Ballot breakdown: One AP voter dropped KU to No. 7 following win over EMU
Not much changed in the final AP poll of 2018, which was released Monday.
Kansas (11-1) remained at No. 5 following its 87-63 win over Eastern Michigan Saturday afternoon. The Jayhawks received four first-place votes, all of which were from the same AP voters. Seth Davis, of The Athletic, Scott Richey, of The News-Gazette, and Kevin McNamara, of The Providence Journal, all kept the Jayhawks at No. 1 after listing them there last week.
In addition, all four teams ahead of Kansas received first-place votes in the latest poll. No. 1 Duke earned 35 first-place votes, while No. 2 Michigan netted nine first-place votes. No. 3 Tennessee received 12 first-place votes, and No. 4 Virginia was given four such votes.
Let’s get into this week’s biggest takeaways from the latest ballot:
One voter dropped KU to No. 7 following win over EMU
For the first time since the third week, Kansas was listed at No. 7 on one ballot. It marks the team’s lowest ranking, aside from Graham Couch of the Lansing State Journal, who is electing to leave collegiate programs unranked until they play a true road game.
This week, though, Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News dropped Kansas from No. 6 to No. 7 in his ballot after the team dominated Eastern Michigan. The Jayhawks rolled to a 24-point win in the first game with their starting center Udoka Azubuike back in the lineup.
Yet, Wolf elected to propel Gonzaga one spot ahead of KU in his latest ballot.
And I’m struggling to understand the reasoning, since both teams won its only game this past week. Gonzaga claimed a 45-point victory, but it was against North Alabama, a team ranked No. 326 on KenPom.com. Eastern Michigan, meanwhile, was considered KU’s easiest opponent by being ranked No. 190 on KenPom.
In fact, six of Gonzaga’s 12 victories have come against opponents ranked worse than Eastern Michigan via KenPom. More than that, one of Gonzaga’s two losses came at the hands of Tennessee, a team KU beat.
Based on last week, I have no idea how one would elect to have the Bulldogs leapfrog over the Jayhawks.
Three Big 12 teams ranked ahead of conference play
Big 12 play begins this week, and only three teams are currently listed in the Top 25 via the latest AP poll.
Kansas, of course, is the highest ranked team in the Big 12 at No. 5. Texas Tech (11-1) remained at No. 11, though it was ranked as high as No. 8 by four voters. Oklahoma (11-1) was the only league team to move up in the latest rankings, climbing up two spots to No. 23. The Sooners were ranked as high as 15th by two voters.
But three other Big 12 teams received votes in the latest poll, and will likely find their way into the Top 25 at some point in 2019. Kansas State (10-2) was listed at No. 27, earning 14 votes in the Top 25 and was ranked as high as No. 17.
TCU was ranked No. 30 after a posting a 11-record in nonconference. The Horned Frogs were given nine votes by AP voters, and were ranked as high as No. 20 on one ballot. Iowa State (10-2) netted two votes in the Top 25, including a No. 16 vote, and comes in at No. 32.
Arizona State falls out of Top 25
The Sun Devils handed the Jayhawks their only loss, which ultimately dropped Kansas to No. 5 in last week’s poll.
As a result, Arizona State also leaped up to No. 17 following its best win of the season. Much was made about one AP voter leaving ASU unranked in last week’s ballot following its four-point win over then-No. 1 KU.
However, the Sun Devils were left unranked on 42 of the 65 ballots this week following a 67-66 home loss to Princeton. Still, Arizona State (9-3) was ranked as high as 13th by Ben Steele of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Steele had ASU at No. 13 last week as well.