RTC Top 25: Week TenPosted by KDoyle on January 16th, 2012
In most years there is a great deal of variance in the polls during the non-conference portion of the season as teams are either overachieving or underachieving relative to their preseason rankings. However, last week proved how even in conference action there can be tremendous movement within the poll. Syracuse and Kentucky remain at #1 and #2, respectively, but there is a lot of shuffling after that, especially involving several teams out west making a surge into the Top 25. The Quick ‘n Dirty after the jump…
- High Risers and Big Droppers—After winning 15 of their last 16 games, including blowout victories against BYU and Gonzaga, St. Mary’s has moved all the way up to #17 in this week’s poll, seven places higher than their position last week. The Gaels have one of the most potent offenses in the nation and are poised to make a run to the NCAA Tournament after coming up just short last season. Meanwhile, back east, Louisville is in the midst of an absolute freefall, having lost four of their last six games and sitting at 2-3 in the Big East. What is disconcerting for the ‘Ville is the manner in which they dropped their game at Providence — a 31-point debacle where the Cardinals seemed to be disinterested for much of the game.
- Where to rank Murray State and Kansas State?—Despite sporting a perfect 18-0 record, Murray State has not made believers of two of our eight pollsters. The Racers own impressive wins over Southern Mississippi, Dayton, and Memphis, but playing in the Ohio Valley makes it difficult for the Racers to pick up any noteworthy wins during conference play. In the Big 12, Kansas State has limped out to a 1-3 mark in conference, but still remains ranked relatively high in two polls coming in overall at #16. The Wildcats had a brutal start to Big 12 play going up against Kansas, Missouri, and Baylor — a 1-2 record during this stretch — but a disappointing setback at Oklahoma has pollsters doubting K-State. It is worth noting that Kansas State did hand Missouri its only loss of the season, and lost by just two points to unbeaten Baylor. Not taking care of business against the Sooners was ostensibly the reason the Wildcats were unranked in five polls.
- Three new faces—After a brief hiatus, Mississippi State is back in the Top 25 at #22 following big wins against Tennessee and Alabama. Meanwhile, the Mountain West Conference is really making their presence felt as both San Diego State and New Mexico are in the Top 25 for the first time this season. At the beginning of the season, who’d have thought that the Mountain West and West Coast conferences would have a combined five teams in the poll… more than any other single conference.
- For the Fourth Straight Week, No Pac-12—According to Pomeroy, the Pac-12 is the ninth-rated conference, recently slipping behind the Atlantic 10 and Missouri Valley. You’d have to search all the way back to the Week Six poll in order to find a Pac-12 team in the Top 25 — Stanford came in at #24.
Top 25 Games of the Week:
Big weeks for Baylor and New Mexico, as each team has both of their games this week coming against Top 25 teams. The Big 12, which has three teams ranked in the top six, highlight the docket as Baylor has the unenviable task of traveling to Kansas and then playing host to Missouri. Further out west, New Mexico will have to play the role of road warriors as they travel to UNLV and San Diego State.
- #3 Baylor @ #5 Kansas
- #3 Baylor vs. #5 Missouri
- #9 Michigan State @ #16 Michigan
- #13 UNLV vs. #25 New Mexico
- #23 San Diego State vs. #25 New Mexico
Also Receiving Votes—Eight teams receive votes with four of these eight hailing from the Big East. Parity? Mediocrity? Who knows with the topsy turvy Big East, with the exception of Syracuse at the top, of course.
Conference Call— Big East (4), Big Ten (4), Big 12 (4), SEC (3), ACC (3), Mountain West (3), West Coast (2), Ohio Valley (1), Missouri Valley (1)