RTC Top 25: Week NinePosted by KDoyle on January 9th, 2012
The first week of 2012 was quite the week in the college basketball world as 15 Top 25 teams fell, and seven of these losses came to teams ranked outside of the Top 25. Needless to say, the contenders are beginning to separate themselves from those who were pretenders for much of the non-conference. The top five teams remained identical from the prior week, but there was a good deal of movement throughout the rest of the poll. Syracuse picked up seven of the eight first place votes with Kentucky nabbing the other. The Quick ‘n Dirty analysis after the jump…
- High Risers and Big Droppers—Just two weeks ago, Gonzaga was nowhere to be found, but now they have elevated themselves to #16 after running off eight straight wins following back to back losses to Illinois and Michigan State. Although the ‘Zags have only beaten three teams ranked in the Top 100 according to Pomeroy, they have benefitted from the floundering of several teams ahead of them. Michigan State continues to impress as they have not lost since dropping consecutive games against North Carolina and Duke to start the year. An overtime win at Wisconsin and thoroughly defeating Indiana has the Spartans all the way to #7 — remember, they were not even ranked in the preseason. At the other end of the spectrum, Connecticut has plummeted to #14, dropping seven slots in the poll. The state of New Jersey was not kind to the Huskies, having lost games to Seton Hall and that shocking result versus Rutgers last week. Perhaps even worse than Connecticut, though, are the Wisconsin Badgers, who have dropped out of the poll altogether having lost three straight games. The Badgers are still somehow ranked #2 according to Pomeroy—a real anomaly.
- Where to rank?—Pollsters still cannot come to a consensus as to where Murray State and Virginia should be ranked. The Racers are one of three teams still undefeated — it is hard to see them losing another game in the regular season in the Ohio Valley — while Virginia has lost just one game. Murray State is ranked as high as #11, but is not ranked in two polls. Similarly, Virginia peaks at #15, but is not ranked by two pollsters. The Cavaliers would make believers of everyone with a win at Duke this week.
- Three new faces—Seton Hall, Alabama, and St. Mary’s all find themselves in our poll this week with the Pirates and Gaels ranked for the first time this season. Alabama was ranked as high as #11 earlier in the year, but losses to Georgetown, Dayton, and Kansas State pushed them out.
- Still No Atlantic 10—After Xavier’s recent struggles in dropping five of seven games and St. Louis losing two of three, the A-10 does not have a representative in the Top 25 for the second straight week. It looked as if Temple would have a chance to squeak into the poll after knocking off Duke, but they fell to upstart Dayton in the following game. The Atlantic 10 race is definitely one to keep tabs on as league play progresses.
Top 25 Games of the Week:
Four Top 25 games highlight this week’s slate of games, each game in a different conference. Without a doubt, Sunday’s game in Columbus between Ohio State and Indiana is the one everyone is looking forward to as the Buckeyes have an opportunity to redeem themselves after their tough loss at Indiana. Many critics have clamored that Indiana needs to win a road game before they can be truly seen as a legitimate contender come March. Well, here’s their opportunity. Gonzaga and St. Mary’s — two of the best teams out West with the Pac-12 in shambles — is certainly a matchup to keep an eye on, as well.
#4 Ohio State vs. #6 Indiana
#5 Baylor @ #18 Kansas State
#8 Duke vs. #19 Virginia
#16 Gonzaga @ #24 St. Mary’s
Also Receiving Votes—Seven teams make up the ARV category in this week’s poll. Many of them once graced the Top 25 but hit rough patches and fallen out — looking squarely at you, Wisconsin. Harvard and Mississippi State are two other teams that were recently ranked but suffered setbacks and are now on the outside looking in.
Conference Call— Big East (6), Big Ten (4), Big 12 (4), SEC (3), ACC (3), West Coast (2), Mountain West (1), Ohio Valley (1), Missouri Valley (1)