2016-17 RTC Top 25: Week TwoPosted by Walker Carey on November 29th, 2016
Feast Week always results in a couple teams really establishing themselves as legitimate teams to watch the rest of the season. This year the three teams that took the Feast Week Leap are #7 Baylor, #11 UCLA and #16 Butler. In a loaded Battle 4 Atlantis field, Baylor emerged victorious by scoring wins over VCU, Michigan State and #10 Louisville. UCLA, behind its star backcourt of Lonzo Ball and Isaac Hamilton, took home the Wooden Legacy crown with wins over Portland, Nebraska and Texas A&M. Butler won the Las Vegas Invitational by topping Vanderbilt and earning a hard fought upset victory over #17 Arizona. In other Feast Week action, #3 North Carolina showed why it is one of the best teams in the country with a dominant performance at the Maui Invitational. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty Analysis of the RTC25 is after the jump.
Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.
- Villanova is the new #1. The Wildcats shared the top spot with #2 Kentucky last week, but the top spot is (barely) all Villanova’s to own in this week’s RTC25. Jay Wright’s team only played one game last week but it was an impressive win over College of Charleston. The Wildcats will be fighting for Philadelphia bragging rights this week as they will take on both Penn and Saint Joseph’s in a pair of Big 5 battles. Returning key talent is very important in college basketball and the defending champions have showcased that construct so far this young season.
- #12 Indiana took a tumble. It is a rarity in college basketball when a blue-blood program agrees to play a road game at a mid-major, so it was widely acclaimed when Indiana did Fort Wayne a huge favor in playing the role of visitor. The only problem with Tom Crean’s decision (and illustrative of why those teams typically do not play these games) was that the Hoosiers lost the game, 71-68, in overtime. Notwithstanding the tumble in the RTC25, the sky certainly is not falling in Bloomington, though, as the Hoosiers suffered surprising early losses to Wake Forest and UNLV last season before going on to win the Big Ten title.
- South Carolina enters the RTC25 at #20 after an impressive week. Despite winning 24 games last season, Frank Martin’s Gamecocks were left out of the NCAA Tournament field because of a weak non-conference schedule. Step one for South Carolina was beefing up the slate. Step two came last week when the Gamecocks scored two outstanding victories over Michigan and #19 Syracuse. The season is still very young, but it is fair to say that those two wins will carry some weight with the Selection Committee when the NCAA Tournament field is determined in March.
Game of the Week. #3 North Carolina vs. #12 Indiana. This season’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge is highlighted by Wednesday’s match-up in Bloomington between two of college basketball’s blue-bloods. Assembly Hall will be rocking when the Hoosiers look to pull off the upset over one of the country’s premier teams. Something to watch in this game will be the duel between North Carolina’s front line of Justin Jackson and Kennedy Meeks versus Indiana’s OG Anunoby and Thomas Bryant. These high-level games are often won on the interior, so it will be interesting to see if that is the case in what should be a very competitive battle.
Keep Tabs On. #18 Wisconsin vs. #19 Syracuse; #4 Duke vs. Michigan State; #10 Louisville vs. #14 Purdue; #6 Virginia vs. #25 Ohio State; #22 Iowa State vs. Cincinnati; #2 Kentucky vs. #11 UCLA; #6 Virginia vs. #23 West Virginia; #7 Baylor vs. #9 Xavier; #8 Gonzaga vs. #17 Arizona.
Conference Call: ACC (5), Big Ten (4), Big 12 (4), Big East (4), SEC (3), Pac-12 (3), WCC (2).