2019-20 RTC16: Week 14

Posted by Walker Carey on February 24th, 2020

Saturday was among the most chaotic regular season days in recent college basketball history. It started with #1 Kansas going to #2 Baylor and using a dominant 23-point, 19-rebound effort from senior big man Udoka Azubuike to hand the Bears their first loss since November 8. The victory was extra sweet for the Jayhawks as it earned some revenge from a 67-55 home loss to Baylor back on January 11. #5 San Diego State then saw its dream of an undefeated season come to an end with a stunning 66-63 home upset loss to UNLV. What made the defeat even more surprising that the Aztecs only led once during the game at 2-0. It would be foolish to write off San Diego State now, however, as one loss should not define a team that started the season by winning its first 26 contests. The chaos concluded late night in Provo when #3 Gonzaga fell for the first time since November 29 in a convincing 91-78 loss to #14 BYU. The Cougars were electric offensively, hitting 53.2 percent of their field goals with senior forward Yoeli Childs acting as the best player on the court, contributing 28 points and 10 rebounds to a winning effort. If Saturday was any sign of things to come, we should be in for an exciting March packed with impressive performances and unexpected results. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

  • Kansas is the new #1. The Jayhawks are now in the top spot in the RTC16 after Saturday’s stirring win at #2 Baylor. Kansas has now won 12 straight games, and its victory in Waco ties it with the Bears atop the Big 12 standings. The team’s success this season should not be all that surprising when you consider that head coach Bill Self noted after Saturday’s victory that point guard Devon Dotson and big man Udoka Azubuike are the best one-two punch he has had during his time at Kansas. That is a massive compliment when you reflect on all the talented guards and big men that have come through Lawrence during his illustrious tenure. The Jayhawks can continue on their path to a regular season Big 12 title this week, as they will be sizable favorites in Monday’s home contest with Oklahoma State and Saturday’s trip to Kansas State.
  • #6 Kentucky has hit its stride. During non-conference play, there was plenty of talk about how this was going to be a down season for Kentucky, and a humiliating home loss to Evansville and a head-scratching loss at Utah only added to the chatter. It now seems like those whispers were misguided, as the Wildcats have won six straight games and now hold a two-game lead in the SEC standings. A major part of Kentucky’s in-season turnaround has been the much improved play of sophomore guard Immanuel Quickley and junior big man Nick Richards. Quickley has gone from averaging just 5.2 points per game as a freshman to leading the team with 15.7 point per game this season. Richards was a bit player as both a freshman and sophomore, but is now averaging over 30 minutes per game while contributing 14.3 points and eight rebounds per contest.
  • #16 Michigan returns to the RTC16. Michigan has had quite the season. The Wolverines started hot with their impressive championship run at Battle 4 Atlantis, suffered through a January stretch that resulted in five losses in six games, and have now won seven of their last eight games. Juwan Howard‘s first season in Ann Arbor has been a bit of a whirlwind, but with junior forward Isaiah Livers returning to full strength after missing 10 games with groin and ankle injuries, it seems the Wolverines are once again hitting their stride as the calendar rapidly approaches March.

Game of the Week. #7 Florida State vs. #11 Louisville. A very important game in the ACC race will take place tonight in Tallahassee. Florida State has been consistent all season and its size and depth are unmatched in the conference. Louisville was in a rough spot just one week ago following consecutive losses to league also-rans Georgia Tech and Clemson, but after a players only meeting was called, the Cardinals responded with blowout wins over Syracuse and North Carolina. It should be noted that these two teams met back on January 4 in Louisville with Florida State securing an impressive 78-65 win in a game it took control of in the second half. That loss was due in part to Louisville’s backcourt of Fresh Kimble, Darius Perry, and Ryan McMahon combining for just 14 points of 6-of-23 shooting. For the Cardinals to experience better fortunes this evening, they will need their guards to play much better.

Keep Tabs On. #6 Kentucky vs. Texas A&M; #12 Villanova vs. Providence; #13 Seton Hall vs. Marquette; #6 Kentucky vs. Auburn; #8 Duke vs. Virginia; #5 San Diego State vs. Nevada; #9 Maryland vs. Michigan State; #3 Gonzaga vs. Saint Mary’s; #16 Michigan vs. Ohio State.

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

WCarey (318 Posts)

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