RTC Top 25: Week 16Posted by KDoyle on March 4th, 2013
Despite dropping a game at Minnesota last week, Indiana remains the #1 team in the RTC25 for the fourth straight week. In fact, Indiana was the clear choice for the top spot by garnering six #1 votes and three #2 votes. Duke and Gonzaga both follow the Hoosiers, but their average rank was 4.00 compared to Indiana’s 1.33, showing just how confident RTC voters were in picking the Hoosiers. Interesting to note that #4 Louisville also picked up a first place vote, and the argument can certainly be made that they deserve more consideration as the #1 team. Since losing three straight in late January, the Cardinals are 8-1 with their lone loss coming in five overtimes at Notre Dame. Further down in the RTC25, North Carolina finally makes a return tied at #23. The Heels were ranked #14 in the preseason poll, but have been unranked ever since Week Three. Winners of its last five games, North Carolina is playing their best ball of the season.
More good stuff with the Quick n’ Dirty after the jump…
Quick n’ Dirty Analysis.
- Indiana Still #1. With Indiana and Duke both losing last week, it looked as if Gonzaga may be the #1 team come Monday, but that’s not the case here at RTC. In fact, the Zags didn’t even pick up a first place vote. While it probably wouldn’t have been wrong to award Gonzaga the #1 ranking — after all, they do have the nation’s best record at 29-2 — our pollsters have shown no shortage of love to Big Ten teams this year. It is without question the best conference in the country, which is a major reason Indiana remains ranked as the top team. Duke received two #1 votes due to their win over Miami (FL) coupled with the return of Ryan Kelly, and Louisville picked up the final #1 vote.
- High Risers and Big Droppers. Louisville rises six spots from #10 to inside the Top 5 at #4 after wins over DePaul and Syracuse. Is there a better defense in the country than Louisville’s? Maybe not. With their explosive backcourt and tough defense, the Cardinals are a team that can advance deep in March. Arizona continues to tailspin and demonstrate why many believe them to be an overrated team. The ‘Cats dropped both of their games last week to USC and UCLA. After beginning the season 14-0, they’re 9-6 in their last 15 games and sit at fourth place in the Pac-12. Everyone’s favorite team — the Butler Bulldogs — have struggled as well lately, and have fallen from the RTC25 altogether. Their most recent setback was an embarrassing 32-point loss at Virginia Commonwealth. After their win over Gonzaga, Butler was a Top 10 team in the RTC25, but now just received one vote this week.
- How to Rank Gonzaga? Speaking of Gonzaga, where should they be ranked? Is it a mistake to not have them as the #1 team? None of the pollsters here at RTC believe they’re the top team as Gonzaga didn’t receive a single #1 vote. In fact, they’re ranked as low as #9 in one poll. Despite running the table in the West Coast Conference, it is always difficult to gauge just how good Gonzaga is as many of their games come against less than challenging competition — of their 16 league games, 10 came against teams ranked outside the Top 100, according to Pomeroy.
Games of the Week. #1 Indiana at #7 Michigan. The Hoosiers won round one in Bloomington, but this time the game takes place in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines are just 4-4 in their last eight games with the real clunker coming at Penn State. A win over Indiana to conclude the regular season would keep them in the running for a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Keep Tabs On. #1 Indiana vs. #12 Ohio State, #2 Duke at #23 North Carolina, #4 Louisville vs. #22 Notre Dame, #6 Georgetown vs. #17 Syracuse, #10 Michigan State vs. #19 Wisconsin, #11 Kansas State at #13 Oklahoma State, #15 St. Louis vs. La Salle.
Conference Tournaments Begin. It’s that time of the year where teams will officially have their season come to a close. Sad times, indeed, for those unfortunate schools, but it does mean that the Madness is just around the corner. Conference tournaments officially tip off on Tuesday afternoon as Winthrop plays Radford in the Big South Tournament. The Power Six conference tournaments, however, do not get under way until next week.
Three New Faces. Virginia Commonwealth, North Carolina, and Oregon all return to the RTC25. VCU and Oregon have been frequent visitors throughout the year, but Carolina has been on the outside since December. Welcome back, Tar Heel Nation.
Conference Call. Big East (6), Big Ten (5), ACC (3), Big 12 (3), Mountain West (2), Atlantic 10 (2), Pac-12 (2), SEC (1), West Coast (1).