RTC Top 25: Week 8Posted by zhayes9 on January 3rd, 2011
The calendar has turned and it’s time to get serious. Conference play has already begun, so expect to see quite a few changes in this poll in coming weeks.
(Ed. Note: we’ve added a sixth pollster, RTC contributor Brian Otskey (bots) – welcome, Brian!)
- Teams That Impressed. Two Big Ten teams — Michigan State and Illinois -- posted impressive wins this week on their home floor. The Spartans were finally able to collect a quality win after missing on opportunities to knock off Connecticut, Duke, Syracuse and Texas in the non-conference. Their New Year’s Eve victory over Minnesota got Big Ten play off to an encouraging start for Tom Izzo’s team. Illinois shook off losses to UIC and Missouri to start 2-0 in conference play. Their win Sunday night over Wisconsin behind Demetri McCamey extinguished the demons of last March’s home collapse to the Badgers with an NCAA bid on the line.
- Teams That Regressed. The schedule gods were not kind to Minnesota, who had the honor of beginning conference play with visits to Madison and East Lansing. Two relatively competitive losses and the Gophers find themselves in an 0-2 hole with Ohio State on the docket Sunday. The schedule will even out for Minnesota later in the season, but it’s certainly an unwelcome start for Tubby Smith. Also dipping is Connecticut, who fell on the road at Pittsburgh (excusable) and barely edged USF at home in overtime (inexcusable). A killer week lies ahead for Kemba Walker and Co. with visits to Notre Dame and Texas.
- Variance. Washington is a team of much debate among our pollsters. The Huskies finally re-entered the poll after an impressive sweep of the LA schools this past weekend, arguably the most difficult two-game road swing in the conference this season. The Huskies are ranked anywhere from #14 to #25 and receive a bit of a break with Oregon and Oregon State visiting Seattle for the usual Thursday-Saturday Pac-10 swing.
- Conference Call. Big East (6), Big Ten (6), Big 12 (5), MWC (3), SEC (2), ACC (1), Pac-10 (1), CUSA (1).