RTC Top 25: Week SixPosted by Walker Carey on December 23rd, 2013
Another week of the college basketball season is in the books and if there was a theme of this past week, it would have been the setbacks suffered by several undefeated teams. The first team to fall from the ranks of the unbeaten was Pittsburgh, which suffered its first loss to Cincinnati on Tuesday at the Jimmy V Classic. This theme continued Wednesday when previously eighth-ranked and unbeaten Connecticut suffered its first setback at home against Stanford. Then on Saturday, previously unbeaten and 19th-ranked Massachusetts tasted its first defeat of the season when the Minutemen lost to Florida State. Similarly, Missouri and Saint Mary’s — each a previously unbeaten team that received votes in the poll last week — had their perfect seasons come to an end against Illinois and South Carolina, respectively. With only nine unbeaten teams now left (#1 Arizona, #2 Syracuse, #4 Ohio State, #5 Wisconsin, #8 Villanova, #9 Oregon, #12 Wichita State, #14 Iowa State, and Toledo), it will be interesting to see which among this group will remain unbeaten the longest. The quick n’ dirty analysis of this week’s poll is after the jump.
Quick n’ dirty analysis.
- Arizona Remains the Consensus #1 Team. The Wildcats did not have too challenging of a week, as their only game was against Southern University — a game the Wildcats easily won. With the Christmas holiday this week, Arizona once again only has one game scheduled, on Monday at home against Northern Arizona. It’s logical to assume that the Wildcats are likely to be #1 again in next week’s poll.
- North Carolina’s Interesting Season Continues. The Tar Heels, which had bolted all the way up to #11 in last week’s poll on the strength of a home win over Kentucky, lost to unranked Texas at home on Wednesday before needing overtime to best unranked Davidson on Saturday. Interestingly enough, the major storyline surrounding North Carolina this past week took place away from the court, as forward Leslie McDonald was reinstated to the team while the school announced Friday that it would not seek reinstatement for suspended wing P.J. Hairston, whose career in Chapel Hill is now over.
- Differing Opinions on Duke and Kentucky. The Blue Devils took care of business Thursday at Madison Square Garden in a fairly convincing victory over UCLA, but that did not result in a greater degree of consistency about Duke among our pollsters. The Blue Devils were ranked as high as #7 and as low as #17 on this week’s ballots. Kentucky defeated Belmont on Saturday in its first game since falling to North Carolina, but some of our pollsters were still not overly impressed with the victory, as the Wildcats were ranked as high as #11 but as low as #21. Perhaps the upcoming home game against #3 Louisville will settle things.
- Two New Teams. #24 Michigan and #25 Florida State entered the poll this week, as Gonzaga and Pittsburgh fell out after their losses. Michigan – the only team in the RTC25 with four losses – notched a crucial win Saturday over Stanford at the Barclays Center. Florida State also turned some heads over the weekend by defeating previously unbeaten Massachusetts.
Game of the Week. #8 Villanova vs. #2 Syracuse. These two undefeated former Big East foes will battle at the Carrier Dome on Saturday afternoon in a game that should draw plenty of national attention. The Wildcats have already shown that they are capable of knocking off elite teams by defeating Kansas at the Battle 4 Atlantis and following it up with a championship win over Iowa. If the Wildcats are able to defeat Syracuse next weekend, they will have proven that they are on the short list of the top teams in the country. If Syracuse wins, on the other hand, the Orange will solidify its standing and all but guarantee that they will enter ACC play with an unscathed record.
Keep Tabs On. Diamond Head Classic (Monday-Wednesday) featuring #14 Iowa State; #17 Kentucky vs. #3 Louisville; Providence vs. #22 Massachusetts.
Conference Call: Big Ten (5) ACC (4) Big 12 (4), AAC (3), Pac-12 (3), SEC (2), Big East (1), Missouri Valley (1), Atlantic 10 (1), Mountain West (1).