RTC Top 25: Week Eleven

Posted 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.

rtc25 01.27.14 Quick n’ dirty analysis.

  • 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 CallBig 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).

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2 Responses to “RTC Top 25: Week Eleven”

  1. Gus says:

    AM can you please discuss your obvious major conference bias? I am an SDSU fan, and am quite dumbfounded by your terrible ranking on us, BO youre there too, but how do you justify a 13 FOR WICHITA STATE!!!

    I mean they are running the table, the discussion should be about if they deserve a number one seed, not if they should be in your top ten. I might be able to understand my team being a 14 rank considering their only loss came to your number one team and beat your number 4, but please explain.

    PS aren’t you an other 26 writer? You are supposed to be on our side in this major conference world.

  2. AMurawa says:

    Believe me, I really like the SDSU and Wichita State (and SLU and UMass) programs and stories. I was courtside for Wichita’s first four NCAA Tournament games last year and that is one insanely likable – not to mention very good – baketball team and basketball program. Likewise for SDSU. Love what Fisher has done there and really like the way that program is run. And they’re very good.

    But when I’m putting together my rankings I’m trying to think about who the best teams in the country are right now. If I was putting these together based on resume, SDSU would probably be top 5 or so. And they deserve to be in the conversation for a #1 or 2 seed, as does Wichita, because seeding is about resume, rather than prognostication.

    But I think both of those teams have some serious weaknesses that aren’t going to be fixed this season, while other teams that arguably have worse resumes (Kansas for sure, Duke, Iowa, even Kentucky) have better teams with less debilitating weaknesses.

    Like, I don’t think SDSU is better than all but five teams in the country. I don’t think Wichita is at that level either. And I’m leery of high expectations for these teams being used against them like it was used against Gonzaga and New Mexico last year. Like, all year long, we sorta suspected that Gonzaga wasn’t as good as the resume they were building. Same with New Mexico, but by the end of the year, just through inertia, somehow Gonzaga was rated as a top five team in the nation. New Mexico was right around the top 10 I believe. And then when they failed to live up to those expectations in the NCAA Tournament, you heard the backlash about “Oh, that team sucked” or “Oh that conference sucked.” And those comments were unfair and missed the point of what great years those teams had.

    Sure, if things break right for either Wichita or SDSU this year, they could wind up in the Final Four. But I don’t expect that. And I think where I have them ranked right now is more fair to the teams because that’s about where they belong in terms of how good they actually are. Most of the advanced statistical rankings have those teams ranked closer to where I have them ranked than where most of my colleagues have them ranked. And while I can understand how fans of those programs can take that as a slight, it is not intended as such – just my actual opinion of the relative worth of these teams.

    FWIW, that 2011 San Diego State team? I would have no qualms again putting that team in the top five nationally. But as good as this year’s vintage is and as great of a story as they are, I don’t think this team is in the same ball park.

    Fair?

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