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Friendly fire puts KU basketball 24th on one Associated Press ballot

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The man among the 64 Associated Press voters who put Kansas lowest isn’t afraid to acknowledge he has a rooting interest in the Jayhawks. Jason Franchuk has covered BYU for the Provo Daily Herald the past nine seasons and is part of the KU Class of 2001. His wife, Audrey Hickert, is an '02 graduate.

Normally, Jason and Audrey will DVR the KU games and watch them together. Since nothing was normal about KU’s Wednesday visit to Forth Worth, Franchuk didn’t wait. A friend had texted him wondering what was going on in the TCU game.

“I figured Kansas was up 30 and I turned it on to see what was going on,” Franchuk said. “I was shocked. I covered BYU for six years (against TCU) and BYU never came close to losing to TCU.”

Interestingly, Franchuk this season often has voted KU lower than its ranking, which during one long week toppled from fifth to 14th. On his ballot, the Jayhawks fell all the way to 24th. Franchuk’s doubts predated the TCU clunker.

“I think it started with the Iowa State game,” said Franchuk, who loves the form of Ben McLemore's jumper. “They made it to overtime because McLemore banked in a three. I thought, ‘I’m not going to reward a team for a little bit of luck.’ And the Oklahoma State game ... The pass that made me jump out of my seat was when McLemore stood flat-footed and threw it to one of their guys and he took it in for a dunk.”

Franchuk said he was surprised KU’s losing streak didn’t drop the Jayhawks all the way to No. 20. He even ran his ballot by his wife before e-mailing it. Her response: “Oh yeah. The TCU game. You’ve got to penalize them.”

No. 10 Kansas State, four spots ahead of KU in the AP poll, was No. 11 on Franchuk’s ballot and mine. I put KU 16th.

For the most part, polls are a reflection of what has happened so far with stronger emphasis placed on recent results. Las Vegas oddsmakers are concerned strictly with what they think will happen now. Kansas is favored by eight for today's 8 p.m. tipoff in Allen Fieldhouse. That ought to ease some worried minds around here.

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