RTC Top 25: Final EditionPosted by KDoyle on March 19th, 2013
In a season where the #1 ranked team in the country fluctuated almost weekly, Louisville is the top team in the final RTC25 this year. In fact, the Cardinals are the consensus #1 team after their very strong showing at the Big East Tournament last week. This isn’t the first time Louisville has been ranked as the top dog, though. After a 15-1 start they were ranked #1 for a brief stint in Week 9, but then three straight losses knocked them off their pedestal. Around the poll, it took them a while to climb back up the rankings, but New Mexico has finally cracked the Top 10. The Lobos were stellar all season in the competitive Mountain West, finishing with a 13-3 conference record and winning the MW Tournament. Further down in the RTC25, North Carolina sneaks in with Colorado State as the two last teams. It has been an up-and-down year for the Heels, but they are playing their best ball of the year at the right time.
More good stuff with the Quick n’ Dirty after the jump…
Quick n’ Dirty Analysis.
- Cards Back at #1. The ‘Ville is the overall number one seed in the NCAA Tournament, have won 13 of 14 games since their three game slip-up in the middle of Big East play, and are easily playing their best basketball of the season. Their sheer dominance in the Big East Tournament — winning all three of their games by an average of 16 points — for the second straight year has them as the odds-on favorite to cut down the nets in Atlanta.
- High Risers and Big Droppers. New Mexico and Virginia Commonwealth — two teams that are popular picks to advance deep in this year’s NCAA Tournament — both rose five spots. Despite falling in the Atlantic 10 championship to St. Louis, pollsters recognize the Rams’ propensity to excel when the spotlight is on them. Will they rise to the occasion yet again? New Mexico is a team that has flown under the radar for much of the season, but they are beginning to receive some much deserved notoriety for their consistently strong play. Michigan, meanwhile, is limping into the Dance having gone 6-6 over their last 12 games. It wasn’t too long ago that Michigan was the #1 ranked team and on the inside track for a #1 seed, but the Wolverines have holes in their defense that raises questions about their ability to advance deep in the NCAA Tournament.
- How to Rank UNLV? It has been the case throughout much of the season with UNLV and other teams from the Mountain West — how do you rank them? Clearly, the NCAA Selection Committee thinks highly enough of the MW to award them four at-large bids, but where does that leave everyone save New Mexico in terms of a Top 25 ranking? UNLV checks in as high as #16 and is ranked in four polls, but it also unranked in four polls. When the Runnin’ Rebels are at their best, there is little doubt that they’re a legitimate Top 25 team, but consistency has been an issue for much of the season.
Two New Faces. UNLV and North Carolina — two teams that have been in and out of the RTC25 all season — finish the year on the inside.
Conference Call. Big East (5), Big Ten (5), Big 12 (3), ACC (3), Mountain West (3), Atlantic 10 (2), Pac-12 (1), West Coast (1), SEC (1), Missouri Valley (1)