2016-17 RTC Top 25: Week Eight

Posted by Walker Carey on January 9th, 2017

The second week of conference play has wrapped up and with it has come a new team in the #1 spot. Baylor has taken the reins as the top team in the RTC25 after wins over Iowa State and Oklahoma State moved the Bears to an unblemished 15-0 on the season. Scott Drew’s squad moved up with some help from #15 Butler, which ended #2 Villanova‘s reign with a 66-58 upset victory over the Wildcats on Wednesday night. Things will not get any easier for Baylor this week, however, as the Bears will arguably face their toughest test of the season in traveling to Morgantown to take on #8 West Virginia. There is consistently quite a bit of turnover in the RTC25 during conference play, so be sure to keep an eye on the poll each week as the college basketball season remains fluid. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty Analysis of the RTC25 is after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

  • Villanova’s reign at #1 has ended. Villanova’s 20-game winning streak that dated back to the start of last year’s NCAA Tournament came to an end on Wednesday when #15 Butler outlasted the Wildcats at Hinkle Fieldhouse. There is certainly no shame in losing at Butler, but it did cost the Wildcats the RTC25 top spot for at least one week. Jay Wright’s squad started a new winning streak over the weekend when it beat Marquette, and the Wildcats will look to continue their winning ways on Tuesday night in a tough home test with #19 Xavier.
  • What is going on with #25 Indiana? The Hoosiers grabbed some early headlines with their impressive victories over #2 Kansas and #13 North Carolina followed by a surprising pre-Thanksgiving loss at Fort Wayne. National pundits mostly brushed aside the true road game loss, but two weeks into Big Ten play, it seems like that defeat was a sign of things to come. Indiana has now lost three of its last four games, including home losses to #18 Wisconsin and Nebraska. While things went better in Saturday’s convincing win over Illinois, Indiana has significant defensive issues it needs to figure out if it wants to be viewed as a legitimate threat in the Big Ten race.
  • Minnesota is one of the stories of the year in college basketball. Just one year after a disastrous 8-23 season that featured only two Big Ten victories, #23 Minnesota has emerged as the most improved team in college basketball. The Golden Gophers currently sit at 15-2 overall with a 3-1 record in Big Ten play, and Richard Pitino’s squad has received a tremendous boost from star freshman Amir Coffey, a player who has already become the go-to guy in late game situations. Minnesota has a chance to avenge its lone conference loss on Wednesday when it travels to East Lansing to face a reeling Michigan State squad. Win or lose there, though, the turnaround taking place in Minneapolis should have everyone’s attention.

Game of the Week. #1 Baylor vs. #8 West Virginia. Baylor’s first test as the top team in the RTC25 will be a crucible as it travels to Morgantown to face a dynamite West Virginia squad. The Mountaineers have a well-earned reputation for rugged defense and ferocious pressure, which means that the Baylor backcourt will need to be on top of its game if the Bears want to leave with a victory. The key player to watch in this game will be Baylor forward Jonathan Motley. If the Bears’ backcourt can deal with the defensive pressure adequately enough to set up Baylor’s half-court offense, Motley should put together a very productive game against an undermanned West Virginia front line.

Keep Tabs On. #2 Villanova vs. #19 Xavier; #6 Duke vs. #10 Florida State; #25 Indiana vs. Maryland; #10 Creighton vs. #15 Butler; #21 Notre Dame vs. Miami (FL); #6 Duke vs. #9 Louisville; #15 Butler vs. #19 Xavier; #10 Florida State vs. #13 North Carolina; #21 Notre Dame vs. Virginia Tech; #4 Gonzaga vs. #20 Saint Mary’s.

Conference Call: ACC (6), Big East (4), Big Ten (4), Pac-12 (3), Big 12 (3), SEC (2), WCC (2), AAC (1).

WCarey (279 Posts)

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