RTC Top 25: Week 9Posted by KDoyle on January 14th, 2013
And then there were none. We entered last week with four undefeated teams — Duke, Michigan, Arizona, and Wyoming — but all faltered. Michigan was technically the last remaining undefeated team, but that lasted for less than 24 hours as the Wolverines lost Sunday afternoon to Ohio State in Columbus. Due to the crazy week that was, Louisville now moves into the #1 spot for the first time this season. The Cardinals’ lone loss came against Duke in the Bahamas back in November, and they hold the slimmest of edges on the Blue Devils in our poll (more on that after the Qn’D). It was also a tough week for two Big East teams while the Pac-12 is experiencing a resurgence with two teams entering the RTC25.
The Quick n’ Dirty after the jump…
Quick n’ Dirty Analysis.
- A New #1. There was much conjecture on Sunday evening over who the new #1 team in the country would be come Monday morning. Would it be possible that Duke night remain as the top dog despite losing to NC State over the weekend? Here at RTC, Louisville slipped past Duke (with a 1.9 average compared to Duke’s 2.1 average) and is the #1 team in the country for the first time this season. It is interesting to note that Duke actually garnered more #1 votes (five) compared with Louisville (four), but the Cardinals’ four #2 votes elevated them to the top spot (Duke received three #4 votes). There will be more debate, of course, but it is hard to argue with Louisville’s ranking. Arguably the stingiest defense in the country and boasting an electric backcourt of Russ Smith and Peyton Siva, Louisville has been nothing short of impressive in the first two months of the season. Also, let’s remember that in their loss to Duke, they were without the services of Gorgui Dieng. Pollsters also may be taking into consideration Ryan Kelly’s injured foot when ranking Duke. Lastly, Indiana picked up the final #1 vote, and rightfully so. When the Hoosiers are clicking on all cylinders on offense, they seemingly can’t be stopped. One thing is for sure, the separation among the top five team is minimal.
- High Risers and Big Droppers. Ohio State and NC State had critical wins over the weekend as both teams thirsted for a resume building and signature win. The Buckeyes had come up short in their three prior tests against Top 25 teams (Duke, Kansas, and Illinois), but knocking off Michigan elevates them back into the thick of the poll — another loss may have had people questioning whether they deserved a Top 25 ranking at all. Similarly, NC State eradicated some of the early season thoughts that they were overrated. While a top 10 ranking in the preseason may have been premature, there is an abundance of talent on NC State, and that showed against Duke. Conversely, Illinois and Georgetown are plummeting. The Illini were a hot team after a 12-0 start that included winning the Maui Invitational and a victory at Gonzaga, but have lost four of their last six games to drop from #15 to #24. Georgetown’s anemic offense continues to rear its ugly head, the latest such cases in a 73-45 loss to Pittsburgh and 49-48 loss to Marquette. While their defense is unquestionably solid, the Hoyas’ offense looks like it will be a recurring issue throughout the year.
- How to Rank New Mexico and UNLV? Is it east coast bias, or are all pollsters just not sold on two of the supposed top Mountain West teams? UNLV went unranked in five polls, while New Mexico is ranked as high as #18 but also unranked in two polls. UNLV will be tested by #13 San Diego State this week while New Mexico has a dangerous road game at Boise State and a home date with Colorado State. There is no such thing as a “gimme game” in the MW this year.
- Defending Their Poll: Question posed to NVR1983: You were the only one to have Michigan State unranked. Why no love for Sparty?
- NVR1983: The Spartans were right on the cusp of being in the top 25 and if I extended the poll a little further they probably would have been #26 in my rankings. In the end, I felt that Michigan State had not done enough recently to impress me compared to some of the other teams that just cracked the top 25, specifically UCLA. If the Spartans take care of business on the road at Penn State on Wednesday and manage beat Ohio State on Saturday, they will probably be back in the poll at around #15-#20.
Game of the Week. #1 Louisville vs #6 Syracuse. Will Louisville’s stay at the top be a brief one? Its game against Syracuse this weekend will provide answers. Also, the Cardinals better not overlook Connecticut in Hartford tonight as the Huskies are fresh off a win against Notre Dame.
Keep Tabs On. #9 Gonzaga at #15 Butler; #3 Michigan at #10 Minnesota, #8 Florida vs #17 Missouri, #12 Ohio State vs #16 Michigan State, #13 San Diego State vs #23 UNLV, #21 UCLA vs #25 Oregon
Three New Faces. UCLA, New Mexico, Oregon. How about the much maligned Pac-12? All of a sudden there are three conference teams (including #7 Arizona) appearing in the RTC25. The Ducks snuck in for the first time this season after being on the edge for a few weeks, while UCLA reappears after a rough start to the season.
Conference Call. Big Ten (6), Big East (3), Mountain West (3), Pac-12 (3), SEC (2), ACC (2), Atlantic 10 (2), Big 12 (2), Missouri Valley (1), West Coast (1).