2019-20 RTC16: Week Nine

Posted by Walker Carey on January 13th, 2020

Much of the narrative surrounding college basketball this season has been how any team can win on any night and how this uncertainty has allowed several non-traditional powers to become among the best in the country. #2 Baylor definitely fits the non-traditional mold, as the Bears are continuing to establish themselves as one of the nation’s top teams this season. The latest step happened Saturday afternoon when Scott Drew‘s squad went into Allen Fieldhouse and thoroughly dominated #7 Kansas throughout a 67-55 win. The Bears used incredible performances from guards Jared Butler and MaCio Teague to control the game and throw the Jayhawks completely off. The victory was Baylor’s first ever win in Lawrence, as the program had previously been 0-16 at Allen Fieldhouse. The Bears have now won 12 straight since a November 9 loss to Washington and, even before Saturday’s win, they had built quite an NCAA Tournament résumé with wins over #5 Butler, #14 Villanova, Arizona and Texas Tech. There is still a long way to go in Big 12 play, but Baylor’s 4-0 start in the league has already put itself in a solid position to earn the program’s first ever Big 12 regular season title. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis

  • Gonzaga remains at #1. It was a close call this week with co-#2 Baylor and Duke, but the Bulldogs stayed in the top spot of the RTC16 for yet another week. Gonzaga is now 18-1 after coasting to comfortable road wins over Portland and Loyola Marymount. Beating lower-tier WCC teams may not be the most impressive thing in the world, but what is impressive is how balanced Mark Few‘s group has become. Six different players are currently averaging double-figure points per game, and seven different players are currently averaging at least 1.5 assists per contest. The Bulldogs will get one of their only WCC tests this weekend when BYU visits Spokane on Saturday looking to pull the upset and spoil the chances of an undefeated conference season.
  • #5 Butler continues to be one of the country’s best stories. Following just a 16-17 overall record a season ago, Butler was picked to finish eighth in the Big East at the preseason conference media day. To the surprise of nearly everyone, the Bulldogs are now 15-1 and have not lost since a one-point defeat at #2 Baylor back on December 10. The senior high/low combination of guard Kamar Baldwin and forward Sean McDermott have led the way for LaVall Jordan‘s squad that has risen all the way to #4 at KenPom. This week should prove to be a challenge for the Bulldogs, as they host a red-hot Seton Hall squad on Wednesday before traveling to Chicago to take on a plucky DePaul team Saturday. Getting to 17-1 will not be easy, but considering how the season has gone thus far, it would be foolish to count out Butler’s chances.
  • #8 Florida State enters the top 10. Florida State was expected to take a step back in the ACC this season following the losses of several key contributors from last season’s Sweet Sixteen team, but Leonard Hamilton has once again used a deep bench and the roster’s size advantage to lead the Seminoles to a 14-2 start overall and a 4-1 start in league play. The guard trio of Trent Forrest, Devin Vassell and M.J. Walker have provided the team with enough offense to accompany a defense that is currently ranked 17th at KenPom. Next up for Florida State is a Wednesday night home game against Virginia, which seems much less daunting now than it likely seemed when the schedule was released.

Game of the Week. #2 Duke vs. #11 Louisville. The ACC is a bit of a mess this season with Virginia down, Syracuse down and North Carolina way down, but Saturday’s marquee match-up at Cameron Indoor Stadium should show that the league still has some national juice. The item to keep an eye on in this one will be how Duke defends Louisville star forward Jordan Nwora, who can hurt opponents from both the perimeter and in the post. Duke freshman Vernon Carey Jr. is a load inside, but the final result could be determined by how the Blue Devils defend Nwora when he tries to make plays from the perimeter.

Keep Tabs On. #7 Kansas vs. Oklahoma; #10 Dayton vs. VCU; #5 Butler vs. Seton Hall; #8 Florida State vs. Virginia; #4 Auburn vs. Florida; #9 Kentucky vs. Arkansas; #1 Gonzaga vs. BYU.

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

WCarey (318 Posts)

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