2016-17 RTC Top 25: Preseason Edition

Posted by Walker Carey on November 11th, 2016

And so it begins — that wonderful time of year when we again hear familiar voices on the television and our favorite teams playing college basketball games that count. It is a beautiful time, indeed. With a sizable slate of games commencing this evening, we officially unveil the RTC 2016-17 Preseason Top 25. This poll will hold for about the next 10 days or so, but you can expect our weekly regular season poll to come out every Monday morning starting on November 21. Along with the RTC25 rankings will be the usual quick and dirty analysis that dives a bit more deeply into how those teams shake out from top to bottom. To see how we did last year, check out our 2015-16 preseason poll — sure, we nailed a few (Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Villanova), and missed on some others (Maryland, Michigan, LSU, Vanderbilt). We promise we will try to do better this time around. Here’s the preseason poll.

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Quick n’ Dirty Thoughts.

  • Duke is the unanimous #1 team – After an up-and-down and injury-plagued season that ended with the Blue Devils bowing out to Oregon in the Sweet Sixteen, Duke is back with a vengeance. Many outlets have tabbed junior guard Grayson Allen as their preseason National Player of the Year (and our only unanimous All-American), and seniors Matt Jones and Amile Jefferson bring back a lot of winning experience. Joining those veterans is the top freshman class in the country, highlighted by guard Frank Jackson, forwards Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum, and center Marques Bolden. Considering all the top-flight talent and experience Duke possesses, it is easy to see why our group of pollsters decided to reward the Blue Devils with the top spot this preseason.
  • Defending National Champion Villanova checks in at #2 – Jay Wright’s Wildcats were able to shake the NCAA Tournament monkey off their backs in a major way by topping North Carolina in a thrilling final to take home the National Title. Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu are gone from last season’s squad but the rest of Villanova’s key contributors return. Guards Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart, and forwards Kris Jenkins and Mikal Bridges give Villanova a strong core that should once again rise to the top of the Big East. No team has repeat as the National Champion since Florida pulled the trick in 2007, so it will be interesting to see if the Wildcats have what it takes to once again reach the mountain top.
  • Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s represent the WCC – The Bulldogs and Gaels have been the class of the WCC for quite some time now and it appears this season will not be any different. Gonzaga is led by California transfer Jordan Mathews, Washington transfer Nigel Williams-Goss and big man Przemek Karnowski. Saint Mary’s is a guard-heavy attack led by scorer Emmett Naar and glue guy Joe Rahon. The WCC race is going to be must-watch television out west all season and it could be argued that this will be the most contested intra-conference rivalry this season.

Game of the Week: #1 Duke vs. #3 Kansas. One of the most anticipated battles of the non-conference season will take place in the first week as the Blue Devils and Jayhawks face off in the Champions Classic in New York. While both teams have freshmen stars – Duke with Jackson, Giles, Tatum and Bolden; Kansas with Josh Jackson – the key match-up here will be between the veteran backcourts. Duke’s Grayson Allen and Matt Jones battling against Kansas’ Frank Mason and Devonte’ Graham will be can’t-miss television and will play a major role in which team emerges with a huge non-conference victory.

Keep Tabs On. #10 Arizona vs. #14 Michigan State; #3 Kansas vs. #10 Indiana; #2 Villanova vs. #15 Purdue; #4 Kentucky vs. #14 Michigan State; #12 Wisconsin vs. #25 Creighton.

Conference Call: ACC (5), Big Ten (5), Big 12 (4), Big East (3), Pac-12 (3), WCC (2), SEC (1), AAC (1), Missouri Valley (1).

WCarey (252 Posts)


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