RTC Top 25: Preseason EditionPosted by KDoyle on November 9th, 2012
And so it begins. The time of year where we hear familiar voices on the television, faces on the floor, and our teams finally playing games that count in the standings. It is a beautiful time, indeed. With the games commencing in mere hours, we officially unveil RTC’s Preseason Top 25. In the future, you can expect our poll to come out every Monday morning. Along with the rankings will be the usual quick ‘n dirty analysis that takes a deeper dive into how the teams shake out #1-#25. To see how we did last year, check out our 2011-12 preseason poll—some right on the money (North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio State), and others not so much (Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Texas A&M). The QnD after the jump…
Quick ‘n Dirty Analysis.
- Half Like Indiana—Half of our pollsters are in agreement that Indiana is the top team in the land, but three other teams also picked up #1 votes: Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State. It is hard to argue with Indiana as they return our preseason National Player of the Year Cody Zeller, along with several other integral pieces from a team that advanced to last year’s Sweet Sixteen. Of course, we all know better than to argue with Kentucky after witnessing Cal’s youthful team sprint through the NCAA Tournament with ease, and Louisville was playing as well as anybody to conclude last season. The dark horse of the bunch is Ohio State, but they could very well find themselves in the mix with Aaron Craft and DeShaun Thomas returning.
- The Final Four in the Top Six—Last year’s Final Four (Kentucky, Kansas, Ohio State, and Louisville) dominates the upper tier of the poll, while Indiana and Michigan are the two other teams rounding out the top six. In our preseason poll for 2011-12, half of the 2011 Final Four didn’t even make the Top 25 (Butler and VCU), while Connecticut demonstrated they were anything but a Top 25 team. How long will these four remain atop the poll?
- Where to Rank Florida?—The pollsters were in agreement with many of the 25 teams, but couldn’t quite come to terms with where Billy Donovan’s Florida Gators should be ranked. Checking in as high as #5 and as low as #25, Florida will be hard-pressed to replace Bradley Beal and Erving Walker, but return everyone else from a 26-win Elite Eight team.
Games of the Week—Take Your Pick at the Champions Classic in Atlanta Tuesday night: #2 Kentucky vs. #9 Duke / #4 Kansas vs. #8 Michigan State
The action gets going early in week one with two games featuring four top 10 teams. There hasn’t been a whole lot of talk about the Duke Blue Devils in the preseason—perhaps that can be attributed to the departure of Austin Rivers and an early-exit at the hands of Lehigh from the 2012 NCAA Tournament—but they return four starters. A win against Kentucky would surely garner the nation’s attention. What will life be like in the post-Draymond Green era? Michigan State will soon find out playing against Kansas, who may be going through similar growing pains without Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor.
Other Top 25 Games.
- #7 Syracuse @ #19 San Diego State
- #12 Florida vs. #25 Georgetown
Keep Tabs On—#6 Ohio State vs. Marquette, NC State @ Puerto Rico Tip-Off, #12 Florida vs. Wisconsin, #17 Creighton vs. North Texas, #18 Gonzaga vs. West Virginia, #21 Baylor vs. Lehigh, #22 Notre Dame vs. St. Joseph’s
Also Receiving Votes—As usual, there are a slew of teams in the “ARV” category—12, to be exact—but that customarily happens early in the season as teams at the tail end of the Top 25 are interchangeable with many of the teams on the outside looking in.
Conference Call—Big East (5), Big Ten (4), SEC (4), ACC (3), Big 12 (2), Pac-12 (2), Mountain West (2), Missouri Valley (1), West Coast (1), Conference USA (1).