2019-20 RTC16: Week Four

Posted by Walker Carey on December 10th, 2019

Around this time in the calendar every season, a team grabs national attention for, not just piling up wins, but piling up those wins in a demonstrative manner. That team in this season is #2 Ohio State. The Buckeyes are now 9-0 after a 25-point win at North Carolina and a 32-point win over Penn State in its Big Ten opener. Since an eight-point win over Cincinnati in the first game of the year, Ohio State has won every one of its contests by at least 19 points. The most remarkable aspect of Chris Holtmann‘s group is how balanced it is, with six different players averaging at least eight points per game — led by junior big man Kaleb Wesson at 14.1 PPG and sophomore guard Duane Washington Jr. at 11.4 PPG. The Buckeyes got off to a 12-1 start last season before fading down the stretch and needing a win in the Big Ten Tournament to comfortably earn an NCAA Tournament bid, so their hot start this season is not unprecedented. Having said that, there has been nothing about this season’s Ohio State team that suggests that another swoon in conference play is coming. The Buckeyes have established themselves as a terrific team that should be one everyone’s radars as a legitimate national title contender. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

  • Louisville rides its defense to remain at #1. Louisville moved to 9-0 last week with suffocating defensive performances in victories over #5 Michigan and Pittsburgh. In the win over the Wolverines, the Cardinals held their dynamic offense to just 43 points on 25.9 percent shooting. That effort was made even more impressive by the fact that, in its very next game, Michigan totaled 103 points while shooting 55.2 percent from the field. In an ACC that has had a reputation recently for being an offensive league, Chris Mack’s group should be able to distinguish itself from the pack with its impactful defense. In what should be an interesting game Tuesday night at the Jimmy V Classic, Louisville will face a Texas Tech team that also earns its bones on the defensive end of the floor. You should probably take the under in that one.
  • #12 Auburn remains unbeaten. The Tigers were expected to take a step back this season after losing Bryce Brown, Jared Harper and Chuma Okeke from last season’s Final Four team. That has not been the case, however, as Auburn is now 8-0 after surviving an upset bid from Furman last Thursday. Bruce Pearl has been able to offset the aforementioned departures with veteran players such as guard Samir Doughty and forwards Danjel Purifoy and Austin Wiley elevating their play, and freshman forward Isaac Okoro seamlessly adapting to the college game. It remains to be seen if the Tigers will be serious contenders to get back to the Final Four this season in Atlanta, but the likelihood seems to increase with each win.
  • #13 Butler continues to impress. Losing seasons are few and far between for the Butler program, so when one comes around like last season’s 16-17 campaign, it is only a matter of time before the ship is righted and the Bulldogs are once again competing for an NCAA Tournament bid. That is certainly the case with this year’s squad, as Butler is now 9-0 following Saturday’s 14-point win over Florida. Lavall Jordan‘s squad is remarkably balanced, but there is no question that senior guard Kamar Baldwin is what makes the Bulldogs go. Baldwin leads the team in scoring, ranks second on the team in assists, and is the go-to guy when it needs a basket – such as when he buried the game-winning shot with eight seconds to play in Butler’s 68-67 victory over Stanford on November 26.

Game of the Week. #6 Gonzaga vs. #15 Arizona. The Pac-12’s recent struggles have resulted in the West Coast in general being unfairly viewed as a haven for mediocre basketball. Saturday night’s match-up between the Bulldogs and Wildcats should certainly assist in altering that view. While Nico Mannion gives Arizona the backcourt advantage, the key to this game will be if the Wildcats are able to contain Gonzaga’s interior duo of Fillip Petrusev and Killian Tillie. How the two Bulldogs forwards produce will go a long way in determining who leaves the floor with what will go down as a strong NCAA Tournament résumé win.

Keep Tabs On. #1 Louisville vs. Texas Tech; #11 Baylor vs. #13 Butler; #5 Michigan vs. #14 Oregon; #16 Tennessee vs. Memphis; #12 Auburn vs. Saint Louis.

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

WCarey (318 Posts)

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