In the wake of impressive victories at Oklahoma and in Allen Fieldhouse against Kansas State, Kansas moved up three spots to No. 15 in the weekly Associated Press college basketball poll, released Monday.
Still, KU is no better than fourth among five ranked Big 12 schools, standing behind No. 8 Iowa State, No. 9 Oklahoma State and No. 12 Baylor. Kansas State, ranked No. 25 last week, dropped out of the rankings and was replaced by Oklahoma, which is tied with UCLA for the last spot. So 60 percent of the Big 12 schools have been ranked in the past two weeks.
The AP top 25 , with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Jan. 12, 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
1 - Arizona (61) 17-0 1,621 1
2 - Syracuse (4) 16-0 1,560 2
3 - Wisconsin 16-0 1,482 4
4 - Michigan St. 15-1 1,442 5
5 - Wichita St. 17-0 1,300 6
6 - Villanova 15-1 1,289 8
7 - Florida 13-2 1,205 10
8 - Iowa St. 14-1 1,048 9
9 - Oklahoma St. 14-2 1,046 11
10 - San Diego St. 14-1 1,020 13
11 - Ohio St. 15-2 979 3
12 - Baylor 13-2 952 7
13 - Kentucky 12-3 912 14
14 - Iowa 14-3 831 20
15 - Kansas 11-4 686 18
16 - UMass 14-1 579 19
17 - Memphis 12-3 536 24
18 - Louisville 14-3 525 12
19 - Cincinnati 15-2 405 NR
20 - Creighton 14-2 329 NR
21 - Colorado 14-3 328 15
22 - Pittsburgh 15-1 299 NR
23 - Duke 12-4 193 16
24 - Saint Louis 15-2 148 NR
25t - Oklahoma 13-3 103 NR
25t - UCLA 13-3 103 NR
Others receiving votes: Missouri 42, Oregon 39, UConn 35, Kansas St. 25, Gonzaga 17, Michigan 11, California 10, Virginia 6, Louisiana Tech 5, Harvard 3, Illinois 3, New Mexico 3, Xavier 3, George Washington 2.
My AP top 25 ballot:
1 - Arizona: Nation’s best defensive team joined in unbeaten ranks only by Syracuse, Wisconsin and Wichita State.
2 - Syracuse: Freshman point guard Tyler Ennis and his brother Dylan, a sophomore for Villanova, average a combined 20.1428 points per game, which makes them the second-leading Canandian brother tandem in Division I. Andrew Wiggins of Kansas and Nick Wiggins of Wichita State combine to average 20.1875. This race will go down to the wire.
3 - Wisconsin: The Badgers have logged double-digit victories against quality competition by scoring as few as 48 (Virginia) points and as many as 95 (Illinois). So if the Badgers are hitting their shots, which they usually are, they’re very, very tough to beat, not matter what approach opposing teams take.
4 - Michigan State: Having a veteran point guard with as much talent as Keith Appling helps Spartans win close ones, but nagging injuries and inconsistent play elsewhere have resulted in too many close games. Playing both at home, Spartans needed overtime to defeat Ohio State and Minnesota.
5 - Wichita State: Fred VanVleet scored 11 in row for Shockers, a stretch that started late in regulation and ended late in overtime.
6 - Villanova: JayVaughn Pinkston not only knows how to draw fouls (108 free-throw attempts) he knows how make the shots (.778 from line).
7 - Florida: Excellent defensive team has underrated firepower. Five Gators, led by Casey Prather (17 ppg) average in double figures.
8 - San Diego State: Aztecs have three victories vs. Top 25 teams, none at home.
9 - Iowa: Fran McCaffery, suspended from Thursday’s blowout victory against Northwestern because of ref-aimed temper tantrum during loss to Wisconsin, returned to the bench Sunday for huge road victory vs. Ohio State. ESPN’s Andy Katz reported that the Northwestern game originally was supposed to be Fran McCaffery Bobblehead Doll Night. Iowa has moved the promotion to Jan. 19 vs. Minnesota. Normally a very thorough reporter, Katz had a gaping hole in sharing that news with viewers. He did not say whether the doll comes with a lid that flips.
McCaffery’s fiery style works with his players. Hawkeyes make 38 percent of three-point shots and 6-9 junior Aaron White is a threat to dunk on every play.
10 - Ohio State: Rough week for Buckeyes, one of the nation’s top defensive teams, but not equipped to win shootouts. Entered the week undefeated, lost in overtime in East Lansing, Mich. to Spartans and lost at home to Iowa.
11 - Iowa State: Melvin Ejim and DeAndre Kane have generated most of the buzz surrounding Cyclones quick start, but KU coach Bill Self cited 6-7, 240-pound sophomore Georges Niang, a three-point threet, as about as tough a matchup as there is in the Big 12. Niang averaged 15.7 points in three games against KU last season.
Kane, who injured his ankle late in the loss at Oklahoma, had a huge week, which started with him falling two rebounds and one assist short of triple-double vs. Baylor.
In two games, Kane averaged 26.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 6.5 turnovers and three steals.
12 - Oklahoma State: Shot-blocking sophomore Kamari Murphy, who played 39 minutes in one-point victory at West Virginia, has softened blow of Michael Cobbins as far as starting lineup. But Murphy gave Cowboys strong bench. Now that he’s playing full-time, team lacks a little in reserve up front.
13 - Kansas: Two games into their Big 12 schedule, Jayhawks are lone undefeated team.
14 - Baylor: Bench scored 52 points and Bears made all 21 free-throw attempts in 88-62 bounce-back victory against TCU after loss in Ames.
15 - Kentucky: Dakari Johnson, behind whom Joel Embiid sat their junior year in high school, averaging 3.9 points, 2.9 rebounds and 9.6 minutes.
16 - Memphis: Huge week for Tigers with big victories at Louisville and Temple. Shaq Goodwin averaged 19 points and 9.5 boards.
17 - Cincinnati: Banking heavily on senior star Sean Kilpatrick (18.4 ppg), Bearcats riding eight-game winning streak, during which Justin Jackson has contributed two of his five double-doubles.
18 - Pittsburgh: Three games into their first ACC season, Panthers have thre double-digit victories.
19 - Louisville: Loss to Memphis and scare from SMU made for a nerve-wracking week for Cards. Mustangs pulled within four points with 49 seconds left. Amazing the progress Larry Brown has made already at SMU, both on the court and in recruiting.
20 - Colorado: Buffs nervously await results of MRI on Spencer Dinwiddie’s left knee, injured in Sunday’s 17-point loss at Washington. Tad Boyle told reporters after the game that his gut told him “not good.”
21 - Creighton: Giving hope to seniors everywhere who are busy taking care of their fathers, Doug McDermott (25 points per game, .902 from the line) leads player of the year race.
22 - Duke: Clemson hammered the Blue Devils on the board, 48-30, and in the second half outscored them 41-22 to win 72-59. Duke doesn’t defend well and might not have beefy enough personnel to significantly improve in that area.
23 - Massachusetts: Minutemen aren’t blowing out any Atlantic 10 foes, but keep winning.
24 - St. Louis: Only two losses came against teams ranked in the top five on this ballot, Wisconsin by six, and Wichita State by five. Coming off an eight-point victory at Dayton and riding a nine-game winning streak, Billikens playing in a way that would have made late great Rick Majerus proud.
25 - Oklahoma: Sooners tend to say later when it comes to playing rugged defense, but star Cameron Clark playing great in Lon Kruger’s new offense, based more on driving than in the past. Clark has a lethal mid-range pull-up jumper.