carey was far and away Duke’s best player, contributing averages of 25.5 points and 11.0 rebounds to the winning efforts. With most of the scoring production from last season’s national championship squad now gone, Virginia has relied on its famous defensive intensity in its 6-0 start. The Cavaliers suffocated Massachusetts on Saturday en route to a 58-46 win, and then brought that vigor up another another level Sunday when they held Arizona State to just seven points over the final 11:33 in a plodding 48-45 victory. While Virginia’s offense still needs some work, it did receive a noteworthy contribution from freshman guard Casey Morsell, who tallied 19 points against the Sun Devils. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

Louisville remains #1. The Cardinals are still in the top spot in the RTC16 after moving to 6-0 with victories over South Carolina Upstate and Akron last week. Junior forward Jordan Nwora has continued to show he is a legitimate All-America candidate with averages of 21.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Chris Mack‘s squad has also received winning contributions from veteran role players Ryan McMahon, Steven Enoch and Dwayne Sutton. While the Cardinals’ competition to date has not been excellent, Louisville has done what really good teams should do — and that is take care of its business without much consternation. The road will eventually get much tougher ahead, but it is difficult to be negative about anything this team has so far shown this season.

#11 Texas Tech is rebuilt and looks once again to be a juggernaut. Chris Beard surprised many observers nationally when he took last season’s Red Raiders to both the Big 12 title and a national runner-up performance. It would have been expected for this season’s squad to take a step back with the departures of Jarrett Culver, Matt Mooney and Tariq Owens, but so far Texas Tech has shown that it will once again be a factor on the national level. The Red Raiders are 5-0 and have been driven by the emergence of star freshman Jah’mius Ramsey to go with returning guards Davide Moretti and Kyler Edwards and graduate transfer forward TJ Holyfield. There is obviously still a long way to go, but Texas Tech is definitely showing numerous signs that last season’s success was not just a flash in the pan.

#13 Arizona is back in the nation’s upper tier. Arizona failed to make the NCAA Tournament last season for the first time since 2012 — that, coupled with the uncertainty that has surrounded Sean Miller and his program since former assistant Book Richardson was arrested in 2017 as part of the FBI’s investigation into college basketball, led many to believe the Wildcats could continue to struggle. That has not been the case thus far this season, as Arizona currently sits at 6-0 and has cemented itself as one of the most entertaining teams in the country. Standout freshmen Zeke Nnaji and Nico Mannion have wasted no time in establishing themselves among the most complete duos in the country, and although NCAA Tournament bids are not handed out in November, everything the Wildcats have shown indicates they will definitely receive one come March.

Game(s) of the Week. The Maui Invitational. While all of Feast Week is terrific, you should pay special attention to an event that features both #3 Michigan State and #5 Kansas. The Spartans and Jayhawks appear to be on a collision course to meet in Wednesday’s championship game (Cassius Winston vs. Devon Dotson would be appointment television), but fellow participants Georgia, Dayton, Virginia Tech, BYU and UCLA will look to spoil that dream match-up. Keep an eye on Georgia and Dayton especially, as Bulldogs freshman guard Anthony Edwards and Flyers swingman Obi Toppin are as talented as any player in the field.

Keep Tabs On. Battle 4 Atlantis (featuring #4 North Carolina, #8 Gonzaga, #11 Oregon, and #13 Seton Hall); Orlando Invitational (featuring #9 Maryland); Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational (featuring #11 Texas Tech); Wooden Legacy (featuring #13 Arizona); Emerald Coast Classic (featuring #15 Tennessee and #16 VCU).

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

WCarey (318 Posts)

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