RTC Top 25: Week 7Posted by KDoyle on January 2nd, 2013
Apologies that we are a bit tardy in rolling out our Top 25; with the holidays behind us and the New Year officially upon us, we plan on hitting 2013 running. A fairly light week of hoops resulted in little movement in the RTC25. Duke remains #1 for the sixth straight week, Minnesota cracks the Top 10 for the first time, and NC State jumps back into the poll after making a departure for several weeks. In perhaps the most exciting game of the week, Gonzaga shot back up to #10 after a big road win in Stillwater against Oklahoma State. The Quick n’ Dirty after the jump.
Quick n’ Dirty Analysis.
- Duke, Michigan, and Louisville Stay Put. No movement in the top three as Duke thwarted off Santa Clara, Louisville defeated in-state rival Kentucky, and Michigan had little trouble with Central Michigan. After Duke does battle with Davidson later this evening, all three teams will officially be in the conference portion of their schedule.
- High Risers and Big Droppers. Gonzaga had arguably the best week of any team as they beat Baylor and went on the road and knocked off Oklahoma State. Kevin Pangos demonstrated why he is one of the most enjoyable and fun players to watch in America by averaging 27 points and shooting 11-of-17 from three in the two wins — he is just so smooth. NC State also makes an appearance back in the RTC Top 25. Since beginning the year 4-2, they’ve won seven straight games. However, they did fail to pick up a true resume-building win in the non-conference schedule as their best wins are against Connecticut and Stanford. Meanwhile, Cincinnati tumbled out of the Top 10 and Pittsburgh fell from the RTC25 altogether. Despite winning at Pittsburgh on Monday, the Bearcats also fell at home to New Mexico which dropped them from #10 to #14. Pittsburgh’s loss has them out of the poll and not even receiving a single vote in this week’s poll. Many will point to the Panthers’ incredibly weak non-conference schedule and lack of wins over top teams as a reason to not rank a 12-2 Big East team. To date, Pitt’s best win is against Lehigh.
- How to Rank Kentucky? The ‘Cats went unranked in three polls, ranked anywhere from 20-25 in six polls, and checked in at #16 in one other. At 8-4 with their only good win coming in their season opener against Maryland, it is understandable that Cal & Co. barely snuck into this week’s 25, yet it certainly wouldn’t have been a shocked if they were left out.
Game of the Week. #10 Ohio State @ #13 Illinois. A fantastic tilt to kick off the opening weekend of Big Ten basketball. Illinois may have been the biggest surprise of the non-conference as they won the Maui Invitational and beat Gonzaga in Spokane. Ohio State, on the contrary, played a very pedestrian non-conference slate and fell in their only two real tests against Duke and Kansas. Definitely a critical game for both, but maybe moreso for the Buckeyes.
Keep Tabs On. #12 Missouri vs. Bucknell, #23 Oklahoma State @ Kansas State, #24 Virginia Commonwealth vs. Lehigh. A few intriguing games pitting Top 25 teams against those on the outside looking in. In particular, the Patriot League will be in the national spotlight this weekend as Bucknell travels to Missouri and Lehigh to Virginia Commonwealth. It is probably a real longshot at this point for the Bison to build an at-large resume as they have losses to Penn State and Princeton, but a win at Missouri would go a long way. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State and Kansas State is a sneaky good Big 12 game.
One New Face. NC State. The Wolfpack haven’t been inside the RTC25 since Week 2, but are finally back in there after running off seven straight wins. Many thought that NC State was a Top 10 team in the preseason, but early season losses to Oklahoma State and Michigan and a lackluster effort against UNC Asheville raised immediate questions.
Conference Call. Big Ten (6), Big East (5), SEC (3), ACC (2), Atlantic 10 (2), Big 12 (2), Mountain West (2), Missouri Valley (1), Pac-12 (1), West Coast (1).