RTC Top 25: Regular Season FINAL EditionPosted by Walker Carey on March 10th, 2014
With apologies to Penn and Princeton, the college basketball regular season came to a satisfying end on Sunday. This regular season was defined by unexpected results and uncertainty near the top of the rankings, but #1 Florida, #2 Wichita State, and #3 Arizona end the regular season as the consensus top three teams in America among our pollsters. The Gators capped off their 29-2 overall and 18-0 conference record with blowout wins over South Carolina and Kentucky. Will they or won’t they? That has been the question all season long about the second-ranked Shockers and their pursuit of perfection entering the NCAA Tournament. Gregg Marshall’s squad confidently answered that question over the weekend with a fairly easy stroll to the Missouri Valley Tournament title and a perfect 34-0 record. While Florida and Wichita State used the final week of the season to showcase their excellence, Arizona experienced its third setback of the season in a loss at Oregon on Saturday. However, the Wildcats still possess a sterling 28-3 overall record, which our pollsters fully agreed was good enough for the third spot in our final regular season poll. The quick n’ dirty analysis of this week’s poll is after the jump.
Quick n’ Dirty Analysis.
- We Were Incorrect About a Lot in the Preseason RTC25. Looking back at the preseason edition of this season’s RTC25, there are some glaring differences in that poll compared to this final regular season poll. Preseason #1 Kentucky is the most significant error, as the young Wildcats suffered through tremendous bouts of inconsistency all season long and finished as an “also receiving votes” team in the final regular season RTC25. Current #1 Florida, on the other hand, has been an elite team all season, but our pollsters voted the Gators #11 in the preseason RTC25. Undefeated and current #2 Wichita State received very little attention in the preseason, as the pollsters rated the Shockers as an “also receiving votes” team before beginning its incredible campaign. It should also be noted that Marquette, Notre Dame and Georgetown were all in the preseason RTC25 and each disappointed to the point where they will only receive NCAA Tournament bids if they somehow find a way to win their respective conference tournaments.
- Michigan Jolts Up to #6. The Wolverines completed a successful week to cap off their brilliant Big Ten championship campaign. John Beilein’s squad secured the conference title on Tuesday when it dismantled a sneaky Illinois team in Champaign. The outright Big Ten title is the first for Michigan since 1986. The Wolverines were not done there, though, as they returned home Saturday and avenged an early February road loss to Indiana in an 84-80 come-from-behind victory. When the Big Ten Tournament tips off in Indianapolis later this week, Michigan will be the top seed, and if the regular season can serve as any indicator, the Wolverines will be the team to beat at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
- Three New Teams. #20 VCU, #23 Ohio State and #24 Baylor all enter the RTC25 after successful finishes to their regular seasons. VCU capped off its four-game winning streak to end the season with victories over Richmond and Saint Bonaventure. The inconsistent Buckeyes used a full week off to prepare for #19 Michigan State on Sunday and their preparation paid dividends, as Thad Matta’s squad notched a thrilling Senior Day victory over Sparty in Columbus. Baylor started the Big 12 season an abysmal 2-8, but the Bears righted the ship by winning seven of their last eight league games, including victories last week over #16 Iowa State and Kansas State.
Game of the Week. How can we possible select a GOTW with Championship Week upon us? From here on out, there are only “Games of the Hour.” If you’re looking for a great one tonight, tune into Iona vs. Manhattan for the MAAC title. Iona is fourth in the country in scoring offense and its senior guard Sean Armand is an elite scorer. Manhattan senior swingman George Beamon has been a great player throughout his career with the Jaspers and is looking for it to conclude with an NCAA Tournament bid.
Keep Tabs On. You should keep tabs on any and all college basketball action this week. Trust us on this one.
Conference Call: AAC (4), Big Ten (4), ACC (4), Big 12 (4), Big East (2), Mountain West (2), Atlantic 10 (2), SEC (1), Pac-12 (1), Missouri Valley (1).