RTC Top 25: Week FourPosted by KDoyle on December 6th, 2011
With a total of eight games that pitted Top 25 teams against one another, there was certainly not a shortage of great basketball to watch last week. We learned that Ohio State is a legitimate title contender with their thrashing of Duke and that Vanderbilt’s preseason hype was just that—hype!
The QnD after the jump…
- High Risers and Big Droppers—In what may have been the game of the week—yes, I know, North Carolina-Kentucky was a gem of a game too—Georgetown traveled down to Tuscaloosa and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a clutch three-pointer from Hollis Thompson in the game’s final seconds. To date, the Hoyas are 7-1 with big wins coming against Memphis and Alabama, while their lone loss was a narrow one against Kansas. The team that has plummeted in a big way is Vanderbilt. In their two big tests of the year thus far—Xavier and Louisville—they have come up on the short end of the stick and currently sit at a pedestrian 5-3 record. Wisconsin also dropped seven sports after recording an 0-2 record last week with close losses to North Carolina and Marquette.
- Where to rank Louisville?—Rick Pitino’s Cardinals are a bit of a conundrum to our eight pollsters. Five of them are believers in Louisville as they have ranked them in their Top 10, but the others have them on the outside looking in. They sit at a perfect 7-0 on the young season, but the only noteworthy team they have beaten thus far is Vanderbilt, and even that win doesn’t appear to be as strong as it would have been in the preseason. Louisville’s last big game in the non-conference before the Big East schedule rolls around comes against Memphis.
- Three new faces—Illinois, Mississippi State, and Georgetown all enter this week’s poll after posting impressive wins in the past weeks. The Bulldogs and Hoyas were on many of the pollster’s radars in past weeks, but Illinois made a real splash into the rankings with their upset victory over Gonzaga and convincing “W” at Maryland in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Illini are 8-0 on the year and have elevated themselves into the upper tier of the Big Ten.
Top 25 Games of the Week:
- #2 Ohio State at #13 Kansas—A golden opportunity for the Jayhawks to pick up a marquee win over the #2 team in the nation as Ohio State (perhaps without Jared Sullinger) visits Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas has come up just short in their previous games against Top 25 teams—losses to Kentucky and Duke—but having Ohio State come into their house makes an upset of the Buckeyes a very real possibility.
- #19 Harvard at #9 Connecticut —If Harvard does the unthinkable and knocks off Top 10 Connecticut, there is a chance that the Crimson run through the rest of their schedule unscathed. That’s right—unbeaten. The next most difficult game in Harvard’s non-conference schedule is a home date against Saint Joseph’s. Ivy League games at Pennsylvania, Yale, and Cornell are far from cakewalks, but it is not too farfetched to begin thinking about this. First things first though: Connecticut.
- #19 UNLV at #14 Wisconsin—Both teams are in need of a win as Wisconsin dropped two straight last week, and UNLV had a disappointing letdown against Wichita State following their shocking upset of top-ranked North Carolina.
Also Receiving Votes—There are still many teams that our pollsters believe are worthy of Top 25 consideration as 11 teams garnered votes this week. Murray State and Virginia are two squads that have not received votes in the past, but picked some up this week for the first time.
Conference Call—Big East (6), Big Ten (5), SEC (4) Big 12 (3), ACC (2), Atlantic 10 (1), WCC (1), Mountain West (1), Missouri Valley (1), Ivy League (1)