RTC Top 25: Week TwelvePosted by Walker Carey on February 3rd, 2014
This past week of college basketball was highlighted by a plethora of upsets – especially over the weekend when we saw six top 10 teams fall victim to the upset bug. Starting at the top, previously unbeaten and top-ranked Arizona suffered its first setback of the season Saturday evening when it was bested on the road by California. Previously 4th-ranked Kansas was also a road victim earlier in the day, as the Jayhawks were thoroughly outmanned in a defeat at the hands of Texas. Previously 6th-ranked Michigan State, a team that is suffering through well-documented injury issues, started its week off with a bang by winning in overtime at Iowa. But that victory proved to be the Spartans’ only positive tally of the week, as they fell to unranked Georgetown on Saturday in a non-conference game played at Madison Square Garden. Previously 7th-ranked Michigan entered Sunday’s game at Indiana as one of the hottest teams in America — the Wolverines had won 10 consecutive games and sat atop the Big Ten standings with an 8-0 record. None of that mattered in Bloomington though, as John Beilein’s team struggled offensively throughout a 63-52 defeat. Previously 9th-ranked Oklahoma State suffered what was probably the most puzzling loss of the week, as the Cowboys were bested at home on Saturday by a Baylor team that had lost six of its last seven games prior to Saturday. With February now in full swing, there is really not much that can be considered unexpected – especially with how this season has played out thus far – so you should expect even more shocking upsets moving forward as teams jockey for March position. The quick n’ dirty analysis of this week’s poll is after the jump.
Quick n’ dirty analysis.
- Unbeaten Syracuse is the New #1.With Arizona falling at California on Saturday, the unbeaten Orange were able to take reins of the top position in this week’s RTC25 for the first time this year. Syracuse saw its record go to 21-0 with a win at Wake Forest on Wednesday and a thrilling overtime victory over Duke at the Carrier Dome on Saturday. Home games with Notre Dame and Clemson are on tap for the Orange this week and Jim Boeheim’s team figures to be a heavy favorite in both.
- Cincinnati Makes a Move.The Bearcats are now #9 in the RTC25 after a week that saw them run their overall record to 21-2 and their AAC mark to 10-0. Cincinnati also obtained its signature win of the season, as the Bearcats were victorious on the road at Louisville on Thursday night. Another tough week awaits Mick Cronin’s team this week, as it plays host to #23 Connecticut on Thursday before traveling to face a surging SMU squad on Saturday.
- Creighton and Saint Louis Continue to Win. The Bluejays and Billikens continue to rise in the RTC25 because they continue to win. Creighton was victorious in thrilling fashion over St. John’s in its only game last week, while Saint Louis ran its Atlantic 10 record to 7-0 with home victories over Richmond and George Mason. The Billikens will have two tough tests this week, though, as they travel to Philadelphia for tilts with Saint Joseph’s and La Salle.
- Three New Teams. #18 Texas, #23 Connecticut, and #24 Gonzaga enter the RTC25 after each finished unbeaten weeks. Texas enters the poll after it continued its surprising season with a decisive victory Saturday over Big 12-leading Kansas. Connecticut ran its winning streak to three, as it dominated a Houston team on Thursday that had previously defeated the Huskies in the conference opener. After suffering a rare WCC loss to Portland on January 9, Gonzaga enters the RTC25 on a six-game winning streak and the Bulldogs look primed to once again run away with their league.
Game of the Week. #14 Iowa vs. #9 Michigan. The Hawkeyes and Wolverines will meet for the second time this season on Saturday. Michigan was victorious at home in the first match-up with a 75-67 victory on January 22. With the Big Ten standings suddenly volatile, Saturday’s battle in Iowa City will serve as an indicator of whether either team can remain a prime contender in the conference race. A match-up to watch in this game will be on the wing between dynamic Iowa senior Devyn Marble and much-improved Michigan sophomore Nik Stauskas.
Keep Tabs On. #20 Oklahoma State vs. #17 Iowa State: Indiana State vs. #4 Wichita State; #23 Connecticut vs. #11 Cincinnati; #25 Memphis vs. #24 Gonzaga.
Conference Call: Big 12 (5), ACC (4), AAC (4), Big Ten (3), SEC (2), Big East (2), Atlantic 10 (1), Pac-12 (1), Missouri Valley (1), Mountain West (1), WCC (1).