RTC Top 25: Week 13Posted by KDoyle on February 11th, 2013
Sorry, Indiana, but you’re the new #1 team. It is not very often that a team can lose a game during the week and actually move up to the #1 spot, but that’s what happened after Florida was dismantled at Arkansas and the #3 and #4 teams both lost too. Many will clamor that Duke should be the top team, and perhaps they should be with just two losses on its record, but the Blue Devils team that squeaked out a win against Boston College on Sunday certainly didn’t look like #1 material. The big story of the week was rather the rise of another ACC team, the Miami Hurricanes; the ‘Canes beat up on North Carolina to move to a perfect 10-0 in conference play. It must be the first time in history that an ACC team has defeated Duke and North Carolina by a combined 50+ points (56, to be exact), in less than a month’s span, right? Overshadowed by all of the movement in the Top 10 are four new teams entering the RTC25. With its thrilling overtime win over Michigan, Wisconsin is up to #19, while Colorado State makes an appearance for the first time this season. Lastly, there must be an obligatory mention of the luck of the Irish as Notre Dame somehow beat Louisville in five overtimes — so there you go, Notre Dame, welcome back to the RTC25.
The Quick n’ Dirty after the jump…
Quick n’ Dirty Analysis.
- A New #1… Again. For the fifth time in six weeks, there is a new #1 in the RTC25. Unfortunately for Indiana, this means they will undoubtedly lose to either Nebraska or Purdue next week. Despite sliding up one spot, the Hoosiers could hardly be satisfied with their performance last week. Leading then 2-7 Illinois by eight points with less than three minutes remaining and then blowing the game was a bad loss for the Hoosiers; the loss was even tougher to swallow as they fell asleep on an inbounds play by allowing the Illini to win as time expired. Fortunately for Indiana, Florida, Michigan, and Kansas were all even less impressive. Although they move into the #1 position somewhat by default, we still believe Indiana is the top team in America — at this moment, at least.
- High Risers and Big Droppers. Wisconsin, after its near-miracle win over Michigan and a solid double-overtime victory over Iowa, made a big splash in the RTC25 at #19 — a seven-spot jump. The Badgers have been on pollsters’ radars since their win at Indiana in mid-January, but losses to Iowa, Michigan State, and Ohio State put them in the ARV category for the last few weeks. Although a 17-7 record may indicate a mediocre team on the surface, our pollsters recognize the difficulty of the Big Ten — a primary reason Indiana is #1 instead of Duke — and having an 8-3 conference record is surely worthy of a Top 25 ranking. Farther down south, Miami (FL) continues to climb in the RTC25. Just a few weeks ago, the ‘Canes weren’t even a ranked team, and now they are all the way up to #3. It is now safe to call Jim Larranaga’s team for real and here to stay. Kansas, meanwhile, is in a serious state of disarray. Losing on the road at Oklahoma and at home to a solid Oklahoma State team is understandable, to a degree, but to TCU? To Texas Christian University? There is little doubt that the Jayhawks have one of the most imposing frontcourts in college basketball, but their lack of a capable point guard is beginning to rear its ugly head. Things don’t get much easier for Kansas as they host in-state rival Kansas State tonight.
- How to Rank Colorado State? The Rams are ranked, but it doesn’t come without some dispute. Like every team in the Mountain West save for New Mexico, pollsters have largely been befuddled with how to rank these teams each week. Sporting a 19-4 record and 6-2 mark in the MW, Colorado State has cracked the RTC25 for the first time this season, but garnered votes from just five of the nine voters. Ranked as high as #15 on one ballot, they will have an opportunity to win all voters over as three of their next four games come against San Diego State, UNLV, and New Mexico.
- Big East vs. Big Ten. The Big Ten is clearly America’s best and most difficult conference this season — there is little argument about that. It is worth noting, however, that the Big East has two more teams ranked in this week’s RTC25. That may be attributed to the upper echelon Big East teams beating up on the bottom four teams in the conference, while the Big Ten only has two such teams in Penn State and Nebraska. Also interesting to note is that despite having two more teams ranked, the average ranking of a Big East team is #16 compared to #8 for the Big Ten.
- Defending Their Poll: Question posed to Kevin Doyle (KD): “Four pollsters have Arizona ranked as a Top 10 team, while five have them outside looking in. Despite their 20-3 record, you have them slotted down at #14 — the second-lowest ranking. Arizona will be a Top 10 team in the AP and Coaches poll, so why do you have them ranked so low?” KD: Don’t look at their record, but rather look at their play on the floor. Yes, the 20-3 record cannot be discounted, but Arizona has not impressed me at all throughout Pac-12 play. An 8-3 mark with their latest result a loss to California — truth be told, they’re fortunate not to be 7-4 after they lucked out against Colorado — and a few close wins against Utah, Washington, and Stanford doesn’t exactly excite me. Place the ‘Cats side-by-side any team ranked in the Top 10, and I don’t think they’re at that level right now. Like the Kansas Jayhawks, Arizona lacks that rock of a point guard — I’m not sure Mark Lyons is that kind of player — and that will come back to hurt them come March.
Game of the Week. #2 Michigan at #6 Michigan State. They tend to remain under the radar during the regular season, but there may not be another team in the country that is playing as solid basketball as Michigan State. They have won nine of their last 10 games and are looking like the team many expected back in October. A home date with Michigan on Tuesday is the clear GOTW. Michigan is 3-1 versus MSU in their last four meetings.
Keep Tabs On. #5 Florida vs. Kentucky, #8 Gonzaga at St. Mary’s, #11 Ohio State at #19 Wisconsin, #12 Pittsburgh at #18 Marquette, #13 Kansas vs. #14 Kansas State, #16 Georgetown vs. #18 Marquette and at #24 Cincinnati, #21 San Diego State at #23 Colorado State
Four New Faces. Wisconsin, Notre Dame, and Virginia Commonwealth all enter the RTC25 again after being ranked in previous weeks, while Colorado State is a legitimately new face having not been ranked this season.
Conference Call. Big East (7), Big Ten (5), Big 12 (3), Mountain West (3), ACC (2), Atlantic 10 (2), Pac-12 (1), SEC (1), West Coast (1).