2016-17 RTC Top 25: Week 11

Posted by rtmsf on January 31st, 2017

In what turned out to be perhaps the nuttiest week of college basketball this season, seven of last week’s top 10 RTC25 teams lost at least once. Villanova (at Marquette), Kansas (at West Virginia), Kentucky (Kansas), UCLA (at USC), North Carolina (at Miami), Florida State (at Georgia Tech; at Syracuse) and Oregon (at Colorado) all took defeats last week. With so much chaos among the top tier of the poll, the corresponding result is that not very much actually changed — six of the top seven are still within that range. New #1 Gonzaga is the clear beneficiary, but with a number of teams behind the Bulldogs awaiting a slip-up, the top of the RTC25 might yet have several more residents by the end of the season.

This week’s Quick N’ Dirty Analysis of the RTC25 is after the jump.

Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.

  • Gonzaga Reaches the Mountain Top. It wasn’t by unanimous decree, but the Zags reached the top spot in this week’s RTC25 by garnering three #1 votes and no placement lower than third. The question of whether Mark Few’s team is actually the best team in college basketball or a byproduct of a mediocre schedule remains relevant, but inertia upward is difficult to ignore when every other team is losing left and right. Short of a major upset, Gonzaga appears poised to maintain its spot on top of the RTC25 until at least its visit to Moraga in mid-February for a road tilt against Saint Mary’s. Win that one, and the Zags could be in position to enter March Madness just like fellow mid-major Wichita State in 2014 — as an unbeaten #1 seed.
  • What a Difference a Week Makes. The two highest risers in this week’s RTC25 are Louisville and West Virginia. The Cardinals, looking somewhat shaky after a disappointing loss at Florida State last weekend, annihilated Pittsburgh and NC State by a combined 80 points last week. As a result, Rick Pitino’s squad jumped from #11 to #6 in this week’s RTC25. West Virginia, looking even shakier with two losses last week including a home defeat to Big 12 cellar-dwelling Oklahoma, rebounded nicely with convincing wins over Kansas and Texas A&M. That the Jayhawks turned around and beat Kentucky at Rupp Arena (giving John Calipari just his second home loss at Kentucky) surely elevated the Mountaineers’ win in our pollsters’ analysis. West Virginia as a result rose from #15 to #7 this week.
  • General Agreement. A resounding 22 teams of the RTC25 showed up on every ballot this week, with only three other schools — Florida, Wichita State and SMU — receiving votes. In what appears to be a fairly wide open year in terms of winning the National Championship, the 12 to 15 teams at the top of the polls seem to be fairly locked in. Duke’s volatility has been a surprise to this point, but the polls appear to have generally settled into a rhythm where the same teams trade places from week to week. It will be interesting to see if the next five weeks of the regular season provides any major surprises.

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

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