RTC Top 25: Week SevenPosted by KDoyle on December 27th, 2011
With the holiday season in full swing, last week’s slate of games did not significantly alter the Top 25. Syracuse remains perched atop the rankings with Ohio State and Kentucky lurking close behind. In fact, there was virtually no movement in the Top 10 at all. One team that continues to spiral downward thanks to suspensions following the Crosstown Brawl is Xavier, who was once a legitimate Top 10 team, but now sits at #20. The Quick ‘n Dirty after the jump…
- High Risers and Big Droppers—Virginia’s tenacity on defense — one of the best squads in the nation in that regard — has the Cavaliers ranked for the first time all season as Randy Bennett’s bunch checks in at #22 this week. Virginia made a splash onto the national stage during the ACC-Big Ten challenge after defeating Michigan, and since then have won their next four games. In what looks to be a down year for the ACC, Virginia could be NCAA Tournament-bound for the first time since the Pete Gillen era. Xavier continues to hurt their Tournament resume by the game as the Musketeers have lost three of their last four games. Think that Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons wished that they kept their composure in the blowout win over Cincinnati?
- Where to rank Mississippi State?—As has been the case for much of the year, pollsters continue to grapple as to where to rank Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are ranked as high as #12 in this week’s poll, but unranked on two other ballots. How Dee Bost and Co. perform against Baylor this week in a crucial non-conference tilt for both squads will be very telling.
- Two new faces—Virginia and St. Louis both made appearances in this week’s Top 25. St. Louis had a brief stay in the poll earlier in the year, but a surprise loss to Loyola Marymount saw the Billikens out of the poll for a short time. As for Virginia, this is their first time in the poll all year, as we said. Randy Bennett really has something good going at Virginia as the Cavaliers intense effort on defense will seemingly keep them in every game.
Top 25 Games of the Week:
- #2 Ohio State @ #15 Indiana—An early preview of the Big Ten Championship game? Indiana will have the opportunity to knock off another highly ranked opponent in Hoosier country.
- #3 Kentucky vs. #10 Louisville—Louisville has yet to garner a marquee non-conference win; they’ll have a golden opportunity against Kentucky, and in the process make believers out of our pollsters.
- #5 Baylor vs. #19 Mississippi State—A much anticipated game for both squads as Mississippi State looks to solidify their claim as a legitimate threat and team to fear in the SEC.
- #10 Louisville vs. #12 Georgetown—The Big East schedule kicks off for both teams in a big way as Georgetown visits The Yum. The Hoyas continue to surprise, but will they keep their mojo going against the Cardinals?
- #15 Indiana @ #16 Michigan State—The Hoosiers’ date with Ohio State this weekend is prelude with a tough game against Michigan State. Tom Crean has Indiana playing at the level and with the confidence of a team that can make a deep run in March.
Also Receiving Votes—Seven teams comprise the ARV category this week. Pittsburgh and Alabama are two of the big names who fall into this category this time; both will need early wins in their respective conference schedules to climb back into the Top 25.
Conference Call— Big East (5), Big Ten (5), SEC (3) Big 12 (3), ACC (3), Atlantic 10 (2),Mountain West (1), Ohio Valley (1), Ivy League (1), Missouri Valley (1)