The voters in the Associated Press college basketball poll didn't punish Kansas too severely for losing to Villanova in a Battle 4 Atlantis semi-final game played in the Bahamas. The Jayhawks (6-1) dropped from second to sixth, one spot behind Ohio State, one spot ahead of defending national-champion Louisville.
The top 25 teams in The Associated Press' college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Dec. 1, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week's ranking:
Record Pts Prv
Others receiving votes: Indiana 74, Virginia 73, New Mexico 71, North Carolina 62, Florida St. 40, Boise St. 36, Pittsburgh 36, VCU 30, Charlotte 20, Colorado 17, Creighton 17, Missouri 16, Harvard 10, Illinois 10, Cincinnati 8, Mississippi 3, George Washington 2, Saint Mary's (Cal) 2, Xavier 1.
My AP ballot:
1. Michigan State: Crossword puzzle authors rooting for senior do-it-all center Adreian Payne to hit winning shot in NCAA title game so he will be famous enough that his first name can become a common answer, such as “aloe,” “area,” “aria,” and “Erie.”
2. Kentucky: The Cats attack offensive glass with muscle, hustle and quickness to snare 48.0 percent of the shots they miss, second nationally only to Cincinnati (48.1), per kenpom.com.
3. Arizona: Kaleb Tarczewski, 7-foot soph KU finished second on coming along nicely for Zona, averaging 9.7 points, 6.7 boards, 1.9 blocked shots.
4. Louisville: One of five schools on this ballot that will be play in ACC next year and North Carolina isn’t one of them. With Cards coming on board, ACC will be more loaded than Otis from the Andy Griffith Show.
5. Syracuse: The sun never shines in this central, N.Y. town, which is a shame because sunlight brings out the best in the Orange. Jim Boeheim has a 9--0 record in Maui Classic. He has C.J. Fair to thank for another tourney title.
6. Ohio State: All six victories by double digits, but it’s how many, not by how many, that counts. Just ask the football team, which edged that school from up north by a point. Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller, join the Heisman Trophy race.
7. Kansas: Ranks 265th in nation with .307 three-point marksmanship and 347th in experience of 351 teams, according to kenpom.com. Only James Madison, Evansville, Howard and Kentucky, the nation’s least experienced squad, rank below KU.
8. UConn: Rank sixth in nation with .446 three-point accuracy. Even retired coach Jim Calhoun wouldn’t sneer at that, except 55.4 percent of the time.
9. Duke: Freshman Jabari Parker finally held under 20 points, scoring 19 in loss to Arizona. It wasn’t for lack of effort. He hoisted 21 shots.
10. Villanova: Size matters, but ‘Nova proves it’s possible to compensate with a good game plan executed with serious passion and timely long-range shooting.
11. Oregon: Schedule thickens with next two games at undefeated Ole Miss and at home vs. unbeaten Illinois. Nike marketing department finally forming sweat beads.
12. Oklahoma State: Markel Brown (.516/.806/.471), not Marcus Smart (.460/.657/.340), needs to lead this team in shots. Smart’s the only one who can make that happen.
13. Wichita State: Fred VanVleet, 5-11 soph shooting .471 from three, more than just an All-Name Team candidate. Has 3.1 assists-to-turnover ratio and shooting .838 from line.
14. Wisconsin: One of the nation’s most deliberate teams, Badgers keep working Bo Ryan’s swing offense until they get a good shot. And then the students head into the cold night and make up for lost time at a rapid pace. Madtown a fun town.
15. Florida: Next three games all against ranked opponents: At UConn, vs. Kansas, Memphis on a neutral court.
16. UCLA: Aside from Yogi Berra quotes, some of which he said, as far as I can tell, JFK’s “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” is the only famous 20th century quote not yet attributed to John Wooden. Give it time.
17. Iowa State: Senior DeAndre Kane, transfer from Marshall, turns 25 in June, which makes him a much more muscular version of Brady Morningstar. Kane, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound native of Pittsburgh, tearing it up for Cyclones. Averaging 16.4 points and 8.4 rebounds and shooting .617/.400/.714. That doesn’t mean Andrew Wiggins can’t shut him down.
18. Florida State: Thinking he is original, an announcer, perhaps several, will say of the Seminoles: “I’ll tell you what, you do NOT want to play these guys in March.” Lost by one point in Gainesville.
19. Gonzaga: Bounced back nicely from loss to quality Dayton team.
20. Iowa: Big and fast Hawkeyes went down in OT to Nova in Battle 4 Atlantis title game. No word yet on what Iowa coach Fran McCaffery’s wife, Margaret, thought of the officiating. I think we all know what she thought of it, though, don’t you think?
21. UMass: Had the week off to bask in the glow of national ranking.
22. Baylor: Fascinating matchup with Kentucky, which features two of the nation’s tallest teams, will take place Friday in a big building, the Jerry Jones Dome in Arlington, Texas, aka AT&T Stadium.
23. Pittsburgh: On your next visit to this town that has such a beautiful baseball park, make sure to experience a meal at Primanti Brothers. Sandwiches come with fresh-cut french fries and coleslaw jammed between the meat and the top slice of bread. Goes well with a side of fries.
24. Memphis: Tigers knocked off Oklahoma State to improve coach Josh Pastner’s record against AP Top 25 teams to 1-13. We knew you could do it, Josh.
25. San Diego State: When Xavier Thames shoots from long range, flames fly off the basketball. Combined to make 9 of 11 threes to help Aztecs knock off then-ranked Big East teams Creighton and Marquette over the weekend.