2019-20 RTC16: Week 11

Posted by Walker Carey on January 27th, 2020

It is time to take notice of college basketball’s final undefeated team. #4 San Diego State moved its record to 21-0 on Sunday with a gutsy 71-67 win at UNLV. The Aztecs now have a four-game lead in the Mountain West standings and — barring a complete collapse — they will take home the program’s first league crown since 2016. Guard Malachi Flynn has emerged as a legitimate star for Brian Dutcher‘s squad, averaging 16.6 points and 5.1 assists per game while shooting a commendable 40.7 percent from the three-point line. While Flynn has shouldered the load for San Diego State offensively, team defense is really what has distinguished it as one of the country’s finest. The Aztecs are only allowing 56.6 points per game, are currently seventh overall at KenPom in defensive efficiency, and their 91.3 defensive efficiency rating is seven points better than the Mountain West’s next best defensive team. It is no secret that the Mountain West does not have the same depth as conferences like the Big Ten or the Big East, but much like Gonzaga and Wichita State in years past, all Dutcher’s squad can do is beat the teams on its schedule. The Aztecs still have eight games remaining in the regular season and they could still very well drop a game or two before March, but their 21-0 start has established them as a legitimate Final Four contender in a wide open year. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

  • Baylor remains at #1. Baylor moved its record to 17-1 with a narrow win over Oklahoma last Monday followed by a dominant 72-61 result at Florida in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. The Bears have now won 16 straight and their 6-0 mark in Big 12 play leads the conference. Baylor’s greatest strength may be with its depth, as nine different players are averaging at least nine minutes per game this season. This depth was on display in Saturday’s win in Gainesville, as reserve guard Devonte Bandoo contributed 16 points in a winning effort. The Big 12 is a gauntlet and we are entering the dog days of conference play, so Scott Drew‘s fortunate ability to rely on a variety of different players to contribute each game is very much a positive for the Bears.
  • #7 Louisville righted the ship and is rolling. Louisville’s season looked to be headed in the wrong direction following a 13-point home loss to Florida State on January 4 — it was the Cardinals’ second straight loss and their third in five games. That stretch has proven to be a turning point in the season, though, as Louisville has now won six straight contests leading to an ACC-leading 8-1 record. Junior forward Jordan Nwora continues to play like an All-American, while senior big men Steven Enoch and Dwayne Sutton give the Cardinals a legitimate low post duo. The Cardinals will look to keep their hot streak going this week, as they will play at Boston College on Wednesday before going to NC State on Saturday.
  • #16 Iowa enters the RTC16 for the first time this season. It is somewhat surprising to see the Hawkeyes enter the RTC16 in the same month they suffered consecutive losses to Penn State and Nebraska to start 1-3 in the Big Ten, but if there has been a theme to this college basketball season, it has been to expect the unexpected. That has certainly been the case with Iowa over the last few weeks, as Fran McCaffery‘s squad has now won four straight games and looks like a legitimate contender in the ultra-competitive Big Ten. Hawkeyes big man Luka Garza has arguably been the conference player of the year up to this point, as the junior is averaging 23.2 and 10.3 rebounds per game. Iowa faces a trio of tests this week in hosting Wisconsin tonight, taking a trip to #15 Maryland on Thursday, followed by a Super Bowl Sunday home tilt against Illinois. If the Hawkeyes are still in the RTC16 next week, they will have absolutely earned their spot.

Game of the Week. #15 Maryland vs. #16 Iowa. Maryland will be looking for revenge on Thursday night when it hosts Iowa in College Park, as the Hawkeyes thoroughly dominated the Terrapins when they met in Iowa City back on January 10. For Maryland to change its fortunes this time around, it will need its backcourt to turn in a much better effort than it did in the blowout loss, as Anthony Cowan Jr., Daryl Morsell, and Aaron Wiggins combined for just 16 points on 5-of-23 shooting while allowing Iowa guard Joe Wieskamp to put up a career-high 26 points. It will also be worth keeping an eye on the battle in the post between Maryland standout forward Jalen Smith and Iowa standout forward Luka Garza. That match-up alone should make this one appointment viewing.

Keep Tabs On. #16 Iowa vs. Wisconsin; #6 Florida State vs. Virginia; #5 Dayton vs. Duquesne; #12 West Virginia vs. Texas Tech; #4 San Diego State vs. New Mexico; #3 Kansas vs. Texas Tech; #9 Villanova vs. Creighton; #14 Michigan State vs. Wisconsin; #11 Kentucky vs. Auburn; #9 Duke vs. Syracuse.

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

WCarey (318 Posts)

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