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Kansas drops one spot to No. 8 in Associated Press basketball poll; Doug McDermott shoots Creighton up to No. 11

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Kansas dropped one spot to No. 8 in the Associated Press college basketball poll, released Monday, and Creighton made the biggest upward move, bolting from 18th to 11th.

The senior star system isn’t dead after all.

Creighton walk-on Doug McDermott is running away with national player of the year honors.

In leading the Blue Jays to their second blowout victory against Villanova by an average margin of 24.5 points, McDermott matched his season high with 39 points. He passed Larry Bird and moved into 13th on the NCAA Div. I all-time scoring list.

“Imagine if he had a three-point line and stayed all four years,” McDermott said in the post-game interview on Fox1 Sports. “He’d be way ahead of me.”

Typical walk-on humility. McDermott's father, Blue Jays coach Greg McDermott, is footing the bill for his son's senior year, making that decision once Grant Gibbs was granted a sixth year of eligibility.

In honor of McDermott and in case anyone else is tired of will-he-stay-or-will-he-go-to-the-NBA talk dominating college basketball, this week’s rankings blog will highlight the top senior on each team.

The top 25 teams in The Associated Press’ college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Feb. 16 and total points, based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week’s ranking:

         Record  Pts Prv
  1. Syracuse (64) 25-0 1,624 1
  2. Florida (1) 23-2 1,543 3
  3. Wichita St. 27-0 1,489 4
  4. Arizona 23-2 1,427 2
  5. Duke 20-5 1,296 8
  6. San Diego St. 22-2 1,232 5
  7. Cincinnati 23-3 1,157 10
  8. Kansas 19-6 1,129 7
  9. Villanova 22-3 1,020 6
  10. Saint Louis 23-2 1,019 12
  11. Creighton 21-4 991 18
  12. Louisville 21-4 991 13
  13. Michigan St. 21-5 788 9
  14. Virginia 21-5 752 17
  15. Iowa 19-6 721 16
  16. Wisconsin 21-5 609 21
  17. Iowa St. 19-5 597 11
  18. Kentucky 19-6 579 14
  19. Texas 20-5 577 19
  20. Michigan 18-7 421 15
  21. UConn 20-5 382 24
  22. Memphis 19-6 204 20
  23. UCLA 20-5 168 NR
  24. Ohio St. 20-6 133 22
  25. Gonzaga 23-4 112 NR
    Others receiving votes: North Carolina 54, Arizona St. 45, Pittsburgh 21, SMU 21, Stephen F. Austin 8, Oklahoma 7, New Mexico 3, VCU 2, Green Bay 1, Kansas St. 1, Louisiana Tech 1.

My AP ballot:

1 - Syracuse: Forward C.J. Fair, from Baltimore, leads the Orange in scoring (16.5) and rebounding (5.8).

2 - Wichita State: Cleanthony Early, from Middletown, N.Y., leads the undefeated Shockers in scoring (16.3) and rebounding (6.2).

3 - Florida: Hometown hero Scottie Wilbekin ranks second among Gators in scoring (13.5), first in assists (3.7), steals (1.6) and minutes (33.8).

4 - Arizona: Jordin Mayes of Los Angeles, the lone senior on the roster, has played just 104 minutes. He certainly made the most of his five minutes on Feb. 9 vs. Oregon State, scoring nine points.

5 - Duke: Andre Dawkins of Chesepeake, Va., had a four-game stretch a couple of weeks ago in which he made 17 of 29 three-pointers and scored 62 points in 77 minutes. Perimeter minutes are tougher to come by this season with the addition of two terrific newcomers, but Dawkins is playing the best basketball of his career. He’s averaging 9.3 points in 15.2 minutes, which computes to 24.5 points per 40 minutes.

6 - San Diego State: Potential first-team All-American Xavier Thames, from Sacramento, leads Aztecs in scoring (17.7), assists (2.8), steals (1.6), free-throw shooting (.819) and three-point shooting (.409).

7 - Creighton: Four minutes into Sunday’s game, the score was Doug McDermott 11, Villanova 6 and McDermott was just getting started. His 39 points made it nine times he has reached 30 points in a game. He ranks second in the nation (25.3) in scoring, behind only Antoine Mason (26.0) of Niagara. Nobody moves better without the ball than McDermott and teammates have so much experience playing with him they know when and where he likes the ball delivered. Plus, they shoot so well they make teams pay for paying too much attention to the star.

8 - Villanova: James Bell of Orlando leads ’Nova with a 16-point average, shoots .396 from three and is tied for the team lead with 1.3 steals a game and tied for second with 5.9 rebounds.

9 - Kansas: Reserve center Tarik Black, from Memphis, has scored 26 points in 52 minutes the past three games.

10 - Cincinnati: Sean Kilpatrick from Yonkers, N.Y., averages a team-best 20.1 points and shoots .859 from the line.

11 - Michigan State: Keith Appling of Detroit scores 15 points a game, dishes a team-high 4.9 assists and shoots .405 from three.

12 - Virginia: A four-year starter from Chelan, Wash., Joe Harris has had a double-digit scoring average all four seasons. His year-by-year three-point percentages: .418, .442, .468, .464. Underrated player.

13 - Iowa: Leading scorer Roy Devyn Marble (16.4), from Southfield, Mich., made 6 of 10 three-pointers in big victory vs. Michigan and ranks 10th Iowa’s all-time scoring list (1,544 points), a list headed by his father, Roy Marble (2,116 points).

14 - St - Louis: Dwayne Evans from Bolingbrook, Ill., leads all-senior starting lineup in points and rebounds (14.8, 6.5) for Billikens team that has won 17 in a row.

15 - Texas: Longhorns don’t have a senior on the roster.

16 - Michigan: Physical presence Jordan Morgan of Detroit, lone senior on the roster, has made more than 100 career starts.

17 - Kentucky: Jarrod Polson from Wilmore, Kent., has scored 28 points this season, which by Kentucky standards isn’t so bad for a senior.

18 - Louisville: Russ Smith, pride of Brooklyn, leads defending national champion with 18.2 points and
4.6 assists.

19 - Wisconsin: Ben Brust of Hawthorn Woods, Ill., is the Badgers’ second-leading scorer (13.2), leader in minutes (34.8) and a .396 three-point shooter.

20 - UCLA: Twins David and Travis Wear of Huntington Beach, Calif., both listed at 6-10, 230, transferred to UCLA after a year at North Carolina. As so often seems to be the case with twins, their statistics are similar to each other. They never found stardom some predicted of them, but they are solid contributors to the Bruins. In a combined 41.7 minutes, they average 12.9 points, 7.0 rebounds and shoot 90 percent from the line.

21 - Connecticut: Shabazz Napier of Roxbury, Mass., leads Huskies in points (18), rebounds (5.8), assists (5.5), steals (1.9) and free-throw shooting (.872). He’s also shooting .421 from three-point range and is coming off a 34-point effort outburst in huge vcitory against Memphis.

22 - Ohio State: Point guard Aaron Craft of Findlay, Ohio, remains a huge pain in the neck for opposing point guards and is averaging 2.5 steals a game.

23 - North Carolina: Leslie McDonald of Memphis ins one of four double-figures scorers for a rebounding Tar Heels team that hwas won six in a row.

24 - Arizona State: Jordan Bachynski, a 7-foot-2 Canadian center, averages 12.2 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.6 blocks for the Sun Devils. He recently exploded for 26 points, nine rebounds and nine blocked shots in a two-point victory against Oregon.

25 - Iowa State: Fellow Canadian Melvin Ejim torched TCU for 48 points and 18 rebounds and leads Cyclones with 18.9 points and 8.6 rebounds.

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