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Monday, March 1, 2021

Recent win over previously unbeaten Baylor propels Kansas to No. 13 in latest AP poll

Kansas forward David McCormack (33) roars after swatting a Baylor shot late in the second half on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021 at Allen Fieldhouse. At right is Baylor guard Mark Vital (11).

Kansas forward David McCormack (33) roars after swatting a Baylor shot late in the second half on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021 at Allen Fieldhouse. At right is Baylor guard Mark Vital (11).

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The Kansas men’s basketball team is knocking on the door of the top 10 in the Associated Press Top 25 college hoops poll.

Last weekend’s 71-58 win over previously unbeaten Baylor vaulted the Jayhawks four spots to No. 13 in this week’s poll. Baylor, meanwhile, fell just a spot from No. 2 to No. 3.

Kansas is one of seven teams from the Big 12 Conference ranked in the Top 18 of this week’s AP poll.

The Jayhawks (18-8 overall, 12-6 Big 12) are behind No. 3 Baylor and No. 6 West Virginia, and they sit ahead of No. 15 Texas, No. 16 Oklahoma, No. 17 Oklahoma State and No. 18 Texas Tech as the conference enters the final week of the regular season.

Kansas is the only team in the conference that finished its 18-game Big 12 slate by the original end of the regular season. The other nine teams all will play conference games over the next several days, during a week that was built in to the conference schedule as a period for make-up games before the Big 12 tournament because of the anticipation of COVID-19 delays.

Conference tournament seeding will be determined by the end of the week and the Big 12 tourney will begin Wednesday, March 10 at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Despite being done with Big 12 play, KU has added one more non-conference game — 7 p.m. Thursday vs. UTEP at Allen Fieldhouse — in order to ensure that the Jayhawks do not get rusty with what would have been an 11-day layoff between last Saturday’s win over Baylor and their first game in the Big 12 tournament.

The Jayhawks have been one of the hottest teams in college basketball in the past month, winning six of their last seven, with three victories over ranked opponents.

That has KU’s arrow pointing up as the postseason draws near and teams continue to jockey for position for the NCAA Tournament, which is slated to open March 17 in Indianapolis.

ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi currently has Kansas projected as a 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm has the Jayhawks as a 4 seed in his latest update.

Plenty of basketball still to be played between now and Selection Sunday on March 14, which means that both the AP poll and those projected seeds could look a lot different in two weeks.

For now, here’s a look at this week’s complete AP Top 25:

1 – Gonzaga, 24-0, 1,571 (59 first-place votes)

2 – Michigan, 18-1, 1,512 (4)

3 – Baylor, 18-1, 1,450

4 – Illinois, 18-6, 1,350

5 – Iowa, 18-7, 1,266

6 – West Virginia, 17-6, 1,210

7 – Ohio State, 18-7, 1,163

8 – Alabama, 19-6, 1,130

9 – Houston, 20-3, 1,109

10 – Villanova, 15-4, 942

11 – Florida State, 14-4, 897

12 – Arkansas, 19-5, 847

13 – Kansas, 18-8, 785

14 – Creighton, 17-6, 669

15 – Texas, 14-7, 650

16 – Oklahoma, 14-7, 584

17 – Oklahoma State, 16-6, 553

18 – Texas Tech, 15-8, 494

19 – San Diego State, 19-4, 406

20 – Loyola Chicago, 21-4, 367

21 – Virginia, 15-6, 362

22 – Virginia Tech, 15-5, 335

23 – Purdue, 16-8, 192

24 – Colorado, 19-7, 150

25 – Wisconsin, 16-9, 106

Others receiving votes: BYU 101, USC 88, Clemson 47, Florida 24, Tennessee 19, St. Bonaventure 16, Oregon 15, Missouri 13, Wichita State 11, Maryland 9, Toledo 8, Connecticut 5, Belmont 5, Winthrop 4, North Carolina 4, UCLA 2, Louisville 2, UC Santa Barbara 1, Drake 1

Comments

Dale Rogers 1 month, 2 weeks ago

The Big 12 has 70% of it's 10 teams in the top 18, as noted above. The Big Ten has 43% (6) of its 14 teams in the top 25 (not top 18). And the national pundits and fans vote the Big Ten as the toughest conference? Really?

Steven Haag 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Big 10 is definitely not the toughest conference, but I wouldn’t want to face Iowa or Michigan anytime soon.

Keith Gellar 1 month, 2 weeks ago

"The Big 12 has 70% of it's 10 teams in the top 18"...just reading that itself should give anyone with even half a brain to figure out something is wrong. I know a lot are looking at these stats and thumping chest saying we're the toughest conference, but we're not. College bball is down this year and just because a few teams are taking advantage DOESN'T make these teams truly credible and thus, the big 12 power conference.

Make no mistake - big 12 will flame out as always in the tourney.

As we usually say around here - the tourney is a crapshoot. Well, this year - the regular season is a crapshoot.

Joshua Tate 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I LOVE watching KU teams that hustle and play lockdown defense! So glad the team is playing that way again! Here's to hoping they can ride that wave into the tourney.

Steven Haag 1 month, 2 weeks ago

@Keith. Stats and metrics are used to determine NET, BPI, etc. I know several people who were 4.0+ in school, but didn’t score nearly as well when taking tests. They froze up, got nervous, whatever. It didn’t negate the fact that they were brilliant people. The Big XII hast fared well in the big dance, got it. Doesn’t mean we didn’t have the toughest conference. Let the formula that they use speak for itself.

You say basketball is down this year. I agree. However, it is down in EVERY conference so they all have equal shots at proving their legitimacy.

Eliott Reeder 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Excellent points and a solid analogy, Steven.

Keith Gellar 1 month, 2 weeks ago

All i'm saying is lets not make the win against baylor our National Championship game and lets not get the jump to 13 in our heads.

Steven Haag 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Agree with that Keith. I still will be very happy if we win the first 2 games and make it to the sweet 16. With Baylor playing like crap right now, the Big XII doesn’t have a legit title contender like we were last year. That said, anything can happen in the tournament and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Big XII was well represented in the sweet 16.

Dirk Medema 1 month, 2 weeks ago

@Dale - The Big10 also has twice as many teams in the top 10. That being said, we are a Gonzaga loss different than 1/2 of their top 10 teams.

As Matt (?) said the other day, it’s even more of a crapshoot than normal this year with so many missing games.

It’s also tough to claim the toughest moniker when we split the head2head with the SEC.

Brett McCabe 1 month, 2 weeks ago

The tournament is the decider. I don’t know a lot of 4.0 students who froze on tests since tests are generally part of 4.0 GPA construction.

Every year the same debate and every year we ignore the obvious:

Teams in March aren’t the same teams that played non-con games in December. Freshmen grow up. Freshmen get tired. Injuries occur. Rotations change. And teams have only played inside their own conferences for 8 weeks, though the cross-conference challenges certainly help give a a preview of relative league strength.

Which conference is the strongest is decided by play in the NCAA tournament. And I’m guessing there is a metric out there already that measures the results because W-L records alone don’t tell the story (one or two teams from a league advancing far can throw these numbers off, or a 15-2 upset likewise).

Round by round, if your conference was tough, it will show in the toughest tournament in NCAA athletics.

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