RTC Top 25: Week 14Posted by KDoyle on February 13th, 2012
And then there were none. In a surprise loss at home to Tennessee State, Murray State finally has a “1” in their loss column and there are no longer any unbeatens. It looked as if the Racers might have run the table all the way to the NCAA Tournament, but it was not in the cards for first year coach Steve Prohm. Kentucky still remains atop the rankings as a unanimous #1. On the heels (wink, wink) of Duke’s dramatic comeback win at North Carolina, the Blue Devils have jumped back into the Top 10. Notre Dame, who has been teetering on the edge of the Top 25 for a few weeks now, is finally rewarded for their strong play in the Big East as they check in at #21. The Quick ‘n Dirty after the jump…
- High Risers and Big Droppers —Losing Ben Hansbrough to graduation? No problem. Watching Tim Abromaitis go down with a torn ACL? They’ll make do. Somehow, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have exceeded all expectations this season and find themselves sitting at 9-3 in the Big East and looking like a legitimate NCAA Tournament team. Mike Brey has brought along sophomores Jerian Grant and Eric Atkins very nicely, while Jack Cooley and Scott Martin have displayed veteran leadership during Big East play. Could Mike Brey garner his second straight Big East Coach of the Year honor? Farther west, Wichita State dismantled Creighton on the Blue Jays’ home floor and has run their record to an impressive 22-4. After dropping two early season losses to Alabama and Temple, the Shockers flew under the radar for much of the non-conference portion of their schedule, but their impressive offense has dazzled Missouri Valley foes and gotten the attention of many. Just a few weeks ago, Wichita State was unranked, and now they are all the way up to #14. Just when it had seemed Florida was back to full form after disappointing losses to Rutgers and Tennessee earlier in the year, the Gators fell at Kentucky — a loss was expected, but not by 20 points — and then lost at home to a then 12-12 Tennessee squad. Offense has not been the problem for Billy Donovan’s squad, but defense certainly has, as Florida is ranked ninth in the 12-team conference in points allowed per game.
- Where to rank Gonzaga? — The ‘Zags are unranked in two polls, but check in at #16 in two others. Knocking off St. Mary’s at home was impressive — how much fun is it to watch freshman Kevin Pangos? — but Gonzaga remains a bit of a conundrum among pollsters. This should come as very little surprise though as the bottom 10 teams or so in the poll are in constant flux on a week-to-week basis.
- No Atlantic 10 or Pac-12 — For the seventh straight week, no team from the Atlantic 10 made their way into the poll, and, unbelievably, this is the eighth week for the Pac-12. Temple narrowly missed the cut this week as they were just a vote away from gaining admission, while no team from the Pac-12 even garnered a vote. When was the last time the Pac-12 — previously the Pac-10 — was a one-bid league? Ever?
- Two new faces —For the first time this season, Notre Dame has made its way into the Top 25, and deservedly so. Meanwhile, Big East brethren Louisville has climbed their way back into the poll after reeling off six straight wins. Their game tonight against #2 Syracuse highlights the docket of games for the evening.
Top 25 Games of the Week:
Only four games this week pit Top 25 teams against one another; last week it seemed like there were a dozen of them. Michigan State looks to continue their impressive play — it is hard to believe that this team was unranked to begin the season — against Wisconsin who has played exceptionally well since dropping three straight right around the New Year. This weekend, St. Mary’s travels to play Murray State in the premier game of the BracketBusters.
- #2 Syracuse @ #25 Louisville
- #5 Michigan State vs. #19 Wisconsin
- #6 Ohio State @ #15 Michigan
WCC / OVC
- #13 St. Mary’s @ #24 Murray State
Also Receiving Votes—Only five teams appeared in the “ARV” category this week as the teams that have been pretending are slowly being weeded out as we near the end of the regular season.
Conference Call— Big East (6), ACC (4), Big Ten (4), Big 12 (3), SEC (2), Mountain West (2), West Coast (2), Ohio Valley (1), Missouri Valley (1)