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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RTC Top 25: Week 17

Posted by KDoyle on March 11th, 2013

Despite dropping a game for the second straight week — this time on Senior Night against Ohio State — Indiana maintained its spot atop the rankings. It was certainly easier to put the loss to Ohio State in the back of mind after Indiana stunned Michigan in Ann Arbor on Sunday afternoon. It wasn’t so much the Hoosiers’ win that was so shocking, but the manner in which they did so, as they scored six points in the final minute to win 72-71 in a sweep of the regular season series from the Wolverines. Since the return of Ryan Kelly, Duke is looking stronger than ever after demolishing North Carolina over the weekend. The Blue Devils garnered two #1 votes with Louisville securing the final #1 ballot. As for Gonzaga, despite having 30 wins and not losing since that unbelievable game at Hinkle Fieldhouse against Butler, the top team in the AP/Coaches polls checks in here at #4.

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

Week 17

Quick n’ Dirty Analysis.

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RTC Top 25: Week 16

Posted by KDoyle on March 4th, 2013

Despite dropping a game at Minnesota last week, Indiana remains the #1 team in the RTC25 for the fourth straight week. In fact, Indiana was the clear choice for the top spot by garnering six #1 votes and three #2 votes. Duke and Gonzaga both follow the Hoosiers, but their average rank was 4.00 compared to Indiana’s 1.33, showing just how confident RTC voters were in picking the Hoosiers. Interesting to note that #4 Louisville also picked up a first place vote, and the argument can certainly be made that they deserve more consideration as the #1 team. Since losing three straight in late January, the Cardinals are 8-1 with their lone loss coming in five overtimes at Notre Dame. Further down in the RTC25, North Carolina finally makes a return tied at #23. The Heels were ranked #14 in the preseason poll, but have been unranked ever since Week Three. Winners of its last five games, North Carolina is playing their best ball of the season.

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

Week 16

Quick n’ Dirty Analysis.

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RTC Top 25: Week 15

Posted by KDoyle on February 25th, 2013

At long last, we have stability atop the RTC25 as Indiana checks in at #1 for the third straight week. The Hoosiers earned a big road win at Michigan State in their only game last week, and are beginning to look like the team that was ranked #1 in the preseason rankings. One player who was thought  in the preseason to be more of a role player rather than a star and legitimate candidate for National Player of the Year is Victor Oladipo. Oladipo has led the way with 19 points and outstanding play this season for Indiana. In looking at the Top 10, there is very little separation between #3 Duke and #10 Louisville in terms of the average ranking (5.33 to 7.44), but then there is a noticeable drop-off between Louisville and #11 Syracuse. It is refreshing to have some parity in the Top 10, especially after last season when at a certain point Kentucky was nearly untouchable.

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

Week 15

Quick n’ Dirty Analysis.

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RTC Top 25: Week 14

Posted by KDoyle on February 18th, 2013

Indiana survived the curse of being ranked the #1 team in the country—fortunately for the Hoosiers they feasted on two bottom feeders in the Big Ten: Nebraska and Purdue—and maintain their ranking atop the RTC25. A midweek trip to Michigan State will decide whether they maintain their status as top dog, though. Is it possible that Miami, if the Hoosiers were to falter, are the #1 team in waiting? Pretty remarkable considering that they were unranked in the preseason and thought to be a middle-of-the-road ACC club. The Hurricanes continue to escalate in the RTC25 moving to the #2 spot this week after close road wins over Florida State and Clemson. Further down in the Top 10, we welcome Kansas back (#10) after posting resounding wins against Kansas State and Texas. Perhaps the three straight losses were a minor blip? We’ll find out later this week as they travel to Oklahoma State in a big time Big 12 showdown. More good stuff, as always, with the Quick n’ Dirty after the jump…

Week 14

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RTC Top 25: Week 13

Posted by KDoyle on February 11th, 2013

Sorry, Indiana, but you’re the new #1 team. It is not very often that a team can lose a game during the week and actually move up to the #1 spot, but that’s what happened after Florida was dismantled at Arkansas and the #3 and #4 teams both lost too. Many will clamor that Duke should be the top team, and perhaps they should be with just two losses on its record, but the Blue Devils team that squeaked out a win against Boston College on Sunday certainly didn’t look like #1 material. The big story of the week was rather the rise of another ACC team, the Miami Hurricanes; the ‘Canes beat up on North Carolina to move to a perfect 10-0 in conference play. It must be the first time in history that an ACC team has defeated Duke and North Carolina by a combined 50+ points (56, to be exact), in less than a month’s span, right? Overshadowed by all of the movement in the Top 10 are four new teams entering the RTC25. With its thrilling overtime win over Michigan, Wisconsin is up to #19, while Colorado State makes an appearance for the first time this season. Lastly, there must be an obligatory mention of the luck of the Irish as Notre Dame somehow beat Louisville in five overtimes — so there you go, Notre Dame, welcome back to the RTC25.

The Quick n’ Dirty after the jump…

Week 13

Quick n’ Dirty Analysis.

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RTC Top 25: Week 12

Posted by KDoyle on February 4th, 2013

The fourth different school in the past five weeks appears at the top of the RTC25 and it is not Indiana, despite their big win at home over the previous #1, Michigan. Rather, the Florida Gators are your new #1 team. A top 10 team since the preseason, the Gators are playing their best basketball of the season and look untouchable in the SEC. Further down, there are four new teams making a splash in this week’s RTC25. After spending many weeks on the outside, Pittsburgh finally jumps into the rankings after their home win over Syracuse.

The Quick n’ Dirty after the jump…

Week 12

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RTC Top 25: Week 11

Posted by KDoyle on January 28th, 2013

Six of the 10 teams in the top 10 of last week’s RTC25 tacked on a loss to their resume, or in Louisville’s and Minnesota’s cases, multiple losses. Fortunately for these two, Duke garnered much of the attention as they were absolutely thrashed by an upstart Miami team by 27 points. Duke rebounded with a win over Maryland though, unlike the preceding two teams who seem to be in a state of free fall as the Cards have lost three straight (after being ranked #1) and the Gophers four straight. Despite defeating two top 10 teams, Villanova didn’t even get a whiff of the RTC25— probably due to prior losses to Alabama, Columbia, and Providence — it has been that kind of year. Just another week in the world of college hoops where the only thing that is predictable are storylines surrounding the brand of backpack that Shabazz Muhammad carries around the UCLA campus.

The Quick n’ Dirty after the jump…

Week 11

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