RTC Top 25: Week 4Posted by KDoyle on December 10th, 2012
A relatively quiet week in terms of movement within the Top 25, and this coming week may be even quieter as many schools throughout the country have a lull in their schedule because of semester exams. In the Week 4 poll, the top seven teams went unchanged, and all but two teams had movement of two spots or less. The big result over the weekend was, of course, Illinois’ upset at Gonzaga. Illinois moves into our Top 10 after not even garnering a single vote in the preseason Top 25. John Groce has the Illini well on their way.
This week’s QnD after the jump…
Quick ‘n Dirty Analysis.
- Duke Still the Top Dog—Another week, and another dominating victory for Duke. The Blue Devils disposed of previously unbeaten Temple with ease, 90-67, and move to a perfect 9-0 on the year. After an 11-day hiatus, Duke doesn’t take the floor again until December 19 against Cornell. Their next true test won’t come until 2013 when they square up against an always tough Davidson team.
- High Risers and Big Droppers—The result of the Gonzaga-Illinois game on Saturday evening was responsible for much of the movement in this week’s Top 25. With its win over the ‘Zags, Illinois shot up 10 spots in the Top 25 from #20 to #10. Meanwhile, Gonzaga fell out of the Top 10 to #15. Despite winning the Maui Invitational, the Illini still had many skeptics as they had a relatively easy road to the championship, but their W in Spokane announced to the country that Illinois is indeed for real. Illinois’ three-point shooting is scary good as they shoot 40.9% as a team.
- Where to Rank… Michigan State?—After their first two games to begin the season — a loss to Connecticut in Germany and a win versus Kansas in Atlanta — Michigan State had our pollsters a bit confused. Are the Spartans a legitimate Top 10 team, or is Tom Izzo’s squad getting off to a slow start only to come on strong in Big Ten play? A loss to Miami (FL) later in November may suggest the latter. Michigan State checks in as high as #11 in one poll, but is unranked in two others.
- One ACC and Pac-12 Team—Duke and Arizona are the lone teams representing the ACC and Pac-12 in this week’s Top 25.
- Defending Their Poll: Question posed to Shane Connolly (SC): Wyoming has jumped out to an impressive 10-0 start and garnered the attention of many in the process. While I am sure they were on the radar of many pollsters, you were the only one who had the Cowboys ranked. What do you see in Wyoming that you like, and why do you have them at #25? SC: “Last week when Wyoming beat a solid Colorado team, the Cowboys showed they are more than a mid-major beating up on low-majors. This week they knocked off a pesky Illinois State team on the road. Those wins combined with several of the teams I had right around #25 last week (Baylor, Virginia Tech, Connecticut and Alabama) losing games this week gave me the chance to show Larry Shyatt’s squad some love for their undefeated start.”
Game of the Week.—#5 Florida @ #9 Arizona. A very quiet week, but this one in Tucson will be an absolute dandy. The Gators have dismantled the competition this year, but Arizona will be their biggest challenge to date. Arizona has largely been untested with Clemson being their most challenging opponent so far, so their date with Florida is very much a benchmark game for the Wildcats. Are they a legitimate Top 10 team?
Keep Tabs On—#2 Indiana vs. Butler, #6 Louisville @ Memphis, #11 Cincinnati @ Marshall, #15 Gonzaga vs. Kansas State, #17 Creighton @ California, #23 Wichita State @ Tennessee
One new face—Just one new face this week as Pittsburgh enters the Top 25 for the first time this season. The Panthers have earned little respect thus far due to their weak non-conference schedule — aside from playing Michigan in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off, their next best opponent has been Lehigh — but their 9-1 record and near upset of the Wolverines is impressive nonetheless. Pittsburgh’s next test won’t come until Big East play when they do battle with Cincinnati on New Year’s Eve.
Also Receiving Votes—Seven teams in the “ARV” category this week, which is down from 11 last week. The new name here is Wyoming, who is a perfect 10-0 with good wins over Colorado and Illinois State.
Conference Call— Big Ten (6), Big East (6), SEC (3), Mountain West (3), Big 12 (2), Missouri Valley (2), ACC (1), Pac-12 (1), West Coast (1)