After a relatively quiet week on the college hoops hardwoods, here’s this week’s RTC25. Happy Holidays, everyone!
Quick N’ Dirty Analysis.
Feast Week brought chaos. A lot of chaos. Six RTC25 teams lost twice and several more experienced one setback. Amid the chaos, previously unranked Syracuse and previously-#22 Xavier were able to grab several impressive victories and show they will be forces to reckon with for the balance of the season. The Orange were the surprise champions of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament after earning wins over Charlotte, #24 Connecticut and #18 Texas A&M. Jim Boeheim’s unit was led to the title by the stellar play of seniors Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije along with the emergence of freshmen Malachi Richardson and Tyler Lydon. Xavier was equally as impressive in taking home the AdvoCare Invitational crown. The Musketeers notched victories over Alabama and USC before blowing out Dayton in the tournament’s title game, and the relative balance of Chris Mack’s lineup was on display all weekend. After very impressive Feast Week performances, it will be intriguing to watch whether the Orange and Musketeers can keep the good vibes rolling through the non-conference portion of the season. This week’s Quick N’ Dirty is after the jump.
Quick N’ Dirty Thoughts.
If preseason Top 25s are an exercise in futility, polls the day after the national championship game are an exercise in imagination. We readily admit that we don’t know exactly what rosters are going to look like next season with early entry announcements, transfers (both in and out), late signees, and the inevitable summer run-ins with trouble still pending. So we will try to project, using the partial information that we have, which 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, this is what we came up with. The quick n’ dirty analysis of this way-too-early poll is after the jump.
As we count down the hours until the beginning of March, the RTC Podblast crew is excited to welcome ESPN Sportscenter anchor and all-around good guy Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) to this week’s edition. We recorded before several of last night’s upsets, but we did get some conversation in about Kentucky’s home loss to Arkansas, a discussion about the teams we think are truly most likely to win the national title, and a hard look at the best games in a fairly loaded weekend of action. As always, Shane Connolly (@sconnolly114) hosts the proceedings. Have a listen.
Also, as we head into March and the insane number of podcasts/podblasts that we plan on dropping throughout the month, remember to make sure to subscribe on iTunes so that you’ll get all of the episodes immediately downloaded to your listening device. The turnarounds are going to be quick!
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.
Quick n’ dirty analysis.
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…
Brian Otskey is an RTC columnist. Every Tuesday during the regular season he’ll be giving his 10 thoughts on the previous week’s action. You can find him on Twitter @botskey.
The USA Today Preseason Coaches Poll, released yesterday, revealed two Pac-12 teams ranked in the Top 25: Arizona at No. 11 and UCLA at No. 13. While the Pac is the only power conference to have as few as two teams in the top 25, Pac-12 followers should not feel slighted in the slightest.
The major reason for the top-15 rankings for UCLA and Arizona is pretty clear — stellar recruiting classes that feature three five-star talents and one four-star guy for each. With names like Shabazz Muhammad (assuming he plays), Kyle Anderson (assuming he plays), Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley, there is no dearth of talent coming into Westwood and Tucson this year. And surely, with the No. 2 and No. 3 recruiting classes in the country (in addition to high-profile transfers Larry Drew II and Mark Lyons), the Bruins and Wildcats are deserving of preseason recognition. No. 11 and No. 13, however, might be a little high for two teams relying heavily on players who have yet play in a collegiate game. High preseason rankings for super-frosh-dominated teams are nothing new in college basketball; after all, Kentucky was No. 5 in the 2009-10 USA Today preseason poll because of a John Wall-DeMarcus Cousins combination that had yet to play in a game led by a coach who hadn’t yet handled a power conference school as the head man. And certainly, the expectations and hype surrounding the 2012-13 Bruins and Wildcats are more modest than that Kentucky team three years ago. All signs are pointing to these freshmen being great, but until they step on the court in November, you don’t really know what’s in store. And it’s not like these teams haven’t had to deal with a flamed-out recruit or two in recent years…
Evan Jacoby is an RTC contributor & correspondent. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter. TT4 will cover four selected teams of interest – Syracuse, Indiana, Murray State, and UNLV – by tracking their ups, downs, and exciting developments throughout the course of the season.
Welcome back to TT4, where the lowest ranked team of the four in this week’s RTC Top 25 also happens to be the only undefeated squad left in the country. Will Murray State lose a game before the Big Dance? They continue to win in impressive fashion and are now getting a key cog back in the lineup for the stretch run. Meanwhile, our two major-conference teams are coming off poor weeks and UNLV keeps quietly handling their business. All four TT4 teams remained ranked in the Top 20 and have important games this week. Let’s look at what’s new:
Murray State Racers
UNLV Runnin’ Rebels