RTC Top 25: Week 6Posted by KDoyle on December 25th, 2012
Happy Holidays, everyone. As we enter the last major dry spell of the season this week with Christmas break upon us, this might be the last chance that you’ll have to see so little movement in our weekly poll. Next weekend features a number of intriguing games involving our Top 25 teams, and conference play looms immediately after that. Even so, there were some notable changes in this week’s poll — Syracuse and Missouri were the biggest movers — so let’s jump to the Quick n’ Dirty analysis after the jump.
Quick n’ Dirty Analysis.
- Duke and Michigan Strong #1 and #2. Duke remained unanimous at #1 for the second straight week and fifth week overall, while Michigan held on to the #2 spot for second consecutive week. Only one of this week’s eight ballots had a team other than Michigan at #2 (Indiana received one #2 vote), which is strongly suggestive that the pollsters believe that the Blue Devils and Wolverines are the best two teams in America at this point in the season.
- High Risers and Big Droppers. Syracuse’s somewhat surprising loss to Temple on Saturday raised questions about what happens to the Orange when superstar point guard Michael Carter-Williams has an off game. The short answer is… nothing good, and the pollsters punished Syracuse by dropping Jim Boeheim’s team four spots in this week’s poll. On the other hand, Missouri’s important Braggin’ Rights Game win over rival Illinois was impressive enough to cause many fence-sitters to start to believe in the Tigers, as Frank Haith’s team rose six spots from #15 to #9 this week.
- How to Rank the Irish and Gophers? The two teams that pollsters appear to be having the most disagreement about at this point in the season are Minnesota — ranging from #8 to #22 — and Notre Dame — ranging from #9 to not ranked at all. Both teams have great records, each with only one loss, but there are serious hesitations with both. Notre Dame appears to be suffering from what is admittedly a weak schedule thus far — Pomeroy rates the Irish schedule among the worst 50 in the country to this point; while the issue with Minnesota might stem from mistrust of previous years’ failures than any particular issue with this Golden Gophers team.
Game of the Week. #6 Arizona vs. #17 San Diego State. How about a Christmas Day tilt from Honolulu to determine the best team west of the Rockies? This game will garner far less attention than a certain intrastate rivalry game on Saturday, but this one arguably is more important from an RPI and national reputation perspective. SDSU failed miserably the last time it faced off with an elite team on a neutral floor (no, we’re not counting UCLA); while Arizona would solidify its buzz as a serious Final Four contender with another strong showing here.
Keep Tabs On. #24 Kentucky @ #3 Louisville. Calipari. Pitino. Wildcats. Cardinals. UK. UofL. The two teams will face off for the first time since last year’s Final Four contest with the roles reversed this time around.
One New Face. VCU. After early season losses to Wichita State, Duke, and Missouri, Shaka Smart’s team has run off six wins in a row to get to 9-3 on the season. VCU was not challenged in two games against Western Kentucky and Longwood last week, allowing the Rams to sneak into this week’s poll at #25.
Conference Call. Big Ten (6), Big East (6), SEC (3), Atlantic 10 (2), Big 12 (2), Mountain West (2), Missouri Valley (1), ACC (1), Pac-12 (1), West Coast (1).