RTC Top 25: Week 15Posted 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…
Quick n’ Dirty Analysis.
- Indiana Stays at the Top. Ever since their tough road loss to Illinois where the Hoosiers relinquished a big lead in the final minutes, Indiana has been rock solid in posting convincing wins over Ohio State, Nebraska, and Purdue, and then going on the road to beat an always tough Michigan State team in East Lansing. The road doesn’t get any easier from here — such is life in the Big Ten this season — as Indiana travels to The Barn to play a Minnesota team fighting to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive.
- High Risers and Big Droppers. There may not be a better story in college basketball this year than the St. Louis Billikens. The passing of Rick Majerus in December 2012 was a blow to the college basketball community — Majerus was one of the game’s best and most recognizable ambassadors. After his passing, in stepped longtime coach Jim Crews, who has St. Louis playing some of the best basketball in the country. They are 18-2 since Crews took over, and now the team to beat in the Atlantic 10. Their wins over Virginia Commonwealth and Butler last week jumped them six spots in the RTC25 up to #17. Meanwhile, Butler has struggled ever since its dramatic victory over Gonzaga a month ago. The Bulldogs are 6-4 in their last 10 games and dropped four spots in the RTC25 after their home loss to St. Louis.
- How to Rank Duke? It isn’t often that the #3 team has a fair amount of dispute among pollsters regarding their ranking, but that is the case with Duke this week. Six believe that the Blue Devils are a Top 5 team, but three have them as a fringe Top 10 team. Perhaps it was their near loss to Boston College a couple of weeks ago or their road loss at Maryland that has a few pollsters skeptical of Duke. With a road game at Virginia and then at home vs. Miami (FL) coming up this week, Duke will have an opportunity to validate themselves.
Games of the Week. #2 Michigan vs. #8 Michigan State and #3 Duke vs. #6 Miami (FL). Both Michigan and Duke were downright embarrassed the last time they took the floor against Michigan State and Miami (FL), respectively. This time, however, each team will get its conference foe on their home court. All four teams are in contention for a #1 seed come Selection Sunday, making these two games especially important.
Keep Tabs On. #7 Kansas at Iowa State, #10 Louisville at #11 Syracuse, #11 Syracuse at #19 Marquette, #17 New Mexico vs. #24 San Diego State, #19 Marquette vs. #21 Notre Dame
Two New Faces. San Diego State took care of business against Nevada and Wyoming last week and finds themselves back in the RTC25 as a result. It has been a long time coming for Memphis who has been left out for much of the season. Despite a gaudy 24-3 record, the Tigers are still a fringe Top 25 team — that tells you just how weak Conference USA is this year. Nevertheless, Josh Pastner and his squad have been rewarded for winning 18 straight games.
Conference Call. Big East (6), Big Ten (5), Big 12 (3), Mountain West (3), ACC (2), Atlantic 10 (2), Pac-12 (1), SEC (1), Conference USA (1), West Coast (1).