RTC Top 25: Week Eight

Posted by WCarey on January 6th, 2014

Conference play started with a bang last week, featuring a good number of upsets. Of last week’s top 10, the group of #6 Oklahoma State, #7 Oregon, #10 Duke, and #10 Kansas failed to avoid the upset bug over a very interesting weekend. On Saturday, the Cowboys and Blue Devils rediscovered just how difficult it is to win on the road in conference play, losing to suddenly hot Kansas State and Notre Dame, respectively. Oregon fell from the ranks of the unbeaten on Sunday when it lost to #17 Colorado in Boulder, while Kansas suffered its first non-conference home defeat since 2006 when it was outdone by #14 San Diego State. While these four teams were remain in this week’s RTC25, neither of previously #17 Connecticut and #20 Memphis were as fortunate. The Huskies’ foray into AAC play started out poorly by falling at Houston on Tuesday and at SMU on Saturday. The Tigers also suffered a setback in their first AAC contest as they dropped one to a surging Cincinnati squad. If last week serves as any indication, conference play this season will be full of great excitement, surprises and a rather fluid RTC25 each week the rest of the way. The quick n’ dirty analysis of this week’s poll is after the jump.

rtc25 01.06.14 Quick n’ dirty Analysis.

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RTC Top 25: Week Seven

Posted by Walker Carey on December 30th, 2013

The last week of primarily non-conference play has wrapped up and both of its remaining premier match-ups took place on Saturday with top 10 Villanova taking its undefeated record to Syracuse and the Battle for the Bluegrass in Lexington between preseason top three teams Louisville and Kentucky. Both games saw the home team prevail, as Syracuse weathered an early Villanova run and dominated the second half to cruise to a 78-62 victory, while Kentucky’s youth movement gelled very well and treated Big Blue Nation to a 73-66 win. With conference play in many leagues set to begin this week, it will be interesting to see how quickly and substantially the impact of playing familiar foes has on future polls. The quick n’ dirty analysis of this week’s poll is after the jump.

rtc25 12.30.13

Quick n’ dirty analysis.

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RTC Top 25: Week Six

Posted by Walker Carey on December 23rd, 2013

Another week of the college basketball season is in the books and if there was a theme of this past week, it would have been the setbacks suffered by several undefeated teams. The first team to fall from the ranks of the unbeaten was Pittsburgh, which suffered its first loss to Cincinnati on Tuesday at the Jimmy V Classic. This theme continued Wednesday when previously eighth-ranked and unbeaten Connecticut suffered its first setback at home against Stanford. Then on Saturday, previously unbeaten and 19th-ranked Massachusetts tasted its first defeat of the season when the Minutemen lost to Florida State. Similarly, Missouri and Saint Mary’s — each a previously unbeaten team that received votes in the poll last week — had their perfect seasons come to an end against Illinois and South Carolina, respectively. With only nine unbeaten teams now left (#1 Arizona, #2 Syracuse, #4 Ohio State, #5 Wisconsin, #8 Villanova, #9 Oregon, #12 Wichita State, #14 Iowa State, and Toledo), it will be interesting to see which among this group will remain unbeaten the longest. The quick n’ dirty analysis of this week’s poll is after the jump.

rtc25 12.23.13

Quick n’ dirty analysis.

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RTC Top 25: Week Five

Posted by WCarey on December 16th, 2013

Another week of the college basketball season is in the books, as the full start of conference play is right around the corner. While things were mostly status quo this past week, three teams in particular – #11 North Carolina, #15 Kansas, and #18 Kentucky – played game(s) that factored greatly in this week’s poll. Youthful Kentucky was able to fight off a solid Boise State squad on Tuesday in Lexington, but the previously eighth-ranked Wildcats fell in Chapel Hill Saturday to a North Carolina team that now owns victories over Kentucky, Louisville, and Michigan State along with its losses to Belmont and UAB. Kansas had a rough trip down to Gainesville where it was thoroughly dominated by Florida on Tuesday night, but the previously 10th-ranked Jayhawks shook off that tough defeat Saturday when they were able to defeat a strong New Mexico squad at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. The quick n’ dirty analysis of this week’s poll is after the jump.

rtc25 12.16.13

Quick n’ dirty analysis.

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RTC Top 25: Week Four

Posted by WCarey on December 9th, 2013

Michigan State‘s early season stronghold on the top spot in the rankings has come to an end, as the Spartans were upset victims last Wednesday at home against North Carolina. The Spartans were not the only top 10 team to suffer a loss last week, as previously third-ranked Kentucky fell to Baylor on Friday in a game played at AT&T Stadium in Dallas. Previously sixth-ranked Kansas returned to action for the first time in a week on Saturday and was promptly defeated via a buzzer-beater from Colorado. As upsets of top teams has been a trend thus far, new #1 Arizona was able to remain on the winning track with a blowout win over Texas Tech and a narrow home victory over UNLV. Considering all the ranked teams that have fallen so far this season, it is safe to say that this week’s Top 25 should be on the lookout for upset-minded squads seeking a highly-ranked scalp. The quick n’ dirty analysis of this week’s poll is after the jump.

rtc25 12.09.13

 Quick n’ dirty analysis.

  • There Is No Clear #2 Team. Arizona earned every vote for the #1 spot this week, but there was no such consensus when it came to the next team. #2 Syracuse, #3 Louisville, and #4 Ohio State all received votes for the #2 team in the country with the Orange ultimately receiving the nod with an average ballot placement of 3.0. This is quite different from last week when Arizona received every #2 vote from our pollsters. This has been quite the uncertain year thus far in college basketball and the lack of consensus after #1 serves to illustrate that.

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RTC Top 25: Week Three

Posted by Walker Carey on December 2nd, 2013

Feast Week usually marks the start of the craziness in the college basketball season and this past week was no different. While the week was kind to #1 Michigan State, #2 Arizona, #3 Kentucky, and #4 Syracuse at or near the top of the poll, #6 Kansas, #9 Oklahoma State, and #10 Duke, among others, experienced the agony of defeat. Arizona shot up to #2 following its victories over Drexel and Duke to take home the Preseason NIT title, while Syracuse remained undefeated out in Maui with wins over Minnesota, California, and #22 Baylor to claim the tournament crown there. Kansas suffered its first setback of the young season on Friday night as the young Jayhawks fell to fast-rising #16 Villanova in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis. Oklahoma State, which had throttled #21 Memphis by 21 in Stillwater back on November 19, fell to the same Tigers’ squad Sunday evening in the final of the Old Spice Classic. As they say, college basketball is where the unexpected becomes the ordinary. The quick n’ dirty analysis of this week’s poll is after the jump.

rtc25 12.02.13

 Quick n’ dirty analysis:

  • Michigan State Remains At #1 For A Third Consecutive Week. The Spartans took care of business in their only game of the week by topping Mount Saint Mary’s on Friday. They did overcome a bit of adversity though, as star guard Gary Harris sat out of that contest dealing with an ankle injury. Tom Izzo’s squad will be tested this Wednesday, however, as a North Carolina squad that has already defeated Louisville will invade the Breslin Center for what should be a hotly-contested affair.

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RTC Top 25: Week Two

Posted by rtmsf on November 25th, 2013

We’re now two weeks into the season and there’s not a whole lot more clarity in the poll than there was last week. Michigan State is a strong #1, but #2 Kansas is nipping on the Spartans’ heels and #3 Kentucky and #4 Arizona are not far behind. Then things start to get muddled. Louisville put doubt into everyone’s minds with its no-show versus North Carolina, while Oklahoma State is soaring as a result of its fantastic beatdown of Memphis. Duke‘s close call versus Vermont led pollsters to devalue the Blue Devils, while Connecticut‘s close win over Indiana pushed the Huskies to the edge of the Top 10. And then there are a bunch of teams that people still haven’t gotten a great handle on — the good news is that for schools like Syracuse, Gonzaga and Creighton, we’ll know a lot more about them at this time next week — Feast Week will make sure of it. The quick n’ dirty analysis of this week’s poll is after the jump.

rtc25 11.25.13

Quick n’ Dirty Analysis:

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RTC Top 25: Week One

Posted by Walker Carey on November 18th, 2013

Week one is in the books. One of the reasons college basketball is so great is because elite teams choose to play other elite teams early in the season. This was the case last week, as Michigan State played Kentucky and Kansas played Duke in Tuesday’s Champions Classic in Chicago. The Spartans and Jayhawks were victorious in these marquee match-ups, and as a result, they both leaped the Wildcats and the Blue Devils into the top few spots of our poll. Losing to top competition did not impact Kentucky and Duke’s positions too much, as they both remained in the top five. Michigan was the only team that fell out of the preseason top 10, as the Wolverines were victim on the road to Iowa State and Hilton Magic on Sunday afternoon. Due to the victory, the previously unranked Cyclones also moved into this week’s RTC25.

This week’s QnD after the jump…

rtc t25 11.18.13

Quick ‘n Dirty Analysis.

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2013-14 RTC Top 25: Preseason Edition

Posted by Walker Carey on November 7th, 2013

seasonpreview-11

And so it begins. The time of year where we hear familiar voices on the television, see the faces on the floor, and our favorite teams finally playing games that count in the standings. It is a beautiful time, indeed. With the games commencing on Friday evening, we officially unveil RTC’s 2013-14 Preseason Top 25. Starting November 18, you can expect our weekly poll to come out every Monday morning. Along with the rankings will be the usual quick and dirty analysis that dives deeper into how the teams shake out from top to bottom. To see how we did last year, check out our 2012-13 preseason poll – we nailed some (Louisville, Michigan, Indiana, Kansas), and swung and missed on others (Kentucky, NC State, Missouri, UCLA). We promise to do better this time around.

rtc 25 preseason 13-14

Quick n’ Dirty Thoughts.

  • A Majority Likes Kentucky – Four out of our seven pollsters are in agreement that Kentucky is the top team in the country, while the other two teams that were picked first were Louisville (one #1 vote) and Michigan State (two #1 votes). It is really difficult to argue with any of the three selections, but Kentucky reigned supreme due to the star-studded recruiting class of Julius Randle, James Young, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Marcus Lee and Dakari Johnson that John Calipari was able to lure to Lexington. Do not forget that Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein also return for the Wildcats. Defending national champion Louisville is once again loaded with talent, led by preseason All-American Russ Smith and 2013 Final Four Most Outstanding Player Luke Hancock. Michigan State is a squad that was helped immensely when both sophomore Gary Harris and senior Adreian Payne bypassed the NBA Draft to return to East Lansing.

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RTC 2013-14 Post-NBA Draft Deadline Top 25

Posted by KDoyle on April 30th, 2013

Although we are less than a month removed from Louisville’s win over Michigan in the National Championship game, it certainly isn’t too soon to look ahead to what the 2013-14 season has in store. With this past Sunday the deadline to declare for the June NBA Draft, we now have a much better idea who the top teams in the country should be once the ball is tipped again in November. In looking at the top of our Post-NBA Draft Deadline Top 25, there are three teams bunched together separated by just three votes — in fact, Louisville and Michigan State are knotted together at the top. It isn’t all too often that a team wins it all, graduates its starting point guard, has its best frontcourt player leave for the NBA, and is still perhaps the top team in the nation, but that’s the case for Rick Pitino and his Cardinals. With Russ Smith and Chane Behanan returning, Louisville will be the early favorites to win the AAC — the ACC, keep in mind, doesn’t come for UofL until 2014. Michigan State received good news on Sunday when Adreian Payne announced he would be returning to East Lansing for his senior season. Payne’s return, coupled with the return of Gary Harris — the Big Ten Freshman of the Year — and Keith Appling, make the Spartans a legitimate championship contender next season. Lastly, there’s Kentucky. Did you really think Cal & Co. weren’t going to be up there? They may not be ranked #1 at this point, but with a downright scary recruiting class incoming boasted by the Harrison twins and Julius Randle — perhaps the top Class of 2013 recruit — the Wildcats’ expectations are sky high. Despite not finishing in the Top 25 and losing at Robert Morris in the NIT, Kentucky will enter 2013-14 as a top three team in the RTC .

The usual Quick ‘n Dirty after the jump…

2013-14 RTC Top 25

Quick n’ Dirty:

Whether it is through an exceptional recruiting class, or an impressive finish to the 2012-13 season coupled with a strong nucleus returning, the following four teams surged upward — and for good reason.

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The RTC Way-Too-Early 2013-14 Top 25

Posted by AMurawa on April 9th, 2013

If Preseason Top 25s are an exercise in futility, polls the day after the national championship game are an exercise in imagination. We don’t know exactly what rosters are going to look like next season, what with early entry announcements, transfers (both in and out), late signees and the inevitable summer run-ins with trouble still pending. So, below, we’ll try to project, using the partial information that we have, just who are the 25 teams most likely to win a national title next season. After the NBA Draft deadline has passed, we’ll do a more educated Top 25, but until then…

  1. Kentucky – Many will be leery to pick the Wildcats #1 based on the missteps of 2012-13, but the talent here is hard to deny. Joining returnees like Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein, John Calipari adds another stellar recruiting class with (so far) four top-10 recruits (Julius Randle, the Harrison twins and James Young) and another pair in the next 10 (Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee). The program will again have a huge spotlight on it as they try to get six or more future first-round draft picks to play nice together, but despite his failures this season, Calipari has done enough to earn the trust that he’ll fold these guys into a cohesive unit. They may not be the best team at the start of the year, but they’re the favorites to cut down the nets in Cowboys Stadium next April.

    The Harrison Twins Are Just A Small Part Of The Talent John Calipari Will Have In Lexington Next Year

    The Harrison Twins Are Just A Small Part Of The Talent John Calipari Will Have In Lexington Next Year

  2. Florida – After a down year in the SEC, we’re projecting a return to dominance at the top. The Gators lose Kenny Boynton, Mike Rosario and Erik Murphy, but with ESPN’s #9 recruit, point guard Kasey Hill, and #14 recruit, power forward Chris Walker, coming in, along with a pair of newly eligible frontcourt players in Dorian Finney-Smith and Damontre Harris, Billy Donovan’s squad could be even better.
  3. Arizona Sean Miller’s got a ridiculous front line chock full of McDonald’s All-Americans, with Kaleb Tarczewski, Brandon Ashley and Grant Jerrett all expected back and Aaron Gordon and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson arriving. Throw in Duquesne transfer T.J. McConnell as a true point and Nick Johnson back for his junior campaign and this Wildcats team should dominate the Pac-12.
  4. Duke – Coach K loses a lot, with Seth Curry, Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly all gone, but Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon will be joined by Andre Dawkins returning from a year off and elite recruit Jabari Parker arriving for his freshman year. If the Blue Devils can find some toughness up front from guys like Amile Jefferson, Alex Murphy and Josh Hairston, they’ll again be in the thick of things.
  5. Michigan State – Let’s make the assumption that a 6’10” guy with jump-out-of-the-gym ability and a nice three-point stroke like Adreian Payne is heading to the NBA. Nevertheless, with Keith Appling, Gary Harris, Branden Dawson and Denzel Valentine returning and Tom Izzo back on the sideline, pencil the Spartans in as a the Big Ten favorite. Read the rest of this entry »
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RTC Top 25: Final Edition

Posted by KDoyle on March 19th, 2013

In a season where the #1 ranked team in the country fluctuated almost weekly, Louisville is the top team in the final RTC25 this year. In fact, the Cardinals are the consensus #1 team after their very strong showing at the Big East Tournament last week. This isn’t the first time Louisville has been ranked as the top dog, though. After a 15-1 start they were ranked #1 for a brief stint in Week 9, but then three straight losses knocked them off their pedestal. Around the poll, it took them a while to climb back up the rankings, but New Mexico has finally cracked the Top 10. The Lobos were stellar all season in the competitive Mountain West, finishing with a 13-3 conference record and winning the MW Tournament. Further down in the RTC25, North Carolina sneaks in with Colorado State as the two last teams. It has been an up-and-down year for the Heels, but they are playing their best ball of the year at the right time.

More good stuff with the Quick n’ Dirty after the jump…

Week 18

Quick n’ Dirty Analysis.

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