Wednesday, January 11, 2017

KU’s Bill Self says Jayhawks ‘don’t deserve’ top spot in national rankings

Kansas head coach Bill Self talks with his players in the huddle during the second half, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017 at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla.

Kansas head coach Bill Self talks with his players in the huddle during the second half, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017 at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla.


A couple of hours before the Kansas men’s basketball team put the finishing touches on an impressive comeback victory over Oklahoma Tuesday night in Norman, the top-ranked Baylor Bears were whipped by No. 10 West Virginia, clearing the way for Kansas to climb into the No. 1 spot in next week’s polls.

But that hardly registered as good news inside the Kansas locker room following the Jayhawks’ 81-70 victory over the Sooners.

“We don’t deserve that,” said KU coach Bill Self, who also picked up his 400th victory as the leader of the Jayhawks on Tuesday night. “I’ve coached for a while and I’ve felt like there are some teams that have put in time and effort, and I don’t feel like this team quite has.”

Winners of 15 straight after a season-opening loss to Indiana in the Armed Forces Classic in Honolulu, Kansas (15-1 overall, 4-0 Big 12) opened the season ranked No. 3, fell to No. 7 after the loss to the Hoosiers and has been on a steady climb back toward the top ever since.

However, in back-to-back weeks and in separate polls, Baylor, which suffered its first loss of the season on Tuesday night, jumped the Jayhawks, first from No. 3 to No. 2 in the AP Poll and then from No. 3 to No. 1 in the coaches poll the following week.

After each, Self said he anticipated the Bears’ rise in the polls, largely because of their unblemished record at the time and a strength of schedule that ranked among the nation’s best.

In the first month of the season alone, Baylor (15-1, 3-1) picked up wins over four Top 25 teams and became one of the most talked about teams in the country.

“I was actually happy Baylor jumped us, to be candid with you,” Self reiterated Tuesday night.

Typically, these types of honors and accomplishments mean more to fans, and sometimes even players, than they do coaches. But KU freshman Josh Jackson, who after the OU win was asked what being No. 1 next week would mean, also seemed less than impressed about the possibility of claiming the top spot in the polls in mid-January.

“It doesn’t mean that much,” Jackson said of the potential for KU to become the nation’s No. 1 team with a win over Oklahoma State Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse. “It (would be) a little pat on the back for all the work we’ve done so far, but we know that we have a long way to go and it doesn’t really mean that much right now.”

Added Self: “If we win Saturday, we could go to that, but I’d much rather be 5-0 (in Big 12 play) than be ranked No. 1.”


Harlan Hobbs 4 years ago

"I'd rather be 5-0 in the conference than #1." Amen, Coach.

Being #1 only means something one time each year. That's not to say that there can't be great satisfaction with something less than a National Championship. Frankly, I've been satisfied every year because I know that there isn't a better staff or groups of young men anywhere in the country. We are blessed, and we have plenty to be proud of as fans.

Brian Mellor 4 years ago

Give it back to Nova. About the same record with a significantly stronger strength of schedule.

Jay Scott 4 years ago

Nova has played a tougher schedule ? Sarcasm, right?

Brian Mellor 4 years ago

No, just a casual bit of research. Kenpom lists them at 18 to KU's 31. (Overall rank 3 to 5)

Sagarin, I believe, puts theirs at 15, ours at 25 (overall 4 to 5)

6-1 versus top 50 to 4-1; 4-1 versus top 25 to 1-1

CBS bracketology SOS has them at 3, us at 18. RPI #1 vs #4.

They've played 5 teams in the current top 25, 4-1. We've played 2 with Duke and K-State. Their loss is to a team in the Top 25 (Butler). Our loss (IU) is no longer in the Top 25.

At this moment in time, we have the inferior resume as I see it. But I'd entertain a counter-argument. Not that it matters. If we win out this week we'll probably be #1, since the rankings are what you've done lately, and Nova's loss is more recent.

RJ King 4 years ago

Nice "casual research." Thanks.

Jay Scott 4 years ago

Excellent research. My casual scan of Nova's schedule obviously didn't assess it accurately. Well done. I stand corrected.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years ago

Villanova isn't deserving a #1 spot either. The best team so far this season has been UCLA. If we going to Rupp and handle Kentucky in the same manner as UCLA then we deserve the ranking.

And truthfully – who really cares at this point? All it is is something fans use to "prove" who is the top teams in basketball.

Mike Greer 4 years ago

If you want to go by strength of schedule, let Baylor keep the number one spot, they've beaten some good teams.

Brian Mellor 4 years ago

Fairly, just going by RPI and SOS of the 1-loss teams, even with the WVU loss it should be Nova, Baylor, KU. That's just not the way the AP rankings tend to work, though.

I'd add, finally found the ESPN rankings (forgot they go through bracketology) Nova, RPI 1, SOS 5, Non-con SOS 19 Baylor, RPI 2, SOS 12, Non-con SOS 20 KU, RPI 4, SOS 33, Non-con SOS 74

Our non-conference had 2 high quality games, and IU's fall has taken one of those away a bit. We haven't hit the real meat of the Big 12. We could just as easily get torched at Morgantown as Baylor did. I'd call it the 2nd most difficult place to play on the road in the Big 12.

Mike Greer 4 years ago

My comment was strictly a comparison of BU and KU based on a minimal amount of research from the week they jumped us in the rankings. Obviously you did your homework to get across the board current numbers. Great job.

Our non conference schedule was not as loaded this year as it's been in the past. Not sure why that is, it's usually very tough. The UK game coming up in Rupp will strengthen it some. But then of course, we need to win that game.

Humpy Helsel 4 years ago

As long as we are the mythical #1 just means a "court storming" at our next road loss which will eventually come in conference. Oh, well, that would probably happen anyway. After all, we are Kansas.

Brian Mellor 4 years ago

RJ King: Ha, well the CBS link was the only one I looked up originally. When challenged (and by the guy who brings up arguments he feels like he won literally months after the fact) I figured I'd cover my bases a little more.

Marius: UCLA has the best win of the season, maybe, but the rest of their schedule is garbage. But obviously with both UCLA and Ku, you can only play the schedule you got.

Anyway, this is just insomnia tasking. Fun mental activity. Now gonna try to sleep again. Argue away as you see fit.

Jay Scott 4 years ago

Brian. I'm more than happy to acknowledge your well stated and accurate counter to my flawed comparison of the KU and Nova schedules. Well done, and thank you!

As some have found, I'm less swayed by misquoted scripture, Doobies lyrics and deranged Donald Trump rants..

Bryce Landon 4 years ago

If you've won 15 in a row and can make it 16 (can anyone else say that?), then I say yes, you do deserve to be #1.

Edward Daub 4 years ago

Brian must be a Disciple of the Former DuPont Corporate Saying, "In God We Trust, All Others Bring Data"!

Okay Brian, if WVU is your 2nd most difficult place to play on the road, then Where is #1? Just curious what your Stats say! I am betting on ISU or OSU or KSU (or maybe you meant AFH?).

I just received a Late Christmas Gift, two tickets to Morgantown on Jan. 24. The last thing I want to see is "Young Mounties" rushing the Court!

Brian Mellor 4 years ago

Lol, of course I meant Allen. I suppose I should have specified all Big 12 venues, not just the ones faced on the road by KU.

Mike Greer 4 years ago

With a home record of a bazillion (actually 212) to 9 during the Self era, where else could it be more difficult to play an away game? If the announcers over the past several years have any insight into arenas, then Allen may be the most difficult road game anywhere, not just the Big XII

Brian Mellor 4 years ago

I've lived in Raleigh, NC now for the last couple years, and am really interested in attending at least one Duke game at Cameron to see how it actually compares to Allen. Pretty much everybody on the national stage says that one or the other is the best venue in the sport, sometimes in all sports.

Dale Rogers 4 years ago

As noted in an earlier comment the rankings are "what have you done recently." And that's as it should be. A team that struggled early but is clearly superior now should be ranked on its quality today. That said, I'm not commenting on which team should be number one right now. That's just too subjective with there being so many good teams out there.

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