2019-20 RTC16: Week Six

Posted by Walker Carey on December 23rd, 2019

Another week of the season has been completed and another #1 team fell victim to an upset. Like Michigan State, Kentucky, Duke and Louisville before it, #4 Kansas had a rather short stay in the top spot of the RTC16. The Jayhawks saw their nine-game winning streak end on Saturday with a one-point loss at #12 Villanova. Following the defeat, Kansas coach Bill Self hypothesized that the parity we are seeing this season is because he believes there are not as many good players as there used to be in the sport. He referenced his own team as an example, noting that star forward Dedric Lawson left Kansas after last season with eligibility remaining. Self’s argument has merit, as the 2019 NBA Draft had 175 early entries while the 2018 NBA Draft had 181, but it does seem premature to conclude that this season will not see a dominant team emerge once conference play fully begins. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

  • Gonzaga is the new #1. Being the top team in the RTC16 has been the kiss of death so far this season, but someone has to fill that spot — and this week that distinction belongs to Gonzaga. The Bulldogs moved to 13-1 with comfortable home victories over North Carolina and Eastern Washington last week. Mark Few‘s club has now won five straight — including a pair of good road wins over Washington and Arizona. Gonzaga has been carried this season by its trio of interior players – Filip Petrusev, Killian Tillie, and Corey Kispert — but its backcourt of Texas A&M graduate transfer Admon Gilder and North Texas graduate transfer Ryan Woolridge has shown an ability to get to the basket and make shots from the perimeter. The West Coast Conference does not provide the strongest competition for the Zags, so it is logical to assume the Bulldogs will remain near the top spot of the RTC16 for the remainder of the regular season.
  • #10 San Diego State keeps winning. The Aztecs moved their record to a perfect 12-0 on Saturday with a 28-point domination of a Utah team that was fresh off an upset victory over Kentucky. Brian Dutcher’s squad is one of the three remaining unbeaten teams in college basketball – along with #7 Auburn and Liberty — and has solidified itself as the team to beat when Mountain West play begins in early January. San Diego State has also taken advantage of college basketball’s transfer movement, as its two leading scorers — guard Malachi Flynn and forward Yanni Wetzell — transferred to the program after beginning their careers at Washington State and Vanderbilt, respectively. Along with Flynn and Wetzell, the Aztecs have seen veteran guards Matt Mitchell and Jordan Schakel put together what have thus far been the most productive seasons of their collegiate careers. San Diego State is for real and has established itself as a team no one wants to see in March.
  • #13 Memphis takes a hit with James Wiseman withdrawing from the program. The James Wiseman saga took a final turn on Thursday with the talented big man deciding to withdraw from Memphis and begin preparing for the NBA Draft. The prized freshman finished his collegiate career playing in just three games for the Tigers before an NCAA suspension sidelined him for the balance of what was a brief stay in Penny Hardaway‘s program. All is not lost without Wiseman, though, as Memphis is currently 10-1 and still has a talented roster led by productive freshmen Precious Achiuwa and D.J. Jeffries. The Tigers will remain a team to watch throughout the remainder of the regular season and into the postseason, but it is fair to say their season will be defined by what could have been with Wiseman in tow for the entire campaign.

Game of the Week. #5 Louisville vs. Kentucky. One of college basketball’s best rivalries resumes Saturday in Lexington with Louisville visiting Rupp Arena to take on the reeling Wildcats. A major reason for Kentucky’s recent struggles has been its inability to make perimeter shots. The Wildcats are currently shooting a ghastly 27.8 percent from three on the season — a conversion rate that is good for only 323rd in the country. The visiting Cardinals are a strong defensive unit (currently second in defensive efficiency at KenPom), so Kentucky getting good looks from the perimeter will likely be a tall task. A key to this game will be for the Wildcats to take advantage of those few chances in an effort to offset Louisville star forward Jordan Nwora, who will certainly present a match-up nightmare for the home team.

Keep Tabs On. #2 Ohio State vs. West Virginia and #4 Kansas vs. Stanford.

Conference Call. Big Ten (4), ACC (2), SEC (2), Big 12 (2), Pac-12 (1), AAC (1), Atlantic 10 (1), Big East (1), Mountain West (1), WCC (1).

WCarey (318 Posts)

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