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Monday, February 27, 2017

Jayhawks take over No. 1 spot in latest AP rankings

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) flashes a smile as the Jayhawks close out the game against West Virginia in overtime, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) flashes a smile as the Jayhawks close out the game against West Virginia in overtime, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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With just a week left to play in the regular season, Kansas has ascended to the No. 1 spot in the country.

Following losses this past week by previously undefeated Gonzaga and a Villanova team that so often this year has been ranked just ahead of KU, the Jayhawks jumped from No. 3 to the top of the Associated Press college basketball poll, released Monday.

Of the 65 first-place votes, KU received 58. Villanova, which remained at No. 2, got two first-place nods. Three more went to No. 3 UCLA, while two other ballots stuck with Gonzaga, which dropped to No. 4, at the top.

Although coach Bill Self’s Kansas team, led by senior Frank Mason III, junior Devonte’ Graham and freshman Josh Jackson, have received first-place votes in five other weeks this season, it marks the first time for this group of Jayhawks to earn an AP No. 1 ranking.

Kansas is the sixth school to be No. 1 this season. The Jayhawks were on top last season for five weeks, including the final three polls of the season.

KU, the preseason No. 3 team in the country, spent three weeks at No. 2 in January, and was No. 3 in 10 of the previous 16 rankings.

Kansas fell to No. 7 — its lowest rank of the season — following a Nov. 11 overtime loss to Indiana, in Honolulu, but defeated Duke In New York the following week and hasn’t dropped out of the top five since. This marks the 13th consecutive week in the top three for the Jayhawks (26-3 overall, 14-2 Big 12).

With the latest move to No. 1, Kansas has been ranked first by the AP 64 times in program history — and 25 times in head coach Self’s 14 seasons in Lawrence. This is KU’s 109th week within the top five during the Self era.

The Jayhawks will play their first game this season as the No. 1 team in the nation in their home finale, versus Oklahoma (10-18, 4-12), at 8 p.m. Monday (ESPN).

AP TOP 25 — Feb. 27, 2017

No. 1. Kansas

No. 2. Villanova

No. 3. UCLA

No. 4. Gonzaga

No. 5. North Carolina

No. 6. Oregon

No. 7. Arizona

No. 8. Louisville

No. 9. Kentucky

No. 10. West Virginia

No. 11. Baylor

No. 12. Florida

No. 13. Butler

No. 14. SMU

No. 15. Florida State

No. 16. Purdue

No. 17. Duke

No. 18. Cincinnati

No. 19. Notre Dame

No. 20. Saint Mary’s

No. 21. Wichita State

No. 22. Wisconsin

No. 23. Virginia

No. 24. Iowa State

No. 25. Miami (Fla.)

Comments

Craig Alexander 2 years, 2 months ago

Let's close out the season from now through April as number 1! Rock Chalk!

Bryce Landon 2 years, 2 months ago

Please tell me you're not related to Cliff.

Craig Alexander 2 years, 2 months ago

No sir. I had Alexander for a last name much longer than he did.

Suzi Marshall 2 years, 2 months ago

Nice recognition and reward for a team that has fought through a tough schedule, numerous close game and off court distractions, two rough losses, key injuries and Bill Walton calling a game. The best games for this team are still to come. The could peak are exactly the right time.

Len Shaffer 2 years, 2 months ago

Love your inclusion of Bill Walton in list of trials and tribulations!

Suzi Marshall 2 years, 2 months ago

Walton was much more stressing than anything reported by the KC Star's Bauer

Bryce Landon 2 years, 2 months ago

The already-ginormous bullseye on our back just got even bigger.

Marius Rowlanski 2 years, 2 months ago

I'm not sure how much bigger the bull's-eye can get. The #1 ranking only matters for 2 more games then it's the BIG 12 Tournament and the NCAA.

Craig Alexander 2 years, 2 months ago

Frank has had a big bullseye on his back all year and has done fairly well. This tough team can wear it.

Mike Greer 2 years, 2 months ago

Josh Jackson as an incoming freshman stated early on something to the effect '. . . we're Kansas, we get everyone's best shot . . .' When you've been ranked in the top 10 as many times as Kansas and when you've won your conference as many times in a row as Kansas, you're already getting marked on every teams calendar, so maybe they get up a little more trying to knock off a number 1 than a number 2 or 3, but the bullseye is already about as big as it can get.

I really hope I don't have to watch OSU rush the court again this year, and I know we will get their best shot in Gallagher-Iba.

Len Shaffer 2 years, 2 months ago

Given our recent history as a number one seed and being ranked number one, I hope this isn't the kiss of death.

It's always nice to be recognized, but now let's hope the 'Hawks can go out and prove it in the tournament.

Kurt Eskilson 2 years, 2 months ago

If KU has ever had a team with both the humility and the dogged determination to handle a #1 ranking, it would be this one.

Brian Mellor 2 years, 2 months ago

I'm still unclear how losing in the final seconds to the eventual champion in the Elite 8 is somehow a kiss of death moment. If we had won that game the season would have suddenly been considered a great one. 2-3 plays go one way or the other changes that much?

Len Shaffer 2 years, 2 months ago

I wasn't including last year, as that was not a collapse, but KU has certainly had its share of poor tournament performances as a number 1 seed.

RJ King 2 years, 2 months ago

Lunardi now has us with #2 Kentucky, #3 Arizona, and #4 Duke (and facing #8 Wichita State or #9 Michigan St).

Gonzaga gets #2 Oregon, #3 Florida State, and #4 Purdue. I assume the Zags are now the 4th best One Seed, but their bracket seems a bit easier.

Jonathan Allison 2 years, 2 months ago

Meanwhile ESPN's BPI, Sagarin's predictor, and KenPom.com have us at #9, #8, and #7. I have some ideas, but I'm curious why the computer rankings hate us (except for the infamous RPI.)

Barry Weiss 2 years, 2 months ago

I have no idea why that would be, other than maybe because our games are all fairly close scores? The good side to that is that we've shown the ability to pull those close games out, even when down big. Personally, I prefer 20 point blow outs.

Marius Rowlanski 2 years, 2 months ago

BPI:

The College Basketball Power Index (BPI) is a measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of performance going forward. BPI represents how many points above or below average a team is. Strength of Record (SOR) is a measure of team accomplishment based on how difficult a team's W-L record is to achieve. Game predictions account for opponent strength, pace of play, site, travel distance, day's rest and altitude, and are used to simulate the season 10,000 times to produce season projections. Numbers update daily.

Altitude, Pace, Distance, Rest, Site?

That clears things up.

Chris Shaw 2 years, 2 months ago

I've said for the last couple weeks that we as fans should want Duke to keep winning so they don't stay on the 4/5 seed line. Duke is the only team I don't want to see in the country before The Final 4. Beating a team twice is so hard. Especially the caliber of a Duke program coached by K.

http://m.espn.com/ncb/bracketology?src=desktop

Mike Riches 2 years, 2 months ago

Totally agree, and add Kentucky to that list as well. Right now Lunardi has Wichita State, Duke, Kentucky and Arizona in our Midwest bracket, which would put us with arguably the toughest 3 seed, an in state "rival" and two good teams that would be seeking revenge. I understand his bracketology means nothing, but I would be stressed if I saw that draw on Selection Sunday. Then again, we'd have the two toughest games in Kansas City which would make me feel better...

RJ King 2 years, 2 months ago

Totally agree. Hopefully conference tournaments will shake things up. Gonzaga's bracket looks like a cakewalk.

Jaston Archie 2 years, 2 months ago

I was watching some highlights of last year's team, and I must say that the intangibles and chemistry of this year's team is waaaayyyy better. Something just wasn't right with Traylor, Selden, Greene and even Perry had bad body language a lot of times. But this year under the leadership of Graham, Mason and Lucas, you can see that they're all about winning and have even allowed Jackson to be a leader of the team as a freshman. I really believe this team is poised to win it all this year. We lost to Villanova last year because they were tougher and KU leaned too heavily on Perry and Jay Wright exposed that. This year's team is much tougher, more balanced and has more weapons

Tony Bandle 2 years, 2 months ago

Random thoughts from Oakville:

1] Interesting week coming up. We hardly ever lose on Senior Night and it seems recently we hardly ever win in Stillwater. [Isn't Frank 0-3 down there?].

2] Lunardi is full of beans if he projects all those heavyweights in one region. CBS will want to spread them out to set up numerous match ups later.

3] Come on, when was the last time Duke played someone that, after the game, old Rat Face couldn't walk home?

4] I wonder if Trae Young will be watching the game tonight harboring second thoughts?

5] If Tyler commits a turn over, will Bill yank him and end up sleeping on the couch tomorrow night?

6] What the hell was Warren Beatty thinking???

Tony Bandle 2 years, 2 months ago

Errata: #5 I swear the envelope said tomorrow night!!

Marius Rowlanski 2 years, 2 months ago

33 consecutive going into tonight's game.

I know what Justin Timberlake was thinking :)

Joe Ross 2 years, 2 months ago

I cant recall, but I think Kansas was ranked number 1 earlier in the year, werent they? If not, they were certainly ranked very highly, but then it didnt last. I wasnt sure that they deserved the high ranking then, as the sample size of information was very small, and there were a lot of teams that I felt were playing equal or better than Kansas. Please note that Im not talking about the record, but the play on the floor (big men not performing well, JJ still adjusting to the game, etc.). Now, however, based on the body of work, it's hard to argue that any team is more deserving than Kansas of the number 1 ranking.

Jaston Archie 2 years, 2 months ago

This is the first time KU has been #1 and it's long overdue imo

Tony Bandle 2 years, 2 months ago

Joe, we were ranked #2 for six games but this is the first game at #1.

Greg Lux 2 years, 2 months ago

Joe, I am old and my memory sucks but I am also thinking we were 1 in the coaches poll earlier this season. Just can't put a time to my memory...

Mallory Briggans 2 years, 2 months ago

i live here in Texas and several of the Longhorn players said they were sick and tired of hearing about how great Kansas is and the streak of conference championships ...Frank Mason is overated and just all the praise Kansas gets.......

Henry Joseph Hofmeister 2 years, 2 months ago

Well, many of them probably could have played here. Make your bed and lie in it boys. If they are tired of it, all they have to do is step up their game and make people talk about them.

Marius Rowlanski 2 years, 2 months ago

Texas hired Shaka Smart. What did they think was going to happen?

RJ King 2 years, 2 months ago

They are free to make up as many alternative facts as they want if it will help with their bruised egos.

Clara Westphal 2 years, 2 months ago

Sorry, Mallory, but that is just the way it is.

Joe Ross 2 years, 2 months ago

The February 27th's edition of ESPN's Bracketology with Joe Lunardi really does Kansas no favors. Duke, Arizona, AND Kentucky in Kansas' bracket...as the number 1 overall seed (presumably)?

Just...wow!

I dont understand why Arizona would be in the midwest as a 3 seed when their natural area of interest is in the west. Florida State as a 3 seed is shipped all the way out west. Maybe it has something to do with the rule of not giving a lower-seeded team a "home-court advantage", but still! Woah!

Marius Rowlanski 2 years, 2 months ago

How many times has Joe Leonardi correctly picked the top 4 seeds in each region?

Mallory Briggans 2 years, 2 months ago

Lol......wait Clara......I'm a Jayhawk.....no doubt about it ....i was born a raised in Kansas......let the truth be known i hate the university of Texas ......

Jonathan Allison 2 years, 2 months ago

Meanwhile I think that the polls are showing a general lack of respect for the Big 12. Iowa State at #24 and OSU unranked.

All OSU has done is win 10 of their last 11 games. Only loss in last 11 games was by 3 against Baylor. They have beaten WVU, they beat TTU twice, TCU twice, OU twice, KSU, and they manhandled Arkansas. They face ISU and KU to close out the regular season. They finally have a scary good coach and no one wants to play them in March.

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