RTC Top 25: Week ThirteenPosted by Walker Carey on February 10th, 2014
The first full week of February has come and gone and with that another thrilling week of college basketball. The Big Ten race is no clearer than it was a week ago, as #9 Michigan State and #12 Michigan continue to keep pace with one another. The injury-laden Spartans are now 9-2 in conference play after a victory Thursday over Penn State and a narrow loss Sunday at #24 Wisconsin. The Wolverines are also now 9-2 in conference play after a blowout victory Wednesday over Nebraska and a decisive defeat Saturday at the hands of #12 Iowa. With approximately a month to go in the regular season, it will be interesting to see whether either school can grab control of the conference lead or if this close race will go down to the very end. In other movement, previously #20 Oklahoma State continued its free fall last week, as the Cowboys fell at home to #15 Iowa State on Monday and suffered a fairly surprising road defeat Saturday at Texas Tech. Just two weeks ago, Oklahoma State was sitting pretty at #9 in the RTC25 and is now an unranked team that will be without its most critical player for the next three games. This goes to show that the unexpected should become the expected in college basketball. The quick n’ dirty analysis of this week’s poll is after the jump.
Quick n’ dirty analysis.
- Unbeaten Syracuse Remains the Consensus #1. The Orange continued their undefeated ways with comfortable home victories over Notre Dame and Clemson. Things get a bit more difficult for the 23-0 team this week, as Syracuse travels to face scrappy Pittsburgh on Wednesday before returning to the Carrier Dome to play NC State on Saturday. While Jim Boeheim’s group has several marquee victories on its unscathed résumé, Wednesday’s showdown at Pittsburgh represents its first opportunity to grab a marquee road victory.
- Wichita State Passed Last Week’s Tests. The undefeated Shockers passed arguably their toughest tests of their Missouri Valley slate last week as they were victorious at Indiana State on Wednesday and at Northern Iowa on Saturday. While this was not enough to improve their position in the RTC25 (still at #4), the likelihood of the Shockers finishing the regular season with a perfect record is considerably greater now than it was one week ago. On tap for Wichita State this week are a home game against Southern Illinois on Tuesday and a road game at Evansville on Sunday.
- Ohio State and Wisconsin Return to the RTC25. After several weeks of inconsistent play marred with several losses, the #19 Buckeyes and #24 Badgers both completed perfect weeks to prove they are still worthy teams. Ohio State scored an important road victory Tuesday at Iowa before dominating Purdue in Columbus on Saturday. Wisconsin returned to the winning path the same night with a victory at Illinois and a thrilling home victory over #9 Michigan State on Sunday. Both teams have the opportunity to further prove their returns to relevance this week, as Ohio State hosts #12 Michigan on Tuesday before traveling to Illinois on Saturday, and Wisconsin hosts Minnesota on Thursday before journeying to Ann Arbor to face off with the 12th-ranked Wolverines on Sunday.
- SMU Makes its First Appearance in the RTC25. Larry Brown’s Mustangs continue to be one of the stories of the year in college basketball. They enter the RTC25 at #25 this week following dominant home victories over Temple and #10 Cincinnati. The Mustangs are now 19-5 overall with a 9-3 mark in AAC play and have winnable road games this week at Rutgers on Thursday and at Temple on Sunday.
Game of the Week. #17 Kentucky vs. #3 Florida. The Gators will take their unbeaten SEC record to Lexington on Saturday night to take on a Kentucky squad that has yet to fall at Rupp Arena this season. The match-up to watch in this one will be between the young Kentucky backcourt of Aaron and Andrew Harrison and the swarming defensive-minded Florida group of Scottie Wilbekin, Kasey Hill and Michael Frazier. This SEC battle in Lexington will be a must-watch for all college hoops fans.
Keep Tabs On: #19 Ohio State vs. #12 Michigan; Pittsburgh vs. #1 Syracuse; North Carolina vs. #8 Duke; #22 Memphis vs. #20 Connecticut; VCU vs. #11 Saint Louis; #24 Wisconsin vs. #12 Michigan; #18 Creighton vs. #7 Villanova.
Conference Call: Big Ten (5), AAC (5), Big 12 (4), ACC (3), SEC (2), Big East (2), Atlantic 10 (1), Pac-12 (1), Missouri Valley (1), Mountain West (1).