2019-20 RTC 16: Week 13

Posted by Walker Carey on February 17th, 2020

Entering this season, it seemed like almost a formality that preseason #1 Michigan State was going to run through the Big Ten on its way to a regular season title. That notion, however, has not turned out to the be the case, as #7 Maryland and #9 Penn State have emerged as the clear favorites to take home the Big Ten title. The Terrapins have now won eight straight games after overcoming a seven-point deficit with less than four minutes to play in a stunning 67-60 weekend victory at Michigan State. The Terrapins currently have a one-game lead in the Big Ten standings over the Nittany Lions, who are equally as hot. A January 16 loss to Minnesota left Penn State at 2-4 in the league and decidedly behind the eight-ball in a very competitive conference. Things have turned on a dime, though, for Pat Chambers‘ group, as the Nittany Lions have now won eight consecutive league games for the first time in program history with an ability to win both at home and on the road. While the Big Ten race has thus far shaken out much differently than expected, Maryland and Penn State have both shown they are good enough to not only take home the league title, but also be legitimate contenders to advance to the Final Four. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

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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.

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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.

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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

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2019-20 RTC16: Week Eight

Posted by Walker Carey on January 6th, 2020

The beginning of conference play is always good for temporarily removing the shine from a team or two that had been a non-conference darling. This season that phenomenon applies to #11 Louisville and #13 Ohio State. Louisville started its season 9-0, but has since lost three of its last five games, with the most concerning coming Saturday in a 13-point home loss to #10 Florida State. Guard play continues to be a significant issue for the Cardinals, as Fresh Kimble, Darius Perry and Ryan McMahon combined for just 14 points on 6-of-27 shooting in the loss. Ohio State was another early season standout, as the Buckeyes stood at 11-1 on Christmas Day and looked to be the class of a strong Big Ten. They have since lost two straight, including a puzzling 61-57 home loss to Wisconsin last Friday. While sloppy play was a major reason for the defeat (Ohio State committed 14 turnovers to just eight assists), it must be noted that the Buckeyes are currently without junior starting forward Kyle Young, who had an appendectomy early last week and is game-to-game moving forward. It is certainly too early in league play to speculate whether Louisville and Ohio State will regain their early season form, but it would be wise for both teams to get back on track before their NCAA Tournament résumés begin to take significant hits. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

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2019-20 RTC16: Week Seven

Posted by Walker Carey on December 30th, 2019

The final full week of 2019 did not really get going on the hardwood until Saturday when one of the most bitter rivalries in college basketball resumed with #4 Louisville visiting #16 Kentucky. The game did not disappoint, as the Cardinals fought back from an eight-point halftime deficit to force overtime before the home Wildcats grabbed control in the final minute of the extra period to earn a hotly contested 78-70 victory. It was a much-needed win for Kentucky, as it entered riding a two-game losing streak and had not earned an impressive victory since its season opening dispatch of Michigan State. The Wildcats were led by incredible efforts from freshman guard Tyrese Maxey, who tallied a game-high 27 points, sophomore guard Immanuel Quickley, who added a career-high 18 points, and junior forward Nick Richards, who controlled the game inside with 13 points and 10 rebounds. John Calipari‘s squad also did an excellent job frustrating star Louisville forward Jordan Nwora all afternoon, as the standout junior was mostly a non-factor, finishing with just eight points and four rebounds. Kentucky is still far from a finished product, but if it can string together several more impressive efforts, the Wildcats will once again be a factor in both the SEC race and on the national landscape. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

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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.

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2019-20 RTC16: Week Five

Posted by Walker Carey on December 16th, 2019

The past week of the college basketball season was marked by unbeaten teams falling victim to unranked opponents away from home. It began Tuesday night when #4 Louisville fell to Texas Tech in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden, while #7 Maryland was unable to overcome a slow start in a loss at Penn State. Both defeats showed that each team is a bit more susceptible offensively than previously thought, as Louisville only shot 34 percent from the field while committing 19 turnovers and Maryland shot just 33 percent while committing 20 miscues. Both the Cardinals and Terrapins also failed to get strong performances from their stars, as Louisville forward Jordan Nwora was held to just 4-of-16 shooting and Maryland forward Jalen Smith logged only five field goal attempts. #3 Ohio State joined the fray late Sunday afternoon when it trailed throughout the game in an 84-71 loss at Minnesota. Much like Louisville and Maryland, the Buckeyes were done in by poor shooting (38.3% FG), turnovers (14), and a poor performance from a key contributor (forward Kaleb Wesson was just 4-of-13 from the field while committing six turnovers). Louisville, Maryland and Ohio State are all primed for successful seasons, but they must view setbacks like those from the past week as something to learn from and correct. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

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2019-20 RTC16: Week Four

Posted by Walker Carey on December 10th, 2019

Around this time in the calendar every season, a team grabs national attention for, not just piling up wins, but piling up those wins in a demonstrative manner. That team in this season is #2 Ohio State. The Buckeyes are now 9-0 after a 25-point win at North Carolina and a 32-point win over Penn State in its Big Ten opener. Since an eight-point win over Cincinnati in the first game of the year, Ohio State has won every one of its contests by at least 19 points. The most remarkable aspect of Chris Holtmann‘s group is how balanced it is, with six different players averaging at least eight points per game — led by junior big man Kaleb Wesson at 14.1 PPG and sophomore guard Duane Washington Jr. at 11.4 PPG. The Buckeyes got off to a 12-1 start last season before fading down the stretch and needing a win in the Big Ten Tournament to comfortably earn an NCAA Tournament bid, so their hot start this season is not unprecedented. Having said that, there has been nothing about this season’s Ohio State team that suggests that another swoon in conference play is coming. The Buckeyes have established themselves as a terrific team that should be one everyone’s radars as a legitimate national title contender. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

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The 2019-20 RTC16: Week Three

Posted by Walker Carey on December 3rd, 2019

It seems like every Feast Week there is a team or two that establishes itself as a legitimate national contender — that was no different this year as #2 Michigan and #5 Maryland both made it known that they will be forces to be reckoned with for the rest of the season. The previously unranked Wolverines put together the most impressive performance of Feast Week with a championship run at Battle 4 Atlantis, as Juwan Howard‘s squad magnificently ripped through Iowa State, #8 North Carolina, and #7 Gonzaga en route to the tournament title. It was fair to have concerns about Michigan this preseason, as legendary former coach John Beilein departed for the NBA and was replaced by Howard, who had no previous experience coaching college basketball. The Wolverines’ returning core has done a commendable job in fully easing those concerns, as senior point guard Zavier Simpson looks to be one of the best ball distributors in the country and former role players Eli Brooks, Isaiah Livers and Jon Teske have emerged as key pieces in an offensive attack that ranks third in the country. The Terrapins were also victorious in a Feast Week tournament, knocking off Temple, Harvard and Marquette en route to the Orlando Invitational title. The championship game was especially noteworthy, as Maryland’s defensive effort limited Marquette scoring machine Markus Howard to just six points in an 84-63 victory. The backcourt had led the way to its 8-0 start with Anthony Cowan Jr., Eric Ayala and Aaron Wiggins all averaging over 10 points per game. The Terrapins have had early season hype before in the Mark Turgeon era, and while that failed to materialize for a variety of reasons, this Maryland team — with its strong backcourt and solid interior play — appears like it should be able to buck that trend. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

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