RTC Top 25: Week ThreePosted by Walker Carey on December 2nd, 2013
Feast Week usually marks the start of the craziness in the college basketball season and this past week was no different. While the week was kind to #1 Michigan State, #2 Arizona, #3 Kentucky, and #4 Syracuse at or near the top of the poll, #6 Kansas, #9 Oklahoma State, and #10 Duke, among others, experienced the agony of defeat. Arizona shot up to #2 following its victories over Drexel and Duke to take home the Preseason NIT title, while Syracuse remained undefeated out in Maui with wins over Minnesota, California, and #22 Baylor to claim the tournament crown there. Kansas suffered its first setback of the young season on Friday night as the young Jayhawks fell to fast-rising #16 Villanova in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis. Oklahoma State, which had throttled #21 Memphis by 21 in Stillwater back on November 19, fell to the same Tigers’ squad Sunday evening in the final of the Old Spice Classic. As they say, college basketball is where the unexpected becomes the ordinary. The quick n’ dirty analysis of this week’s poll is after the jump.
Quick n’ dirty analysis:
- Michigan State Remains At #1 For A Third Consecutive Week. The Spartans took care of business in their only game of the week by topping Mount Saint Mary’s on Friday. They did overcome a bit of adversity though, as star guard Gary Harris sat out of that contest dealing with an ankle injury. Tom Izzo’s squad will be tested this Wednesday, however, as a North Carolina squad that has already defeated Louisville will invade the Breslin Center for what should be a hotly-contested affair.
- North Carolina is Enigmatic. The Tar Heels – who were ranked #18 last week and are now back to Others Receiving Votes – have had an interesting set of Sundays these past three weeks. Two weeks ago, they were stunned by upstart Belmont in Chapel Hill. Last Sunday, they put together an extremely strong performance in upsetting Louisville in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic. Yesterday they traveled to UAB to battle former Roy Williams’ assistant Jerod Haase’s Blazers and they were shockingly upended, 63-59. It is still unknown what this season holds for the Tar Heels – especially with the ambiguous status of suspended swingman P.J. Hairston – but it will definitely be interesting to keep tabs on this team as the season progresses.
- Feast Week Was Very Kind to Villanova. The Wildcats certainly did not enter the Battle 4 Atlantis as the favorites to take home the title, but that is exactly what Jay Wright’s team did with wins over USC, Kansas and Iowa. A majority of the preseason talk in the Big East centered on Marquette, Georgetown and Creighton, but Villanova utilized this past week to show that it also has the ability to compete in what should be a very entertaining league.
- Very Strong Consensus at the Top. All eight of our pollsters had Michigan State at #1, Arizona at #2 and Kentucky at #3. This shows there is a strong feeling that those three teams are right now the best three teams in the country.
- Four New Teams in the Top 25. Villanova enters at #16 following its title run at Battle 4 Atlantis. Memphis enters at #21 following its title run and upset victory over Oklahoma State at the Old Spice Classic. San Diego State enters at #24 following its title run and upset victories over Creighton and Marquette at the Wooden Legacy Classic. Pittsburgh enters at #25 after its title run at the Legends Classic.
Game of the Week. #19 Michigan at #10 Duke. There are a lot of intriguing match-ups on the docket for the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge, but the most intriguing might just be Michigan traveling to Durham to take on the Blue Devils in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Wolverines and Blue Devils enter Tuesday night’s game with two losses each and you better believe both teams will be searching for a big victory to help offset some early-season woes. It will also be interesting to see if Michigan sophomore guard Nik Stauskas is able to play, as his status is still unknown after missing Friday’s game against Coppin State with an ankle injury.
Keep Tabs On (THIS IS A LOADED WEEK). #13 Florida vs. #11 Connecticut, Indiana vs. #4 Syracuse, Notre Dame vs. #18 Iowa, North Carolina vs. #1 Michigan State, Maryland vs. #7 Ohio State, #8 Wisconsin vs. Virginia, #3 Kentucky vs. #22 Baylor, Colorado vs. #6 Kansas, Marquette vs. #8 Wisconsin, Missouri vs. #17 UCLA, BYU vs. #20 Massachusetts, Ole Miss vs. #12 Oregon.
Conference Call: Big Ten (5), Big 12 (4), ACC (3), Pac-12 (3), AAC (3), SEC (2), Big East (1), Missouri Valley (1), Mountain West (1), Atlantic 10 (1), WCC (1).