Ballot breakdown: No. 1 KU loses first-place vote after knocking off defending champs


Kansas head coach Bill Self and Villanova head coach Jay Wright greet each other before tipoff, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self and Villanova head coach Jay Wright greet each other before tipoff, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

For the second consecutive week, Kansas is ranked No. 1 in the AP poll.

The Jayhawks notched a 74-71 win over the defending national champions in their lone game since reclaiming the top spot in college basketball. With the win, Kansas is now 9-0 and has faced the sixth-toughest schedule in the nation, according to Ken Pomery’s adjusted strength of schedule.

Despite a flawless record and a tough slate to start the season, Kansas — the preseason No. 1 team — is not considered the indisputable top squad in the nation. KU received 56 of the 65 first-place voters after earning 57 first-place votes last week.

With that being said, here are some notable things that stood out to me in the latest poll:

KU loses a first-place vote

The Jayhawks had just one game on their schedule this past week, and it was a big one.

In a rematch of last year’s Final Four, KU made enough free throws down the stretch to knock off then-No. 17 Villanova in Allen Fieldhouse. It marked the third time Kansas has defeated a Top 25 team in the young season.

Yet, the performance was not enough for Paul Klee to keep KU at No. 1. Klee, who is a sports columnist for the Colorado Gazette, moved Kansas down from No. 1 to No. 3 in his latest AP poll.

Klee inserted Duke into the top spot after putting the Blue Devils at No. 4 last week. Klee also ranked Michigan at No. 2, as he listed the Wolverines at No. 5 the week before. Duke did not play a game this past week, while Michigan recorded a 70-62 home win over Western Michigan.

I’m honestly not sure how those two programs did enough this past week to justify leapfrogging Kansas, which only just defeated the 18th-best team via But that leads me to my next takeaway ...

Villanova drops out of AP poll

Interestingly enough, Klee actually ranked the Wildcats 12th in his AP poll this week. It is the highest ranking for Villanova this week, as the defending champs fell out of the top 25 for the second time this season.

A total of 58 voters elected to leave the Wildcats unranked in their updated ballot.

Villanova (8-4) lost by 3 points to Penn in its first true road game of the season. Nova then led for 6:37 of Saturday’s game against KU before dropping another 3-point decision.

Given last week's results, I understand why a majority of voters left Villanova off their respective ballot. But after what transpired this past weekend, an argument could certainly be made that the Wildcats are one of the best 25 teams in the country.

Only two Big 12 teams ranked

Prior to the start of the season, four Big 12 teams were ranked in the preseason AP poll.

That number has been dwindled down to two with conference season just around the corner. Kansas is No. 1 with a 9-0 record, while Texas Tech is ranked No. 12 with a 12-0 clip. The Red Raiders actually dropped a spot this week after netting two victories.

But four other teams received votes this week, including a team that just missed out on the top 25. Oklahoma (9-1) came in at No. 26, though only 32 voters kept the team unranked in their latest ballot.

Kansas State comes in at No. 28, while TCU (No. 33) and Iowa State (No. 34) are not too far behind. To put that in comparison, the Wildcats were listed at No. 12 in the preseason poll and the Horned Frogs came in at No. 20.

However, the Big 12 figures to be loaded once again. KenPom ranks seven of the 10 teams in the top 31, including four in the top 23. Don't let the latest poll fool you, though. Kansas will not have an easy path to a conference title.


Eric TheCapn 3 years, 9 months ago

This Klee feller has gone mad and must be stopped!

Shane Jackson 3 years, 9 months ago

I don't necessarily disagree with putting KU at No. 5. If I had an AP vote, I'd put KU at No. 1 but I get the argument with ranking KU anywhere in the top five. That being said, I'm not sure how someone who had the Jayhawks at No. 1 last week can bump then down two spots after they beat a team that same person ranked No. 12.

Adam Bengtson 3 years, 9 months ago

Jesse's poll is to get attention. No logic at all. The worst about his poll is having Tennessee at 10. No logic. Just dumb.

Phil Leister 3 years, 9 months ago

I've lost a lot of respect for Newell. I get that KU hasn't necessarily passed the eye test, but you can't tell me their resume is undeserving of a top 3 spot on a ballot.

Joe Ross 3 years, 9 months ago

Klee sounds like a disgruntled Villanova fan!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.