2019-20 RTC 16: Week 12

Posted by Walker Carey on February 3rd, 2020

It is usually not very wise too look ahead in sports, but it is especially not wise to look ahead during a college basketball season where top teams falling to unranked foes has been the norm. There was plenty of talk last week, for example, about the upcoming showdown between #11 Seton Hall and #12 Villanova. This game was billed as the upstart Pirates looking to establish themselves as the team to beat in the Big East against a Wildcats team that has been the league’s top dog since 2013. While the game will still undoubtedly be quite important, it lost a bit of its national luster on Saturday when both squads suffered home court upset losses. Seton Hall fell behind 30-6 in the game’s first 13 minutes against Xavier and never recovered, as the Musketeers returned home with an impressive 74-62 win. In the defeat, the Pirates only shot 22.7 percent from the three-point line and star guard Myles Powell was held to just nine points on 3-of-14 shooting. Villanova also got off to a poor start in its loss on Saturday, as Creighton held a 12-point halftime lead that it was able to ride to a relatively easy 76-61 win. The Wildcats were done in by a poor defensive effort that allowed the Bluejays to shoot 50.9 percent from the field and an even 50 percent from the perimeter. If anything, let Saturday’s results reinforce the notion that you should always focus on a team’s next game before looking down the line because this season has shown us time and time again that things can change rapidly. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

  • Baylor remains #1. Baylor moved to 19-1 this past week with comfortable wins over Iowa State and TCU, as the Bears have now won 18 straight games and are firmly established as the team to beat in the Big 12. Scott Drew‘s squad has been lifted recently by junior guard MaCio Teague elevating his game. The junior has led Baylor in scoring each of its last four victories and has solidified his spot alongside sophomore lead guard Jared Butler as one of the country’s best backcourt duos. The Bears will be solidly favored to move their winning streak to 20 games this week, as they have contests with Big 12 bottom feeders Kansas State and Oklahoma State next on the schedule.
  • #5 Dayton keeps winning. You are making a big mistake if you are discounting what Dayton is doing this season — including a 20-2 overall record with a 9-0 mark in conference play — because the Flyers play in the Atlantic 10. Anthony Grant‘s team plays one of the country’s most aesthetically pleasing brands of basketball and has a legitimate National Player of the Year candidate in sophomore forward Obi Toppin. While the sophomore big man is Dayton’s star, guards Jalen Crutcher, Trey Landers and Ibi Watson are also important components of an offensive attack that currently ranks first at KenPom in efficiency. Regular season success is hardly an indicator of what a team will do in the postseason, but if Dayton plays the way it has this season during the NCAA Tournament, it would not be unexpected if the Flyers end up in the Final Four.
  • #14 LSU deserves your attention. LSU was in the headlines last season for both its success on the court and its salacious allegations regarding its head coach. This season, however, has been a wildly different story, as the Tigers have managed to remain under the radar both on and off the court. The lack of hype surrounding the program though is not due to an unsuccessful season, as Will Wade‘s squad has improved its overall record to 17-4 overall and 8-0 in SEC play while boosting its lead in the league standings to two games last week. While last season in Baton Rouge was the Tremont Waters show, the Tigers have this season utilized a more balanced attack with guards Skylar Mays and Javonte Smart perfectly complementing the rugged interior play of forwards Darius Days, Trendon Watford and Emmitt Williams. It is entirely too early to say whether LSU is the favorite to win the SEC — the Tigers still have trips to Auburn, Florida, and Arkansas and a home date with Kentucky on the schedule — but they have already shown they absolutely will have a say in who brings home the league crown.

Game of the Week. #11 Seton Hall vs. #12 Villanova. As noted earlier, Saturday’s battle between the Pirates and Wildcats lost a bit of its national luster last week with both teams falling to unranked opponents, but this game is still incredibly important to the Big East race. Seton Hall will enter the Wells Fargo Center with a one-game lead in the league standings, while Villanova will look to grab what would be a key win in its attempt to win its sixth consecutive Big East title. Obviously the item to keep an eye on in this game will be how Villanova is able to defend Seton Hall star guard Myles Powell. If the Wildcats are unable to contain the All-American guard, the Pirates have a very good chance of returning home with a momentous victory.

Keep Tabs On. #8 Maryland vs. Rutgers; #15 Michigan State vs. Penn State; #13 Auburn vs. Arkansas; #12 Villanova vs. Butler; #8 Maryland vs. Illinois; #15 Michigan State vs. Michigan; #13 Auburn vs. #14 LSU; #5 Dayton vs. Saint Louis; #5 Louisville vs. Virginia; #2 Gonzaga vs. Saint Mary’s.

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

WCarey (318 Posts)

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