After a quiet week for college basketball, idle Kansas remained No. 16 in the Associated Press poll released Monday. Tonight’s opponent, undefeated Toledo, received the 30th-most points and surely would move into the top 25 with an upset tonight in Allen Fieldhouse.
The AP's top 25, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Dec. 22, 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
My Top 25 ballot:
1. Arizona: Sean Miller has to be included in any conversation about best college basketball coaches seeking first Final Four, along with Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan, Marquette’s Buzz Williams and the sleepers of the group, Colorado’s Tad Boyle and Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg.
2. Syracuse: Unfazed by a 25-7 deficit, the Orange blitzed Villanova with a 20-0 run and won by double digits.
3. Ohio State: Buckeyes have won 24 of past 25 games, the lone loss coming at hands of Wichita State, 70-66, in Elite Eight.
4. Wisconsin: Deliberate pace and strong man-to-man defense have enabled Badgers to keep last nine opponents under 70 points.
5. Michigan State: Spartans have three McDonald’s All-Americans in starting lineup: Sophomore Gary Harris, junior Branden Dawson, senior Keith Appling. High-flying Dawson (10.3 points, 9.3 rebounds) has eight double-digit rebounding games and five double-doubles. Sat out last game with shin bruise as a precautionary measure.
6. Oklahoma State: What’s a defense to do? Collapse on Marcus Smart driving to the hoop and he’ll dump off to Le’Bryan Nash inside (.562 overall) or three-point marksmen Phil Forte (.469) and Markel Brown (.419).
7. Duke: Freshman wall? Jabari Parker took one look at it, jab-stepped it and the wall fell down and crumbled. Parker has scored 21 points or better in 10 of 12 games.
8. Wichita State: Senior Cleanthony Early, averaging 22 points and 8.3 rebounds the past three games, has scored in double figures all 13 games this season.
9. Oregon: On your marks, get set, go! If you can handle the neon uniforms, Ducks worth staying up late at night to watch.
10. Florida: Two must-watch games late in the season pit the Gators against Kentucky: Feb. 15 in Lexington at 8 p.m. and March 8 in Gainesville at 11 a.m. By then, both teams loaded with talent at every position should be playing great basketball.
11. Villanova: Josh Hart scored seven points in 94-second flurry that gave 'Cats 25-7 lead with 11 minutes left in first half. Orange handled the game, 71-37, rest of way.
12. Kansas: In past four games, Perry Ellis shooting .667 from field but has been to line just seven times.
13. Baylor: The closer opponents get to the basket, the better the Bears defend, thanks largely to 7-foot-1 sophomore center Isaiah Austin, who is averaging 3.1 blocks in 24.4 minutes. Baylor ranks 12th with .413 two-point percentage defense and 272nd with .370 three-point defense, per kenpom.com.
14. Iowa State: On top of everything else he does well, which is pretty much everything, Melvin Ejim shoots 86 percent from the line. He’s the most popular Melvin in Ames by a long shot.
15. North Carolina: Jan. 11 represents another shot at knocking off a giant when the Tar Heels visit the Carrier Dome to play No. 2 Syracuse. Heels already have beaten Louisville, Michigan State and Kentucky.
16. Kentucky: Twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison combined for 28 points in 73-66 victory against Louisville. The only way they can lay claim to best twin recruits of 21st century is by winning national title before heading to pros. Marcus and Markieff Morris never played in a Final Four but played key roles for three Big 12 champions.
17. Louisville: Best victory, by far, came against potential bubble team Southern Miss, 69-38, in November. Time to punish the Cardinals for sneakily soft scheduling. Lost only two true tests, vs. North Carolina on a neutral court, and at Kentucky.
18. Connecticut: Senior point guard Shabazz Napier playing like All-American, averaging 15.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.9 assists.
19. Memphis: There’s a good reason the Tigers don’t settle for threes. They don’t make very many of them (.295).
20. Colorado: Boyle doing nice job of mixing Los Angeles-area recruits with Colorado talent to build Pac-12 powerhouse.
21. San Diego State: After his team lost to the Aztecs, 118-35, Saint Katherine College coach Scott Mitchell looked at the bright side: “Well, I can thank God nobody got decapitated."
An orthodox Christian school in Encinitas, Calif., with a cool nickname (Firebirds), St. Kat also have lost to Weber State, 107-36, and Utah Valley, 88-39. Saint Katherine is in its first year of competing in basketball. The Firebirds have two victories and no decapitations thus far.
22. Florida State: Seminoles rank 11th in nation with 6.9 blocks per game. Three 7-footers combine for 4.9 blocks a game.
23. Massachusetts: Has the lowest divorce rate in the nation. The highest? Nevada. In Las Vegas, it’s not uncommon for couples to marry and the next day barely remember tying knot. Once their hands stop shaking, they untie the knot. Generally, they agree to split the remaining bottle and go their separate ways.
24. Iowa: Average Hawkeyes possession lasts 14 seconds, third-shortest in the nation (BYU, Northwestern State).
25. Texas: Longhorns (15.6 seconds, 25th) like to get up shots in a hurry as well.