RTC Top 25: Week Ten

Posted by Walker Carey on January 20th, 2014

Another week of the college basketball season is in the books and with that came results that had a significant impact on this week’s RTC25. Previously unbeaten and third-ranked Wisconsin experienced the agony of defeat twice this past week, as the Badgers fell on the road to Indiana on Tuesday and were surprised at home by upstart #15 Michigan on Saturday. Staying within the Big Ten, Ohio State‘s losing streak reached three games with Thursday’s loss at Minnesota. Previously 11th-ranked Iowa State and previously 17th-ranked Baylor also had tough weeks. The Cyclones were bested at home by #8 Kansas on Monday before dropping another game at Texas on Saturday. The Bears suffered a shocking defeat at the hands of Texas Tech on Wednesday before returning home to Waco and blowing a late lead in a loss to Oklahoma. We are now in the thick of things in conference play, and if the past several weeks can serve as any indication, the excitement and surprises will continue throughout the remainder of the season. The quick n’ dirty analysis of this week’s poll is after the jump.

rtc25 01.20.14

Quick n’ dirty analysis:

  • Arizona is the Consensus #1 Team for a Sixth Consecutive Week. The Wildcats only played once this past week and they were victorious with a resounding home victory over intrastate rival Arizona State. Sean Miller’s squad will stay in Tucson this week with games against Colorado on Thursday and Utah on Sunday. While the unbeaten Wildcats figure to be favorites in both contests, the Buffaloes and Utes both proved this past week – in convincing wins over USC and UCLA, respectively – that they are teams that cannot be taken lightly.
  • Kansas Rises to #8. After going through some growing pains during their grueling non-conference schedule, the Jayhawks are now red hot in Big 12 play. They ran their conference mark to 4-0 this past week with wins at #18 Iowa State and at home versus #9 Oklahoma State. Kansas has the opportunity to get to 6-0 in BIg 12 play this week with a Monday showdown at home against Baylor and a trip to TCU – where the Jayhawks were stunningly upset last season – on Saturday.
  • Michigan Continues to Make a Move. The Wolverines ran their Big Ten record to 5-0 this past week with a home victory over Penn State and a very impressive win at #10 Wisconsin. Since losing forward Mitch McGary to back surgery in late December, Michigan has adjusted its style of play and achieved terrific results. Things get a bit tougher this week, as the Wolverines host #7 Iowa on Wednesday before making the trip to East Lansing to battle #3 Michigan State on Saturday. Even at 5-0, the Wolverines are still widely viewed as a second-tier conference contender, but if they can continue their victorious ways this week, they will have to be seen as a legitimate threat for the conference crown.
  • Two New Teams. #23 California and #25 Kansas State enter the poll after both completing unbeaten weeks. The Golden Bears earned two substantial victories over Pac-12 foes Washington and Washington State. The Wildcats ran their Big 12 record to a respectable 4-1 with home victories over Oklahoma and West Virginia.

Game of the Week. #15 Michigan vs. #3 Michigan State. These two rivals will duke it out Saturday in what should be a hotly contested affair. Entering this week, they are alone at the top of the Big Ten standings with identical 5-0 records. The intrigue is compounded by the fact that the Wolverines have already shown they can beat top competition on the road with their win over Wisconsin, while the Spartans have been taken to overtime (in wins over Ohio State and Minnesota) in their last two conference home games. A key to this game will be the health of standout Michigan State forward Adreian Payne, who has sat out the team’s last three games with a foot injury.

Keep Tabs On. #22 Creighton vs. #5 Villanova, #15 Michigan vs. #7 Iowa, #25 Kansas State vs. #18 Iowa State.

Conference Call: Big Ten (6), Big 12 (4), ACC (3), AAC (3), Pac-12 (2), SEC (2), Atlantic 10 (2), Big East (1), Missouri Valley (1), Mountain West (1).

WCarey (162 Posts)


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8 Responses to “RTC Top 25: Week Ten”

  1. Gus says:

    Can you explain how Kansas is ranked higher than SDSU on 5 of the 6 ballots even though SDSU beat Kansas at their own house breaking a 68-game home non-conference streak.

  2. rtmsf says:

    Can’t speak for everyone, but my essential reason is that I think Kansas is the better team right now.

  3. Gus says:

    I respectfully disagree but I understand your logic.

    I don’t understand ranking SDSU 18 or even outside the top 10. 3 wins against tanked opponents. Arguably one of the best defenses, and winning IN KANSAS, and a neutral court win against Creighton. Our resume should be getting better not worse. Yes, BO I’m calling you out! How did we drop two rankings after a week where we won out???

  4. rtmsf says:

    Gus – I can only speak for myself here, but I think it’s also important to note that resume is not necessarily the same as rankings. Villanova rose all the way to #4 in the AP and our poll this week based on its resume, but I’m not sure anybody in America thinks that they were the fourth best team (even before last night). You should listen to our RTC Podcast, b/c we talk rankings all the time. Thanks for the comments. I’ll make sure BO sees them as well. Take care.

  5. BO says:

    Thanks for the comment, I’d like to take the chance to respectfully defend my rankings. Here are a few points I’d like to make.

    1) A poll is subjective, a resume/tournament seed is objective (for the most part). Part of putting together a poll is having differing opinions, as the pollsters here clearly do. Look at the disparity in the ranking of Florida, Wichita State, Louisville, Michigan, Ohio State, etc. You’ll find that your team isn’t the only one where there is disagreement.

    2) Was Kansas a great win? Absolutely. With a terrific defense like SDSU has, combined with Kansas having an off night, it was the perfect storm. KU has played in that time slot (4:30pm eastern on NFL Wild Card Sunday on CBS) in four of the past five seasons and struggled (both in Ws & Ls) EVERY time. Kansas was favored by 10.5 points in that game for a reason (and would be favored if they played SDSU again), but upsets do happen as we know.

    3) I value what I see more than anything else when ranking teams. I see a fantastic SDSU defense but also a team that struggles to score. Defense keeps you in games but offense, combined with defense, is what turns a team from very good into top 10 caliber (which is where you said SDSU should be). My top 10 teams this week all have great offenses. Look at the cluster of teams I have in the back half of my poll: SDSU, Ohio State, St. Louis, Cincinnati. All of them struggle offensively, some more than others. SDSU is actually the most efficient of the bunch and all are elite defensive teams. All those teams have a low ceiling because of their offensive struggles.

    4) In addition to what I see, I factor in the Pomeroy ratings to some degree. SDSU is #21 there, so I’ve given them a little boost up from where the efficiency metrics have them.

    5) A too close for comfort home win over a bad Fresno State team and just 0.94 PPP at home against a UNLV team that’s really down this year did not impress me and raised a red flag, hence the drop of two spots to #18.

    6) SDSU is also hurt by its schedule. While games against Arizona, Kansas and Creighton are terrific, the rest of the schedule isn’t good. SDSU will play 30 regular season games and only 3 (already played) will be against consensus top 50 teams. SDSU deserves credit for going 2-1 against those teams and that’s why it is in my top 25. But it’s hard to gauge just exactly where this team is at when the schedule will remain poor until tournament time. Maybe I’m too conservative because of that, but I don’t think it’s a ridiculous view.

    7) It’s not just a SDSU thing. I dropped Syracuse one spot despite winning two games this week because I wasn’t impressed when it played Pittsburgh. I kept Cincinnati in the same spot despite two wins for similar reasons after failing to be impressed by wins over Temple and South Florida.

  6. Gus says:

    1) Thanks for the reminder of how a ranking works.

    2) You’re opinion is that Kansas had a bad night, my opinion is that it was the defense that caused that “off night”. They were out rebounded, our coached and out played. I know they were favored to lose that game but to not give credit for an astounding win, but instead accrediting it to an off night, in PHOG, is not logical to me. Later in the conversation you say how we were hurt by a poor performance to an inferior team (Fresno St.) even though we pulled it our on our “off night”, yet in your eyes Kansas was not hurt by losing to an “inferior team”.

    3) I respect the logic, I just don’t respect your ceiling because a game should always be counted on with wins, first and foremost. While I understand that SDSU has hit your ceiling, putting up W’s night after night even without offense is something to be respected, and deserving of a higher rand than 18.

    4) No argument there. I respect KenPom rankings too but I refer back to the value in actually winning a game. Whether it is with defense or offense.

    5) I refer to Comment 2

    6) I agree that you have a very conservative view, but in that same logic have we hit a ceiling? Is that it, the more we win the more we go down? How many one loss teams are there? Does Creighton winning at Nova bring us down further?

    7) I saw that and am just as baffled

    8) I write this with all due respect, I enjoy RTC and am an avid reader, I just couldn’t hold back this time. I thank you for the conversation.

  7. Gus says:

    In addition, because I have nothing better to do on my lunch break:

    Team 1 2 3
    RPI 26 13 32
    SOS 88 68 61
    NCONSOS 111 59 104
    vs25 0-2 2-1 0-2
    vs50 0-2 2-1 1-2
    vs100 3-2 3-0 4-3
    kPOM 24 21 29

    Those are the teams you ranked 16-18 (not in order). I know its subjective, but sometimes its better to take another look.

  8. BO says:

    You said:

    “Later in the conversation you say how we were hurt by a poor performance to an inferior team (Fresno St.) even though we pulled it our on our “off night”, yet in your eyes Kansas was not hurt by losing to an “inferior team”.

    First of all, the gap between Kansas and SDSU is so small compared to the huge gap between SDSU and Fresno. You’re comparing apples to oranges.

    Second, you said KU wasn’t hurt in the rankings for losing to SDSU. Kansas WAS punished in my rankings for losing to SDSU. Check our Week 8 poll. I ranked SDSU 15th that week and Kansas 17th, a drop of 8 spots from the previous week. Things have changed a lot since then.

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