RTC Top 25: Week 2Posted by KDoyle on November 26th, 2012
Let’s cut right to the chase: Duke is #1 and Indiana #2. This may upset some, considering Indiana began the season as our #1 team, is a perfect 6-0 with a good win against Georgetown, has perhaps the best offensive attack in college basketball, and has shown little — if any — weakness. But, there is little denying Duke’s resume at this point (more on that after the jump). Two Big East squads—Georgetown and Cincinnati—made power moves up in the rankings after impressive weeks, while two other teams have plummeted right out of the Top 25—UCLA and Memphis. There wasn’t just movement at the top of the rankings, as five new teams have entered the Top 25 after strong showings during “Feast Week.”
This week’s QnD after the jump…
Quick ‘n Dirty Analysis.
- The Dookies at the Top—Duke surpassing Indiana as the #1 team in the country speaks to the philosophy of how many of our 10 pollsters construct their Top 25. To some who ranked Indiana #1 in the preseason, there has been no reason to bump them out of the position; they have taken care of all six teams on their schedule with relative ease (Georgetown, excepted). However, other pollsters no doubt analyzed Duke’s resume to date, and if we are to go off of body of work alone, Duke is unquestionably the #1 team in the country. No team has four wins of the caliber of Duke’s: Kentucky, Minnesota, Virginia Commonwealth, and Louisville. Three of these teams appear in the Top 25, while VCU is in the “ARV” category.
- High Risers and Big Droppers—Despite going 1-1 at the Legends Classic in Brooklyn, the Georgetown Hoyas legitimized themselves to the nation. After soundly defeating UCLA, Georgetown took Indiana to the brink before losing in overtime. Meanwhile, fellow Big East member Cincinnati is off to a 6-0 start by winning all of its games with relative ease. Junior guard Sean Kilpatrick is one to keep an eye on as he’s playing like an All-American (23-38 2FG, 18-43 3FG, 21.0 PPG). The real clunker of the week came in the wee hours of Monday morning for you East Coast folks as UCLA lost to Cal Poly 70-68. Mind you, the Bruins had an 18-point lead in the second half of this one. With the amount of talent littering the UCLA roster, there are many questions that need answering, and it starts at the top with Ben Howland. Perhaps this will be just a bump in the road that the Bruins need early in the season, but it seems like we’ve all seen this story before. A 60-45 record dating back to the 2009-10 season, the Reeves Nelson fiasco last year, and now a loss to Cal Poly and near-losses to UC Irvine and Georgia firmly places Howland on the hot seat.
- Where to Rank… NC State?—The Wolfpack were one of the hottest teams during the offseason. A Sweet Sixteen finish in the 2012 NCAA Tournament and returning much of that team along with adding a talented freshmen class had NC State as a preseason Top 10 team in many polls. Although they have a 4-1 record, a blowout loss against Oklahoma State and near-loss to UNC-Asheville has our pollsters befuddled. Five have them ranked, while five have them out of the Top 25 altogether. A huge opportunity presents NC State this week as they travel to Ann Arbor to play Michigan in the ACC / Big Ten Challenge.
- Defending Their Poll—A new feature of the QnD that we’ll roll out each week is “Defending Their Poll” where a pollster will have an opportunity to defend their Top 25. This week, Kevin Doyle (KD) will defend his.
Many will look at my poll and notice that I was one of two pollsters not to have Georgetown ranked. One could argue that the Hoyas near-win against then #1 Indiana should have been enough, but one game doesn’t completely sell me on Georgetown. Prior to the Legends Classic, Georgetown had uninspiring wins against Duquesne and Liberty. Their victory against UCLA certainly doesn’t look that impressive anymore after the Bruins’ lackluster start to the year. They led a weak Mount St. Mary’s team by just two points at halftime on Saturday (11/24) before finally deciding to wake up in the second half. Don’t get me wrong, they are a good team—one of my final teams outside of the Top 25—but I need to see more from them.
One other team I’d like to make special note of is the Ohio Bobcats. I was the only pollster to have them ranked this week as they checked in at #24. Lest we forget that Ohio advanced to the Sweet Sixteen last year (almost made it to the Elite Eight, but lost to North Carolina in overtime) and returns everyone from that team—most notably D.J. Cooper. While they haven’t exactly played a tough schedule thus far, they did trounce a decent Richmond team by 25 points and are a perfect 5-0. First-year coach Jim Christian has quite the group in Athens.
Games of the Week.—The ACC / Big Ten Challenge, specifically: #1 Duke vs. #6 Ohio State, #2 Indiana vs. #14 North Carolina, and #3 Michigan vs. #21 NC State. Three really good ones here. Duke looks to continue its impressive play at the Battle 4 Atlantis as they host Ohio State who faces their first true test of the season. North Carolina and NC State look to rebound after a tough week that saw the Heels get dismantled by Butler and the Wolfpack squeak past UNC-Asheville.
Keep Tabs On—#6 Florida vs. Marquette, #8 Kentucky @ Notre Dame, #8 Kentucky vs. Baylor, #13 Creighton vs. St. Joseph’s, #20 San Diego State vs. UCLA, #23 Minnesota @ #25 Florida State
Five new faces—Georgetown, Colorado, Minnesota, Illinois, Florida State all make a splash into the Top 25. Georgetown, Minnesota, and Florida State were all on everyone’s radar in the preseason—in fact, the Hoyas checked in at #25 in the preseason Top 25—but Colorado and Illinois didn’t even garner a vote. After defeating Baylor and Murray State in Charleston, Colorado comes in at #19, and winning the always tough Maui Invitational has Illinois at #24.
Also Receiving Votes—Thirteen teams from nine different conferences picked up votes. Of note, New Mexico was just one vote away from entering the Top 25.
Conference Call— Big Ten (6), Big East (4), ACC (4), SEC (3), Big 12 (2), Pac-12 (2), Mountain West (2), Missouri Valley (1), West Coast (1)