RTC Top 25: Week OnePosted by Walker Carey on November 18th, 2013
Week one is in the books. One of the reasons college basketball is so great is because elite teams choose to play other elite teams early in the season. This was the case last week, as Michigan State played Kentucky and Kansas played Duke in Tuesday’s Champions Classic in Chicago. The Spartans and Jayhawks were victorious in these marquee match-ups, and as a result, they both leaped the Wildcats and the Blue Devils into the top few spots of our poll. Losing to top competition did not impact Kentucky and Duke’s positions too much, as they both remained in the top five. Michigan was the only team that fell out of the preseason top 10, as the Wolverines were victim on the road to Iowa State and Hilton Magic on Sunday afternoon. Due to the victory, the previously unranked Cyclones also moved into this week’s RTC25.
This week’s QnD after the jump…
Quick ‘n Dirty Analysis.
- Michigan State takes over the top spot – The Spartans are the new #1 team in the RTC25 after their impressive victory over then-#1 Kentucky in the Champions Classic. Michigan State also earned victories over McNeese State and Columbia last week – the latter of which was a hard-fought 62-53 win. The Spartans are likely not going to be challenged this week as they are set to face Portland at home on Monday night and Virginia Tech at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Friday night, followed by the winner of the Oklahoma/Seton Hall game.
- Wisconsin makes a significant jump – Florida was without the services of a few key contributors when it lost at Wisconsin on Tuesday night, but that does not make the win any less impressive. It is still early, but it looks like Bo Ryan’s squad is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten and beyond once again this season. The Badgers jumped nine spots in the poll from #20 to #11 this week.
- Michigan and Florida fall after road losses – Early season road tests were not too kind to Michigan and Florida, as they both lost games in hostile environments. Mitch McGary returned from injury for the Wolverines, but that was not enough to prevent them from falling to a feisty Iowa State team in Ames on Sunday. As a result of the setback, Michigan fell from #7 to #14. As mentioned earlier, a depleted Florida squad fell to Wisconsin in Madison, which caused the Badgers to fall four spots from #11 to #16.
- North Carolina goes from #12 to Also Receiving Votes – Of the preseason Top 25, no team suffered a worse loss than the Tar Heels, who lost at home to Ohio Valley Conference stalwart Belmont on Sunday afternoon. North Carolina is still without the services of the suspended P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald and judging from the team’s performance Sunday, it might not be a Top 25-caliber team until it is back to full strength.
Game of the Week. #17 Memphis at #8 Oklahoma State on Tuesday night. This match-up is full of intrigue, as the Tigers will attempt to prove they are capable of defeating a Top 25-caliber team – a task Memphis has famously struggled with in the Josh Pastner era. Oklahoma State is looking to prove it is a legitimate top 10 team and that the preseason chatter about it challenging Kansas in the Big 12 was not erroneous.
Keep Tabs On – #21 Iowa State vs. BYU; #10 VCU vs. Florida State; #14 Michigan vs. Long Beach State; #18 Connecticut vs. Boston College; #22 New Mexico vs. UAB; #3 Kansas vs. Towson.
Five new faces – Creighton, Wichita State, Iowa State, Baylor, and Virginia all join the Top 25 after posting solid opening weeks. Creighton, Wichita State, Iowa State and Baylor are all undefeated. Virginia joins the Top 25 even though it suffered a home loss to #10 VCU on Tuesday. We’re guessing that the pollsters saw enough in that game to think the Cavaliers worthy.
Also Receiving Votes – Eleven other teams received votes this week, compared to nine in the previous poll. Marquette, Georgetown, and North Carolina all fell out of the Top 25 but still received votes. The other eight teams are fairly diverse – stretching from Big Ten power Indiana to Ivy League favorite Harvard.
Conference Call – Big Ten (5), Big 12 (4), AAC (3), ACC (3), Pac-12 (3), SEC (2), Atlantic 10 (1), West Coast (1), Big East (1), Missouri Valley (1), Mountain West (1).