RTC Top 25: Week ElevenPosted by WCarey on January 27th, 2014
With conference play now in full force, last week was one where several teams distinguished themselves as bona fide contenders in their respective conferences. Previously #22 Creighton traveled to previously #4 Villanova last Monday and the Bluejays used an epic three-point shooting performance to throttle the Wildcats in Philadelphia, 96-68. Michigan, a team that had quietly been making a move in the RTC25, had a very impressive week as well. The previously #15 Wolverines took care of business at home on Wednesday by defeating previously #7 Iowa, 75-67. John Beilein’s squad was not done there, though, as it traveled to East Lansing on Saturday and bested a previously #3 Michigan State squad (without two starters, of course). After its high quality week, Michigan is now all alone in first place in the Big Ten standings with a sterling 7-0 record. #17 Cincinnati also continued to look like a real contender in the AAC, as it remained undefeated in league play with victories over UCF and Temple. With the month of February set to begin next weekend, more teams will begin to distinguish themselves as contenders or pretenders. The quick n’ dirty analysis of this week’s poll is after the jump.
- Arizona is the Consensus #1 Team for a Seventh Consecutive Week. The Wildcats ran their record to 20-0 last week with wins over a depleted Colorado squad and a pesky Utah team. In the win over the Utes on Sunday night, the Wildcats were played evenly for the first 35 minutes before finally seizing control of the game late. Arizona hits the road this week with games at Stanford on Wednesday and at California on Saturday. Sean Miller’s team has acquitted itself as arguably the best team in the country, but the road in conference play is always tough so it should be interesting to see if the Wildcats can continue their unbeaten path through another week of Pac-12 play.
- Kansas Continues Its Climb. After compiling a fairly pedestrian 9-4 mark during non-conference play, Kansas saw its Big 12 record move to 6-0 last week with easy victories over Baylor and TCU. The Jayhawks are now #4 in the RTC25 and they will have a chance to prove if they are worth that ranking this week with a home battle versus #20 Iowa State on Wednesday and a road trip to upstart Texas on Saturday.
- Differing Opinions on Louisville. The 17-3 Cardinals dominated their only game this past week with a 39-point victory at South Florida. While Louisville is undoubtedly a very good team, our pollsters are still undecided on where to rank the team. The Cardinals were ranked as high as #4 this week and as low as #19. Louisville has a big game this week, as it hosts AAC foe Cincinnati on Thursday. If the Cardinals emerge victorious, it will be intriguing to see what impact that has on their rankings in next week’s poll.
- Two New Teams. #24 Virginia and #25 Oklahoma enter the poll this week after completing unbeaten weeks. The Cavaliers scored wins over North Carolina and Virginia Tech, while the Sooners saw their Big 12 record go to a respectable 5-2 with victories over TCU and Texas Tech.
Game of the Week. #16 Duke vs. #2 Syracuse. The unbeaten Orange will face a tough test in their first ACC season when they host the Blue Devils on Saturday. While Duke limped out to a 1-2 start in conference play — with inexplicable losses at Notre Dame and at Clemson — it has since righted the ship with better defense leading to four consecutive victories. The match-up to watch in this game will be between a couple star forwards in dynamic Syracuse senior C.J. Fair and Duke freshman phenom Jabari Parker.
Keep Tabs On. #16 Duke vs. #15 Pittsburgh, #25 Oklahoma vs. #9 Oklahoma State, #10 Iowa vs. #6 Michigan State, #20 Iowa State vs. #4 Kansas, #17 Cincinnati vs. #12 Louisville, #22 Ohio State vs. #13 Wisconsin.
Conference Call: Big Ten (5), Big 12 (4), ACC (4), AAC (3), SEC (2), Atlantic 10 (2), Big East (2), Pac-12 (1), Missouri Valley (1), Mountain West (1).