Tuesday, January 9, 2007

UNC new No. 1; Kansas sixth


Roy Williams is no stranger to having a top-ranked college basketball team.

In seven of his 15 seasons at Kansas University, his Jayhawks reached No. 1, including a 15-week stretch in 1996-97.

"I've been No. 1 before, and if you don't finish that way at the end of the year, it means you had a good little stretch," Williams said on Monday after learning his North Carolina Tar Heels had earned the school's first No. 1 AP poll ranking in almost six years.

The Tar Heels (14-1) moved into the top spot Monday after three weeks at No. 2 following UCLA's loss at Oregon last weekend.

It is North Carolina's first time at No. 1 since a two-week run in February 2001, and it's the first time the Tar Heels are there in the three-plus seasons, including the 2005 national championship, under Williams.

"I feel good where we are, but it's so, so early," Williams said Monday. "We have 15 more battles to go in the conference, so we'll see what happens."

His former school, KU, moved from ninth to sixth in the rankings.

North Carolina received 64 first-place votes and 1,788 points from the 72-member national media panel to outdistance No. 2 Florida (14-2), which had three No. 1 votes and 1,682 points in moving up one spot from last week. The Gators were No. 1 in the preseason poll and for the first two weeks of the regular season.

Wisconsin (15-1) received one first-place vote and moved from fourth to third, the highest ranking in school history, while UCLA dropped from first to fourth.

The Bruins (14-1), who received four first-place votes, held the No. 1 spot for six weeks until the 68-66 loss at Oregon on Saturday.

Ohio State moved up one place to fifth and was followed by KU, Pittsburgh, Texas A&M;, Oklahoma State and Arizona.

Duke, which dropped six spots after its home loss to Virginia Tech on Saturday, was 11th and was followed by Butler, LSU, Alabama, Oregon, Tennessee, Clemson, Air Force, Nevada and Memphis.

West Virginia was 21st, with Notre Dame and Washington State tied for No. 22, while Connecticut and Texas rounded out the Top 25.

The Tar Heels' lone loss was to Gonzaga in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off. They have won 11 straight since, including the 84-58 victory over Florida State in their ACC opener Sunday.

"Defensively, we are getting better the last four, five games, and I appreciate their attitude, but we have so far to go," Williams said. "We also have to work on our freelance offense. When we don't have a set play called, we can do such a better job with spacing and getting on the backboard. We have stood around instead of getting everyone involved."

Texas (11-3) joined Washington State as the other poll newcomer this week, coming in off a 102-78 victory over Colorado in its Big 12 Conference opener.

The Longhorns were 21st in the preseason poll.


mitch 14 years, 9 months ago

Rankings are nice, but a championship is so much better. Still, it's exciting to have the national limelight focused on your team each game purely by virtue of being in the Top 25. And 4 in the Big 12 adds meaning to conference play. Go Big 12! Go 'Hawks!!

TrueBlue92 14 years, 9 months ago

After the so-called NCAA Footbal D-I "Championship" game last night, ANY and ALL references to polls should require the word "alleged" before any numbers.

For example, Kansas is the alleged #6 team, and Florida is the alleged #2. We all know this is a farce since Kansas beat Florida, but this is the koolaid the media feeds us and, I guess, they set the status quo.

In my humble opinion, of course.

Jeremy Bolinger 14 years, 9 months ago

agreed trueblue92! Obviously these people voting have not been watching much basketball. Ohio St., in both sports, is highly over-rated. It proved last night and a month ago when they were beaten at UNC. 2 weeks ago was an embarrassing loss at Florida, but yet they are still a top 5 team? 2 words: Bull SH!T!!!

speedy 14 years, 9 months ago

boise state is national chapions !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! no voting required 13-0

Joe Ross 14 years, 9 months ago

Let's face it, the polls don't matter much in the first place, and certainly much less so at this time of year (that is to say even before conference play). RPI in late February? Now that's a different story.

I'll tell you what DOES matter--and in fact it's the ONLY thing that matters right now to KU basketball--and that's Oklahoma State. This is a talented group and Kansas can not afford to have a letdown as they sometimes do when their stock in the polls rise (why is that, I wonder)? Let's be realistic. Noone compares the matchup on paper and awards the win simply because one team is more talented than the other, or more highly ranked, or better coached, or playing at home or whatever. You have to play the game, and Oklahoma State is capable of coming into Allen and making this one competitive. Kansas needs to be focused and prepared, and if they are we will handle business against the Cowboys.

As for UNC being number one, or UCLA, or Florida or whoever. Doesn't matter unless youre a chest thumper. The school hoisting the trophy at season's end will put to rest all the argument. Kansas can do just that this year.

"I'm a Jay...Jay...Jay...Jay...Jayhawk up at Lawrence on the Kaw."


Mangino_Maniac 14 years, 9 months ago

Boise State has a great team, but I do wonder how they would have done if they played a regular season schedule with LSU, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Auburn in the mix. Florida is very deserving of their national championship, especially after last nights performance.

Jeremy Bolinger 14 years, 9 months ago

agreed. Boise beat oklahoma fair and square, but im seriously doubt wheather they could go undefeated in the big 12, and I would guarantee they wouldnt do it in the sec. Boise is not the national champs, Florida is.

ralsterKUMed95 14 years, 9 months ago

Im not too worried about UNC. I really have a hard time saying they are a "better school in all aspects" like the writer above. Sports? Academics? Im not sure I would accept either. Maybe Duke and Harvard can claim something academically over the rest of the country, but UNC?? All I can say from observing UNC for the last 25 yrs or so is that some players just want to wear that 'carolina blue' and play at the school that Jordan did--they may always have an easier time recruiting top players, but time will tell if either sentiment wanes in popularity. Roy is seen as a successful coach across the country, as well. I just have a problem calling UNC "better". I consider KU, UNC, Dookies, KY to be "elite" programs with lots of basketball "cred" and history. Goodness, many people credit KU as the cradle of bball, NOT UNC, Duke, or anyone else. Perennially "strong" programs would be TX, OklaState, AZ, but would not consider them "elite"--they simply accel because they have a stellar coach. Ariz is arguable, but what would you think about AZ without Lute Olsen? Then there's the teams that are "good" but can be stellar for a couple of years, then fall again like Syracuse, UConn, Maryland, GTech, maybe OU and Mizzou--but those two maybe down for awhile. And I can say for the first time, we have probably more athleticism and talent then UNC does, although they have some very good players. Stated another way, we have the players now to carry even farther KU's bball legacy. And we have had some pretty good teams the last few years already. Even as inconsistent as our guys play sometimes, can you imagine how juiced our boys would be to get a shot at UNC? Bet on KU...I think we have more than just alumni pride this year!

okjhok 14 years, 9 months ago

"Ohio St., in both sports, is highly over-rated."

I don't know if I'd go there just yet. You might want to watch the OSU-Wisconsin game tonight. I'm not necessarily predicting an OSU win, but having watched them play a few times, I'd say they have just as many horses as anyone else and probably deserve that ranking.

jayloco 14 years, 9 months ago

okjhok- I agree with you. Everyone needs to remember they lost that game in UNC WITHOUT Oden. Oden is huge and takes up a lot of space in the post. I think they definitely are a solid squad. Would have loved to see UNC play OSU with Oden in the mix. Could have been a different outcome.

Hawks need to focus and come out strong against OSU. I don't think there is a chance of a let down because we don't have problems showing up for high quality teams. The problem is showing up against those "B" schools and teams that our guys have never heard of. That is when it seems that we go through the motions. Not sure how many ORU's and DePaul's have to beat us before we recognize any team can beat another on a given day.

rockchalkjayhawk4ku11 14 years, 9 months ago

rankings mean nothing they are just nice to have

Alan Halvorsen 14 years, 9 months ago

I thought this was a ku site, not a tar heels one.

sportdan30 14 years, 9 months ago

Of course rankings don't mean a thing at this point in the year. IMO, KU isn't a top ten team yet. That said, I'm not complaining about the #6 ranking. As we head in to March I hope we're at least ranked 6th which we'll mean we're a #2 seed in the NCAA tournament. If we fall to a number three or four seed, we could be in a world of hurt once again.

KUa15Fan 14 years, 9 months ago

I am a KU grad, but I never got into "Roy & Dean Bashing", after the first couple of days. I went thru the normal stages of dealing with a loss, and by day three I was fine with Roy's decision. I have been forced to make similar decisions in my own life. I was raised to like UNC due to the strong KU ties. I am happy with their success, and I hope we get a shot at them in the Final Four! Roy and Dean are CLASS ACTS, as is Bill!

Rock Chalk Jayhawk, Go KU!!!!!!!!!!!!

BabyJay5953 14 years, 9 months ago

Im not gonna Roy and Dean Bash, but why are people living in the past and having a story quoting Roy? Does it matter? Im sure if you go to the UNC sight they dont care about KU? Why should anyone give a blankety blank about what Roy thinks about the Tarheels?

rockchalkjayhawk4ku11 14 years, 9 months ago

Roy is a great coach but I am still pissed at him for leaving although he wanted to be with his family in NC

philipolson 14 years, 9 months ago

roys got it good now. let's face it, unc is a better school in all aspects. I wish him well and I hope we kick their butt in march. that would be tasty.

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