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Monday, March 14, 2022

Jayhawks jump to No. 3 in final AP poll before NCAA Tournament

Kansas guard Christian Braun (2) celebrates ahead of Iowa State guard Gabe Kalscheur (22) and forward Robert Jones (12) after making a basket during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022, in Ames, Iowa. (AP PhotoCharlie Neibergall)

Kansas guard Christian Braun (2) celebrates ahead of Iowa State guard Gabe Kalscheur (22) and forward Robert Jones (12) after making a basket during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022, in Ames, Iowa. (AP PhotoCharlie Neibergall)

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Three wins in three days at the Big 12 tournament last weekend was worth three spots in the final Associated Press college basketball poll before the NCAA Tournament.

The Kansas men’s basketball team, which is one of four No. 1 seeds in this year’s NCAA Tournament, moved up three spots from No. 6 to No. 3 following wins over West Virginia, TCU and Texas Tech for the Big 12 tourney title.

The Jayhawks also were pegged as the No. 3 overall seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament by the selection committee.

In all, the four No. 1 seeds occupied the top four spots in the latest AP poll, with Gonzaga in the No. 1 spot with 54 first-place votes. Arizona landed at No. 2 and received seven first-place votes. And Big 12 partner Baylor, a No. 1 seed in the East region, was fourth in this week’s AP poll.

From there, things got interesting. Just in time for the tourney they call March Madness.

Tennessee, which was given a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament landed at No. 5 in the AP poll.

No. 2 seeds Villanova, Kentucky, Auburn and Duke occupied spots 6 through 9 in the poll and Purdue, another No. 3 seed, rounded out the top 10.

Joining KU and Baylor in the Top 25 from the Big 12 were Texas Tech at No. 12 and Texas at No. 25. The Red Raiders earned a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament and Texas landed on the 6 line.

The 28-6 Jayhawks, who opened the season ranked No. 3 in the preseason AP poll, remained in the top 10 all season. KU coach Bill Self said Sunday night, just before the NCAA Tournament bracket was revealed, that this was the most optimistic he had felt about the team all season. And he said he was proud of his team for battling through all kinds of adversity to land a No. 1 seed for the ninth time in 18 tournaments under Self.

“You work your butt off all year long to get that,” Self said. “We had to earn it.”

Here’s a look at the complete AP Top 25 heading into the NCAA Tournament:

1 – Gonzaga, 26-3 (54), 1,518

2 – Arizona, 31-3 (7), 1,470

3 – Kansas, 28-6, 1,388

4 – Baylor, 26-6, 1,286

5 – Tennessee, 26-7, 1,235

6 – Villanova, 26-7, 1,211

7 – Kentucky, 26-7, 1,178

8 – Auburn, 27-5, 1,144

9 – Duke, 28-6, 986

10 – Purdue, 27-7, 958

11 – UCLA, 25-7, 823

12 – Texas Tech, 25-9, 819

13 – Providence, 25-5, 723

14 – Wisconsin, 24-7, 685

15 – Houston, 29-5, 665

16 – Iowa, 26-9, 661

17 – Arkansas, 25-8, 578

18 – Saint Mary’s 25-7, 508

19 – Illinois, 22-9, 457

20 – Murray State, 30-2, 425

21 – Connecticut, 23-9, 353

22 – USC, 26-7, 170

23 – Boise State, 27-7, 165

24 – Colorado State, 25-5, 82

25 – Texas, 21-11, 72

Others receiving votes: Virginia Tech 63, South Dakota State 33, San Diego State 33, LSU 25, Loyola Chicago 18, Memphis 18, North Carolina 16, Michigan State 14, Texas A&M; 13, Alabama 9, Ohio State 7, Creighton 4, Vermont 3, Indiana 2, San Francisco 2, Davidson 2, Yale 1, Longwood 1, Seton Hall 1

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Comments

Rodney Crain 3 months, 3 weeks ago

We have played well and deserve the ranking. I think we can make the final four, but am not sure we can win against AZ. If we do I can not see us winning against the Zags.

A lot things can happen, if they both get upset we might have a decent chance to cut down some nylon.

Jonathan Allison 3 months, 3 weeks ago

A week ago I was just relieved and happy for KU to win a share of the Big XII title. Coming off the split with TCU KU looked like a borderline top 10 team. But after the three wins in the conference tourney it looks like things might be coming together and Kansas peaking at the right time to actually make a deep run with a favorable path the final four. It does feel like Kansas has earned the number 1 seed, and obviously there is a lot going to happen this week and we fans know that no tourney game can be taken for granted, but the outlook has changed a lot in 7 days.

Dirk Medema 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Agreeing with you Rodney and yet I didn’t see bu beating Gonzaga last year either or so many other games. An off night, a player/team gets hot, banked in 3’s, …

Benjamin Shear 3 months, 3 weeks ago

I think a Big 12 team that is firing on all cylinders has a good chance against Zaga. The advantage is that we are used to playing against the best defensive teams in the nation every week. Teams come at KU hard and push us around. I'm not sure Zaga gets that type of experience in the regular season.

Dirk Medema 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Interesting that auburn loses in their quarter final and falls to 8, but bu does the same thing and stays in the top 5. There were a bunch of conference tourney upsets.

Rodney Crain 3 months, 3 weeks ago

I would love to see how the committee grades out teams. Just one time it would be great to see how they come up with the bracket.

Jonathan Allison 3 months, 3 weeks ago

I posted on the Remy article comparing him theoretically with Mario Chalmers which got me thinking about the 08 squad.

Dajaun Harris is a little like Russell Robinson. Russ was shooting the three better his Sr. year than Harris is this year, Russ may have been a little better guarding the opposing PG, but Harris has been very impressive on defense.

Ochai is better offensively than Brandon Rush, Rush likely was a touch better on defense

Jalen Wilson is more of a perimeter player than Darrell Arthur, but I feel like his contribution is similar in extent as Shady's.

DMac to me plays a little like a blend of DBlock and Kaun

Braun and Remy; well I guess they have to try to fill the roles of Chalmers and Sherron. Braun of course is neither of those guys, but he's more of a true shooting guard and he's more than adequate on both sides of the ball and a better rebounder from the guard position than anyone that we've had that I remember. Remy I see as the X-factor. He could be the difference that takes this team to the FF and beyond, but I don't feel like he got enough run time with the guys to say definitively that he's likely to be a net-positive impact player this late in the year... but we shall know soon enough.

Blake Brown 3 months, 3 weeks ago

This poll is far more accurate than the final poll after the Tournament is over as this one reflects the body of work over the entire season as well as of late.
Whoever wins the tournament will be #1 and on it goes and really has more to do with 6 games than 30+. Obviously, there are some gaffs in the seedings such as with Tennessee, but this poll came after the seedings had been done.

Dirk Medema 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Blake - “Accuracy” would be a function of the criteria. The seedings have been talked about as body of work, but the final poll seems to accurately answer the question of which team is best? 2nd? … It shouldn’t just be about 1 game, so there is some body of work factored in, but I think most people are more interested in winning now vs November/December.

Jonathan Allison 3 months, 3 weeks ago

especially in a year where most rosters are complete now, but at various points in december and january were decimated by the spread of omicron covid. This year I think you look at how teams have fared since Feb 1 and you can see through the muddy waters of December and January.

Dirk Medema 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Jonathan - Comparisons are interesting, so I look forward to reading your other comments, but this seems to be a square peg round hole exercise.

My comparisons/predictions have been we’ll need a Cole v’08 performance at some point from KJ/Zach, and Remy will need to continue his late season eruption similar to Malik ‘18 and Sherron’s ‘08 performance off the bench in a supporting role.

There might be some clamoring for Remy to start, but it seems to me we get a better head space from DaJuan if he’s starting and a better weapon if after their players get a little winded we switch into turbo mode with Remy off the bench.

Dirk Medema 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Rodney - Agreeing with you twice now is getting scary. It would be interesting to be a “fly on the wall” in the meeting room. It sounds like Lunardi has spent enough time focused almost exclusively on March brackets that he’s getting pretty dialed in.

While it’s not commonly the case, there have been a few times/scenarios where I’ve been in some of those meetings “farther from the dirt”. It is fascinating to me the thought processes. Personally, I prefer the dirt side of things, but definitely have appreciated the opportunity to glimpse the thought process. I’d love to be able to be a shadow with both Coach Self and Leipold.

Rodney Crain 3 months, 3 weeks ago

The best reason I heard in one of Lunardi videos was that it appears they have the bracket penciled in before the conference tournaments and then make adjustments on automatic qualifers. That would explain some of the choices they make. Richmond beats Davidson and it bumps an at large option out. It sure makes Lunardi's first out types of lists interesting.

Agreeing again - let's think of it like a broken clock that is right twice a day. :))

Jonathan Allison 3 months, 3 weeks ago

this euporia of victory stuff is getting a little too strong for me. I am going to have to remind myself of Syracuse, Bucknell, Bradley, Northern Iowa, VCU, et al in order to make sure my head doesn't float away.

Rodney Crain 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Here is a thought, we lost some of those games by thinking all we had to do to win was show up. Self says, we are not a talented team, but they think they are.

So.................. playing in Texas, NCAA's, a #1 seed and we think we are better than we are. Thanks Jonathan, if they lose just remember you brought back the demons. LOL

Jonathan Allison 3 months, 2 weeks ago

despite the Syracuse game which of course was Roy Williams' last game at Kansas, all of those games were games that Kansas came out totally flat and played tight, nervous basketball... shot incredibly poorly and got very timid. Every time the comments section of this site criticized Self for various things such as he had made the team too nervous, or he didn't give his subs enough time all season to be ready in the tourney, etc. It seems like so much of it is mindset. Self might say that the guys thought they'd win just for showing up, which is right in line particularly recalling the Morris twin's trash talk of VCU, right in line with them becoming nervous and timid as soon as the other team came out firing.

This team seems to not feel quite as much pressure as some teams of the past... for example the pressure of the Big XII streak is long gone by now, but I don't get the feeling like these guys feel the curse of elite 8 games either, and honestly I didn't even check the bracket to see if Kansas has a potential matchup against a B-team (bucknell, bradley)

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