Originally published October 29, 2009 at 11:15a.m., updated October 30, 2009 at 12:00a.m.

Jayhawks perched atop another poll

Kansas head coach Bill Self answers questions during Big 12 men's media day Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009 at the Sprint Center.

Kansas head coach Bill Self answers questions during Big 12 men's media day Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009 at the Sprint Center.


Kansas University’s tradition-rich men’s basketball program — which has claimed five national championships — has been ranked preseason No. 1 by the Associated Press just twice in 49 years.

That would be in October of 2004-05 and again ... today.

The Jayhawks on Thursday received 55 first-place votes from a 65-member national AP media panel to total 1,612 points and easily outdistance runner-up Michigan State, which had five first-place votes and 1,515 points. No. 3-ranked Texas, No. 4 Kentucky and No. 6 North Carolina had one, three and one first-place vote respectively. Ranked fifth, Villanova recorded no firsts.

“Definitely it is a big honor,” KU sophomore forward Marcus Morris said Thursday afternoon. “KU has always been one of the top basketball schools ever made. It’s a great honor to be on a team that is preseason No. 1.”

“I feel it’s a great accomplishment for the school and city of Lawrence,” senior forward Mario Little noted. “We work hard each day to try to keep that going, to stay No. 1 and continue to get better.”

The AP ranking came hours after the release of the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll, which also had Kansas No. 1 in the land.

KU coach Bill Self, who jokingly referred to No. 1 ranking as a certain “kiss of death,” says the 2009-10 team doesn’t look like the eventual NCAA champion as of today.

“The team is not the same team as last year right now,” he said of a squad that went 27-8 overall, won the Big 12 and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAAs. “We’ve got to improve from a maturity standpoint in so many areas and get to the point we practice at a consistent, high level. I think this team feels they can turn it on when they want to, and that obviously is not the case, and that will be a tough lesson to learn if we don’t pick it up from an intensity standpoint.

“We aren’t practicing like a team that’s preseason No. 1 in the country. It has been a very few good days of practice, but we do have good players. ... There’s a lot of excitement surrounding these guys.”

The players agree with their coach’s assessment that practice hasn’t been great since the Oct. 16 Late Night in the Phog.

“I think we should work harder,” Marcus Morris said. “To be No. 1 is a very big thing. In his eyes we should be acting like we are No. 1. We should be practicing like we are No. 1. We should be preparing like we are No. 1, and our effort should be like we are No. 1.”

What has been the problem?

“At times it’s been sloppy,” Little said. “Like coach says, our attention span starts wandering. That’s when practice gets sloppy ... when we are thinking about getting out of there and (are) not thinking of getting better.

“We’ve got a lot of new guys. We are trying to get them right,” Little added. “The older guys sometimes are struggling (too). With time, we’ll be great.”

Morris said there has been more teaching at practice this year than during his freshman campaign.

“Last year we didn’t have a choice but to catch on. Everything came fast last year,” Morris said. “Coach is moving a little faster than last year. With a lot of new (guys), we can show them the plays, but they have to go through a lot of reps to get it.”

Self, of course, was coach of the 2004-05 team — the only other squad in school history to be preseason No. 1. That team went 23-7 and won the Big 12, but lost to Bucknell in the first round of the NCAAs.

“That was a tired team that fizzled late,” Self said. “This team is more talented, deeper and probably has more margin for error than that team. But that team had some great leaders with Aaron (Miles), Wayne (Simien), Keith (Langford) and Michael (Lee), and I have yet to see that leadership except from Sherron (Collins) and Cole (Aldrich). We have to have some young guys step up.”

The Jayhawks, who have been ranked in the AP’s preseason Top 10 15 times in the last 18 years, have been ranked in the Top Five nine times in that span. As such, they know what it’s like to be the big game on everybody’s schedule.

“That’s how it was last year, people storming the court because we just came off a national title run,” Little said. “People felt this was their chance to beat us. We will come out with a sense of urgency and be ready to play every night.”

Self hopes so.

“I almost hope there is pressure because I hope they realize that if they are not their best every day and try to get better each and every day, someone else has our game circled on their schedule. I hope we don’t have to be taught a lot of valuable lessons,” Self said.

For now, the Jayhawks can enjoy some positive publicity heading into Tuesday’s 7 p.m. exhibition opener against Fort Hays State.

“I think we do deserve to be No. 1,” Little said. “We return a lot of guys. We didn’t lose anybody except for two seniors who were walk-ons. We’ve got the best point guard in the nation. We’ve got the best big man in the nation, and we’ve got a lot of other guys that fall in between that.”

UNC comparison: Self was asked by the AP to compare this year’s team to last year’s unanimous preseason No. 1 — eventual champ North Carolina.

“There are some similarities, but that North Carolina team had been through a lot more experiences than our guys have,” Self said. “The North Carolina team had been through Final Fours, had been to Elite Eights, had had some heartache, been through some tough times. I don’t know that this group has been through tough times like they had. The fact we return nine guys and a good recruiting class is the reason people are so optimistic about us.”

Naismith watch list: KU’s Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich and Xavier Henry have been named to the 50-player Naismith Trophy Preseason Watch list for 2009-10, the Atlanta Tip-Off Club announced Thursday. KU is the only school to have three players on the list, while five other schools have two candidates.

Collins and Aldrich were also named Wooden Award preseason candidates in August.

Henry is on his first preseason list.

“I sure didn’t expect this, but did expect it for Sherron and Cole. It is a great honor,” Henry said. “Right now we are just trying to work hard as a team in practice and listen to our coaches and learn.”

“Like the Wooden Award, this is really cool for Cole and Xavier,” Collins said. “But this is preseason and as a leader, I have to get my team better day-in and day-out.”

  1. Kansas (55) 27-8 1,612 14
  2. Michigan St. (5) 31-7 1,515 8
  3. Texas (1) 23-12 1,397 —
  4. Kentucky (3) 22-14 1,372 —
  5. Villanova 30-8 1,347 11
  6. North Carolina (1) 34-4 1,320 2
  7. Purdue 27-10 1,284 17
  8. West Virginia 23-12 1,115 —
  9. Duke 30-7 1,064 6
  10. Tennessee 21-13 897 —
  11. Butler 26-6 864 22
  12. Connecticut 31-5 844 5
  13. California 22-11 800 —
  14. Washington 26-9 776 15
  15. Michigan 21-14 578 —
  16. Ohio St. 22-11 465 —
  17. Oklahoma 30-6 410 7
  18. Mississippi St. 23-13 393 —
  19. Louisville 31-6 335 1
  20. Georgetown 16-15 326 —
  21. Dayton 27-8 318 —
  22. Georgia Tech 12-19 301 —
  23. Illinois 24-10 282 —
  24. Clemson 23-9 217 24
  25. Minnesota 22-11 172 —

Others receiving votes: Maryland 171, Siena 112, Notre Dame 107, Florida St. 92, Vanderbilt 90, Syracuse 83, Oklahoma St. 65, UCLA 63, Florida 53, Wake Forest 50, Xavier 42, Gonzaga 37, South Carolina 28, Kansas St. 24, BYU 21, N. Iowa 16, Tulsa 16, Mississippi 15, Texas A&M; 10, Missouri 8, Boston College 6, Pittsburgh 4, Utah St. 2, Va. Commonwealth 2, W. Kentucky 2, Holy Cross 1, Old Dominion 1.

The Associated Press contributed to this report


86finalfour 10 years, 3 months ago

Just got my tix for Temple game in Philly! Wooohooo!!

86finafour NYC resident Jayhawk, Kansas bred.

86finalfour 10 years, 3 months ago

We're bringing our very own Beware of the Phog banner we had signed by Manning, Brown and Self in NYC a few years ago :

100 10 years, 3 months ago

"I'd love to go undefeated. Everybody says, it's just a dream. Everybody says it's impossible. First you have to believe. Well, I won 38 games at Memphis, more than anyone in the history of the NCAA. 40-0? Yes it's possible. Somebody will be first to do it. I'd love for it to be me."

-- Coach John Calipari, Oct 1, 2009

Cody Stumma 10 years, 3 months ago

He means that he lost 38 games at Memphis, right?

I guess Calipari forgot that Memphis was stripped of it's 38 wins in 2008.

angusmcpherr 10 years, 3 months ago

HCBS is not focused on UK. He is focused on KU. That is solely where our focus should be. Everything else will take care of itself.

Alex Wishart 10 years, 3 months ago

just bought my KU v UCLA tix for Dec 6th. holler! i can't wait to be in the PP waving the wheat!

100 10 years, 3 months ago

Forget Texas. We just need to be the best we can be. As long as we do that, and play each game with great enthusiasm, everything else takes care of itself. It's time to get to work.


Chris Shaw 10 years, 3 months ago

Here is the diary entry of H. Barnes on his visit to Duke. A lot of his entries sound the same and he obviously likes things about each school, but I think he is Duke bound. That really stinks because he is only 3.5 hours away and it would be great to see him in a Jayhawk uniform.

Michael Auchard 10 years, 3 months ago

I just wonder if UCLA will even be able to play a game by Dec. 6th. The entire team is banged up!

Chris Shaw 10 years, 3 months ago

alexwishawk: Where did you get your tickets? I am also thinking about flying out there. You have decent seats? I think most of what is available is up around the top?

Chris Shaw 10 years, 3 months ago

I definitely want to see a game in Pauley before I die, but UCLA is going to be pretty bad this year. Maybe I'll save my money and use it towards the Texas game in Austin instead. Who's coming with me?

Joe Baker 10 years, 3 months ago

kushaw- It doesn't mean anything...look what he said about his visit with HCBS:

So Saturday night I had a chance to go over Coach Self’s house for dinner, and it is by far the greatest house that I’ve ever seen in my life. I think that “MTV Cribs” needs to definitely go over there and shoot his house, because I truly got lost in it a few times. It’s hard to put into words how massive this house is.

He mentioned going to visit ucla and he would tell us about that trip too. It's kinda neat to hear his experiences.

Let's enjoy and continue to hope he will be in crimson/blue!!

Tony Bandle 10 years, 3 months ago

Pipe dream here but maybe No Canwinna and Puke trashed each other so badly that KU will be the last person [have to be politically correct, you know] standing.and Harrison will make the true choice.

At the very least, this kid knows to avoid Yuktucky like the plague!!!

Jason Roberts 10 years, 3 months ago

I'll be at the KU-UCLA game on December 6th. It will be my second trip to Pauley Pavilion (3rd overall). Now I just have to send away for some gear from either the KU Bookstore or Kansas Sampler in Mission, KS.

newyorkjayhawk 10 years, 3 months ago

bulls-eye on our back or not, HCBS has been in the position of "favorite", on the collegiate level many times... as have Collins and Aldrich... in fact the only ones who haven't are the freshmen coming in. Those who have should already realize that as long as they play their game, there's NOTHING that can stop them. It's the intangibles that always make or break you, and with Collins on the perimeter, there's no doubt we have the toughest-minded kid in the nation to "make us" when the pressure is on.

The game that HCBS preaches is the high-low with our post players, always having one talented and versatile 3, and a leader who can score from the point at will (ala Chalmers and/or Collins... and maybe this year it's Taylor)... I personally believe that either Henry, M. Morris, or Little will step up big in the 3 spot this season and therefore leaving the only MAJOR question being who the "high" will be on the post... as long as we find a suitable 4 to feed the big man Cole on the block with regularity, we should be unstoppable... i'm not saying undefeated, because an unblemished season is more historic than mere dominant... but we can be something special... i'm hoping that either Kief, Withey, or TRob can handle that spot... if not, then we will run into a red hot UK, UT, MSU, or UNC at the wrong time at the Tourney and we will have problems... again, I think this team is something special... with EJ and CJ Henry, in addition to improved Releford and Reed, our backcourt is stacked... then add healthy and solid midseason adds of Withey and Morningstar, and WOW) the only question now is if we have both spots of the high-low system in place.


kvskubball 10 years, 3 months ago

According to one of the scouting guru's Adreian Payne has chosen Michigan State. Iz gets his!

waywardJay 10 years, 3 months ago

Drgn- As much as it pains me.... John Wall WILL Be eligible, and they WILL make a run. It's predetermined. What happens when they get there is not though, i Suppose. he may have to sit out 4 games in the regular season..... That's it.... Wall will be in uniform, very very soon.

waywardJay 10 years, 3 months ago

However.... when the word comes out and calipari has to invalidate in wins he has this year because he used and ineligible recruit.... they can say the will be #1 at Wins Voided by using ineligible players..... at least for this year

BCRavenJHawkfan 10 years, 3 months ago

True satisfaction would be winning it all and beating the team sitting at number 2 in this preseason poll. Hated the way we competed against them last year.

mandomax 10 years, 3 months ago

Three Kansas players on Naismith trophy preseason watch list: Cole Aldrich, Sherron Collins, Xavier Henry

Joe Baker 10 years, 3 months ago

Wow- X already on the watch list without having played a single game?


Michael Auchard 10 years, 3 months ago

Some say X looks looks like the best KU recruit since Paul Pierce. The inside/outside game + the strength... I've heard "experts" say it, and I'll stop believing them when X proves otherwise. I just hope he doesn't really bust it out until next year... well, not all of it at least.

100 10 years, 3 months ago

Speaking of Cal's investigation...

Oh wait a minute, UK_Cats said it's not Cal getting investigated, it's Wall...

OK then... Wall.... Let's see... Just trying to remember this all star Kentucky player you're talking about...

You mean the same Wall who took two trips with an agent to visit Billy Clyde Gillespie & was planning on signing with Kentucky and was planning on playing under Gillespie?

You mean the same Wall who then ended up on a trip to Memphis a year ago with the same agent to meet with an unnamed coach at an unnamed University?

You mean the same Wall whose agent, on the same Memphis trip that Wall suddenly became fascinated with playing the dribble drive me offense, talked to the unnamed Coach in an undisclosed campus location with a wad of unmarked bills in the agents hand, freshly given to him by the unnamed coach?

You mean the same Wall whose agent had multiple contacts with the current coach of the Kentucky Wildcats way before he even decided to play for Coach Cal!!!???

Now I know who you're talking about!!!!

You're talking about your player whose agent moved to Lexington a few weeks ago &, as reported by your very own paper, has been seen out on the town with your new head coach!!!!

Yes, now I'm beginning to remember...

You're talking about your new player who was caught breaking into someone's house, just weeks before showing up on your campus!!!

I know that guy!!!!

It's John Wall!!!

Your new savior!!!

Yes, I know him...

This is your player who could barely pass the SAT so John Calipari tried to diffuse those reports by having him take a couple easy summer school classes so he could publicly look "smart" because your new Coach said so!!!

Yes... that John Wall....

You mean the same Wall who is having his SAT testing locations & drastically conflicting SAT grade reports looked into by the NCAA, due to conviently having a person with something to gain, an unnamed agent, setting up where Wall is tested the second time, an agent who conviently knows, is fast friends with & now lives very close to your new coach in the same city?

OK... that John Wall....

His investigation...

Excuse me, KY_Cats...

Its an honest mistake on my part -- for 15 years, I have honestly been thinking your coach is being investigated...

Thanks for clearing it up.

Michael Auchard 10 years, 3 months ago

Eh... if you can put up with closing some pop-ups, it's funny. The internet has once again ruined a LOL moment for me to share.

Priest Fontaine 10 years, 3 months ago


are you mark by any chance? Im going to the temple game as well. -nyc priest

Matt Bowers 10 years, 3 months ago

Is there any way to watch the jayhawk game online?

Rock Chalk

Joel Hood 10 years, 3 months ago

Yahweh, Don't be too hard on yourself. It was a good effort. I laughed. RCJH.

86finalfour 10 years, 3 months ago

Priest, It's Mickey. What's up?! I got tixs for Marc and me the other day. Great to hear you'll be there! I'm sure we'll meet up at some point. We're in the 3rd row of KU section. YOU?

Tony Bandle 10 years, 3 months ago

I've seen better shots of HCBS's toup!!

DoubleDD 10 years, 3 months ago

I've been giving this undefeated notion some thought. I think to win every game a team must be close and play with a chip on their shoulder. Um I'm not sure KU fits the mold. KU has their fair share of talent, but something is missing to me. Don't get me wrong I still think KU is by far and way the best team in the country and very deserving of their #1 ranking. I just wouldn't be surpised if KU loses a game we didn't expect to lose.

David Leathers 10 years, 3 months ago

KUShaw- The tickets available for the UCLA game on Dec. 6th. are in the nosebleed section for 135 a piece.. there are, however, $400 tickets on the second level(there are three levels) which would be my choice if I had that kind of money.. But also I think there were FEW FEW seats available courtside for well above 1000...

I'm going but paying the $135! See any other Jayhawks at the game... I'll have my chest and face painted!!

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

Friday Fools Gold Filagrees:

} KU is "perched" now and not "tapped"--progress is slow but inexorable.

} Self's quest for glasses continues.

} Composing pictures of people taking pictures of Coach Self. Effortless genius. Next time work in a mirror revealing you, too, Nick.

} OakvilleJHawk, that's not a toupe, that's a very flat chinchilla.

} Coach John Calipari is off to Vegas to receive the new Jerry Tarkanian Award For Investigated Recruiting.

} The EPA has just designated Rupp Arena a Superfund Site.

} UK Basketball: The uninvestigated coaching the investigated in a season to be forfeited.

} New book by Coach Cal: "How to Coach The Investigated Player."

} Rumors continue to fly out of Lexington that Ashley Judd will move to Lawrence out of disgust with reputed UK improprieties.

} Another impossible-to-believe rumor our of Lexington has it that NYC and World Trade Center real estate tycoon Larry Silverstein has just master leased Rupp Arena and that Vegas oddsmakers are now giving even odds that Rupp Arena will fall in its own foot print due to a long delayed after shock of 9/11 just now reaching Lexington.

} No word yet on whether UK will contract with Neil Bush's firm to provide the same building security for Rupp Arena that it reputedly did for the WTC on 9/11.

} John Feinstein and Gabriel Garcia Marquez are rumored to be collaborating on a book about UK basketball called: "Basketball on the Edge in a Time of Cholera."

} UK has reputedly fired a media consulting firm named "SportsSpin" for proposing the following school slogan: "Sticks and Stones May Break Our Bones, But Investigations Will Never Catch Us."

} Will Danny Manning be KU's second bald head coach?

} Investigators now believe the spate of DUIs among KU basketball players can be tracked to a conspiracy of Kentucky distillers giving KU players a new Kentucky sports drink called Sleazade, which is basically Gatorade laced with Jack Daniels.

} Assistant Coach Joe Dooley is recovering nicely from his ear job.

Note: All fiction. No malice.

Steve Brown 10 years, 3 months ago

Success formula: Defense, play tough, play as team, lead in assists, get break away points, pass the rock. 3+ touches before a shot, have fun, enjoy the moment.

100 yrs. of players will confirm the time on campus flies by much too quickly, enjoy each day.


KUbsee69 10 years, 3 months ago

HCBS says the number 1 ranking is the kiss of death.

Not Yet ... I'm waiting for Cole and Sherron to appear on the cover of SI to complete the jinx.

Anybody know if Cole and/or Sherron went to Hef's in LA to get photographed for the All-Playboy team photo?

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago


Haven't you heard? Self's new 27000 sf home (mansion?) in Lawrence is a JV with Hef. The photo shoot was held in the new digs in Lawrence. Self and Hef are working on a hand shake deal. Self teaches Hef and his bunnies defense. Hef teaches Self how to coach in pajamas and smoke a pipe!

Remember, Playboy started in the midwest in Chicago and Lake Geneva.

This move by Self and Hef is just bringing the Playboy empire full circle to its heart-of-America roots.

Eurekahwk 10 years, 3 months ago

Let's separate this group from the 04-05 debacle really quick. That team was built by Roy Williams to play run and gun. Bill Self tried to teach them to win by playing excellent defense and the Hi-Lo. They couldn't do either. That team was not fun to watch at all. They couldn't play real basketball. Actually, they weren't deep. So I'm not sure they would have been well equipped to play Roy Williams' Secondary Break either. Coaching transition really puts a hitch in your success. Ask Kentucky.

Jangaroo 10 years, 3 months ago

How many five star recruits did Self bring with him to KU his first year?

kvskubball 10 years, 3 months ago


"Coaching transition really puts a hitch in your success. Ask Kentucky."

You must be talking about the transition TO Billy G., because most UK fans are just tickled pink(or in their case a big BLUE) with their newest transition to Dribbles drive!

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago


A more realistic question would be: how many recruits did Self bring to KU that took their own SATs?

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

Does anyone else worry that Coach Self is looking a little pale in Krug's picture? Lighting, or has the man been burning it at both ends, or fighting H1N1? Get some sun, coach. We can't go 40-0 without you being in good shape, too.

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 3 months ago

Actually, Jaybate, most everybody in that photo looks pale except the reporter with her elbows on the table. It was probably an exposure issue, but not a lack of exposure to the sun, the camera's exposure.

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

Dear Louis Dega memhawk,

Always good to hear from you. Yes, let's hope its lighting.

Sincerely, Papillon

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