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)

Monday, March 14, 2022

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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