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.

Monday, February 27, 2017

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.)