RTC Top 25: Week FourPosted by WCarey on December 9th, 2013
Michigan State‘s early season stronghold on the top spot in the rankings has come to an end, as the Spartans were upset victims last Wednesday at home against North Carolina. The Spartans were not the only top 10 team to suffer a loss last week, as previously third-ranked Kentucky fell to Baylor on Friday in a game played at AT&T Stadium in Dallas. Previously sixth-ranked Kansas returned to action for the first time in a week on Saturday and was promptly defeated via a buzzer-beater from Colorado. As upsets of top teams has been a trend thus far, new #1 Arizona was able to remain on the winning track with a blowout win over Texas Tech and a narrow home victory over UNLV. Considering all the ranked teams that have fallen so far this season, it is safe to say that this week’s Top 25 should be on the lookout for upset-minded squads seeking a highly-ranked scalp. The quick n’ dirty analysis of this week’s poll is after the jump.
Quick n’ dirty analysis.
- There Is No Clear #2 Team. Arizona earned every vote for the #1 spot this week, but there was no such consensus when it came to the next team. #2 Syracuse, #3 Louisville, and #4 Ohio State all received votes for the #2 team in the country with the Orange ultimately receiving the nod with an average ballot placement of 3.0. This is quite different from last week when Arizona received every #2 vote from our pollsters. This has been quite the uncertain year thus far in college basketball and the lack of consensus after #1 serves to illustrate that.
- Differing Opinions on All Four Ranked Big 12 Teams. #7 Oklahoma State, #10 Kansas, #16 Iowa State, and #17 Baylor are all deserving of their rankings, but where they rank among our pollsters varies to a pretty significant degree. The Cowboys, for example, were ranked as high as #4 and as low as #11. The Jayhawks had even more of a significant gap between their highest and lowest ranking, as high as #6 and as low as #19. The Cyclones were as high as #11 and as low as #21. Even with its impressive victory over Kentucky, views on Baylor were still all over the board with the Bears as high as #9 and as low as being still unranked.
- Villanova Continues to Rise. Just two weeks ago, Villanova was unranked but now the Wildcats are all the way up to #11. During Feast Week, Jay Wright’s team pulled off upsets of Kansas and Iowa on its way to the Battle 4 Atlantis title, which got them into the rankings for the first time this year. This past week they stayed undefeated with dominant wins over fellow Philadelphia and Big 5 schools, Penn and St. Joseph’s.
- Two New Teams. #18 North Carolina reenters the poll after its upset victory over Michigan State. The Tar Heels remain an extremely difficult team to figure out, as they have wins over powerhouses Louisville and Michigan State and losses at the hands of Belmont and UAB. #22 Colorado has pulled off nine straight wins after losing its season-opener to Baylor. Of those nine wins, none were more impressive than its last-second win over Kansas on Saturday.
Game of the Week. #8 Kentucky vs. #18 North Carolina. Two of college basketball’s blue-bloods will do battle in Chapel Hill this coming Saturday. There are still plenty of questions about both the Wildcats and the Tar Heels, so next weekend’s match-up could be of great service in answering some of those. Kentucky is extremely talented, but its youth and inexperience has shown up several times thus far, so it will be interesting to see how it responds to a hostile road environment. North Carolina has been the most difficult team to define in the early season, as it has those two very impressive victories and equally head-scratching defeats. The question is which North Carolina squad will show up to play Kentucky?
Keep Tabs On. #10 Kansas vs. #15 Florida, Boise State vs. #8 Kentucky, West Virginia vs. #23 Gonzaga, #16 Iowa State vs. #19 Iowa, Michigan vs. #1 Arizona, New Mexico vs. #10 Kansas, Tennessee vs. #14 Wichita State, Illinois vs. #13 Oregon.
Conference Call: Big Ten (4) ACC (4) Big 12 (4), AAC (3), Pac-12 (3), SEC (2), Big East (1), Missouri Valley (1), WCC (1), Atlantic 10 (1), Mountain West (1).