Posts tagged with Basketball

Kansas drops two spots to No. 11 in Associated Press college basketball poll

Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) loses the ball as it is stripped by Iowa State forward Dustin Hogue (22) and guard Monte Morris (11) during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at Hilton Coliseum.

Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) loses the ball as it is stripped by Iowa State forward Dustin Hogue (22) and guard Monte Morris (11) during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at Hilton Coliseum. by Nick Krug

Kansas dropped from ninth to 11th in the Associated Press college basketball poll, released today. Arizona, Notre Dame and Iowa State moved ahead of the Jayhawks and Utah dropped behind them.

The top 25 teams in the AP poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Jan. 18, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week's ranking:

  1. Kentucky (63) ‡ 17-0 1,623 1
  2. Virginia (2) ‡ 17-0 1,562 2
  3. Gonzaga ‡ 18-1 1,467 3
  4. Villanova ‡ 17-1 1,429 5
  5. Duke ‡ 15-2 1,345 4
  6. Wisconsin ‡ 16-2 1,282 7
  7. Arizona ‡ 16-2 1,228 10
  8. Notre Dame ‡ 17-2 1,055 12
  9. Iowa St. ‡ 13-3 1,004 11
  10. Louisville ‡ 15-3 1,003 6
  11. Kansas ‡ 14-3 943 9
  12. Utah ‡ 14-3 940 8
  13. Maryland ‡ 17-2 937 14
  14. Wichita St. ‡ 16-2 857 13
  15. North Carolina ‡ 14-4 803 15
  16. VCU ‡ 15-3 670 17
  17. Texas ‡ 13-4 554 20
  18. West Virginia ‡ 15-3 501 16
  19. Oklahoma ‡ 12-5 445 18
  20. N. Iowa ‡ 16-2 387 23
  21. Baylor ‡ 13-4 260 22
  22. Dayton ‡ 15-2 241 _
  23. Indiana ‡ 14-4 93 _
  24. Seton Hall ‡ 13-4 91 21
  25. Iowa ‡ 13-5 85 _

Others receiving votes: Oklahoma St. 47, Miami 41, San Diego St. 34, Georgetown 33, Stanford 31, Saint Mary's (Cal) 18, Providence 17, Colorado St. 16, Arkansas 15, Georgia 13, Butler 11, SMU 11, Michigan St. 8, LSU 6, Old Dominion 5, Wyoming 4, Ohio St. 3, Louisiana Tech 2, Tennessee 2, George Washington 1, St. John's 1, Washington 1.

My AP top 25 ballot:

1 - Kentucky: Those back-to-back overtime games seem to have scared Wildcats into tuning back in. Hammered Missouri, 86-37, then a decent Alabama team on the road, 70-48.

2 - Virginia: Only 3 of 17 opponents have scored more than 57 points against Cavaliers.

3 - Gonzaga: Three of Zags five top scorers are 6-foot-10 or taller: 6-10 Kyle Wiltjer (16.6), 7-1 Przemek Karnowski (10.6), 6-10 Domantas Sabonis (9.9).

4 - Duke: Excedrin Headache No. 998 ­– back-to-back losses to Norther Carolina State and Miami after Coach K earned career victory No. 997 at Wake Forest – forced Mike Krzyzewski to reach way out of his comfort zone to use a zone vs. Louisville and it worked, producing a 63-52 victory. Actually, Louisville’s lousy outside shooting prompted the change. Coach K could win No. 1,000 as soon as Sunday at Madison Square Garden against St. John’s.

5 - Wisconsin: Badgers 7-footer returned from concussion that kept him out of loss at Rutgers by scoring 22 points and making 4 of 5 three-pointers vs. Nebraska.

6 - Villanova: It might not get any tougher for the Wildcats in the deep Big East than tonight’s game at Georgetown.

7 - Arizona: The Pac-12 had not had a conference game between top 10 teams in seven years and Arizona left no doubt as to the team to beat, abusing Utah, 69-51. Utes do-it-all guard Delon Wright scored seven points in the first 4:07. With T.J. McConnell hounding him, Wright had just three points the rest of the way.

8 - Louisville: Worst-shooting good team in America: .427 overall, .665 from the line, .294 from three.

9 - Notre Dame: Irish are best shooting team in America. They shoot .401 from three and .610 from two, a blend that adds up to them having an effective field-goal percentage of .607.

10 - Maryland: Turge’s Terps completed season sweep of Michigan State in convincing fashion. They’re ninth-tallest team in nation (per, which has helped them compensate for a lack of experience (No. 257 in nation). They get fouled a lot and make their free throws at a high rate (.755).

11 - Utah: Almost daily, I am asked how I can rank Utes ahead of Kansas when Jayhawks beat them by three points on the, ahem, “neutral” Sprint Center court. My response often results in a change of subject: How can I rate Kansas ahead of Temple?

12 - North Carolina: Heels grab 44.5 percent of their misses, second-best in nation, per, and limit opponents to 27.2 shooting from three, sixth-best.

13 - Iowa State: Sophomore point guard Monte Morris hasn’t found his three-point touch yet (.406 last season, .289 this), but he does have a 5.5-to-1 assists/turnover ratio and he did come three rebounds shy of a triple-double vs. Kansas.

14 - Kansas: In past 10 games, Landen Lucas has played 100 minutes and has more fouls (19) and turnovers (12) than points (11).

15 - Virginia Commonwealth: Coach Shaka Smart set career assists records at his high school (Oregon High in Wisconsin) and college (Kenyon College) and knows how to get his players to practice unselfish basketball. They work well together at both ends, but when they stand alone at the free-throw line, the Rams are among the worst in the nation, making just 62 percent.

16 - Oklahoma: In conference games only, Buddy Hield leads the Big 12 in scoring (22.4) and made three-pointers per game (3.4) and ranks second in three-point percentage (.486), third in field-goal percentage (.552), sixth in free-throw percentage (.840), tied for fifth in offensive rebounds (2.4), tied for seventh in rebounds (seven) and fourth in minutes (35).

17 - Wichita State: Shockers road winning percentage of .827 since 2010-11 is best in nation.

18 - Texas: Cameron Ridley and Jonathan Holmes combined for 35 points in 20-point victory vs. West Virginia. They combined for seven points in 21-point loss to Oklahoma and four points in 11-point loss to Oklahoma State.

19 - Miami: Predictable, Hurricanes are not. Dangerous they are. In span of 25 days, they lost to Eastern Kentucky by 28 points and slammed Duke by 16, which makes Eastern Kentucky 44 points better than Blue Devils. Colonels lost to East Tennesee State by three points and ETSU lost to UNC Greensboro by one point, making UNCG 48 points better than Duke. So why do I rank Duke fourth and don’t rank UNC Greensboro at all? Because Duke beat Furman by 39 points and Furman beat UNCG by 19, which makes Duke 58 points better than UNCG.

20 - Northern Iowa: If Panthers and Wichita State both can win next three games, UNI will carry eight-game winning streak into Jan. 31 showdown in Cedar Falls, Wichita State a nine-game winning streak.

21 - Baylor: Bears are middle-of-the-pack Big 12 team. Since the difference between top and bottom teams isn’t as great as in most conferences, it stands to reason Baylor should play a lot of close games. Past four games: One-point loss, overtime victory, one-point victory, two-point loss.

22 - West Virginia: Hammered Oklahoma by 21 points, and four days later lost to Texas by 27, which makes UT 48 points better than OU, except that the Sooners beat the Longhorns by 21 points. I’m confused.

23 - Georgetown: If nice guy Joshua Smith demanded the ball more, he would score more and Georgetown would become a better team. As it is, he still has scored in double figures in seven of Hoyas’ last eight games.

24 - Dayton: Tied with VCU for first in Atlantic 10 with 5-0 record. The conference co-leaders don’t meet until Feb. 28 in Richmond.

25 - Michigan State: Just when you think Spartans have it figured out (20-point victory vs. Indiana followed by 14-point triumph at Iowa), they return to mediocrity (overtime victory vs. Northwestern, 16-point loss at Maryland).


Kansas moves up three spots to No. 9 in Associated Press college basketball poll

Kansas recruits Carlton Bragg, Tyler Dorsey, Stephen Zimmerman and Brandon Ingram watch the action during Late Night in the Phog on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas recruits Carlton Bragg, Tyler Dorsey, Stephen Zimmerman and Brandon Ingram watch the action during Late Night in the Phog on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

After surviving Baylor on the road and thrashing Texas Tech at home, Kansas moved up three spots to No. 9 in the Associated Press college basketball poll. Six of last week's top 10 teams lost, including Texas, which lost twice.

The top 25 teams in the AP college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Jan. 11, 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<br>
  1. Kentucky (63) 15-0 1,623 1
  2. Virginia (2) 15-0 1,561 3
  3. Gonzaga 16-1 1,446 6
  4. Duke 14-1 1,432 2
  5. Villanova 15-1 1,358 8
  6. Louisville 14-2 1,264 5
  7. Wisconsin 15-2 1,200 4
  8. Utah 13-2 1,185 9
  9. Kansas 13-2 1,100 12
  10. Arizona 14-2 1,037 7
  11. Iowa St. 12-2 922 17
  12. Notre Dame 15-2 903 13
  13. Wichita St. 14-2 832 15
  14. Maryland 15-2 801 11
  15. North Carolina 12-4 719 18
  16. West Virginia 14-2 627 14
  17. VCU 13-3 578 20
  18. Oklahoma 11-4 485 16
  19. Arkansas 13-2 431 23
  20. Texas 12-4 345 10
  21. Seton Hall 13-3 298 19
  22. Baylor 12-3 278 21
  23. N. Iowa 14-2 212 _
  24. Oklahoma St. 12-3 132 _
  25. Wyoming 15-2 71 _

Others receiving votes: Ohio St. 70, Michigan St. 67, Dayton 55, Providence 17, Indiana 15, LSU 12, St. John's 10, Alabama 7, Georgetown 7, NC State 6, Green Bay 3, Syracuse 3, Butler 2, Oregon 2, San Diego St. 2, TCU 2, Colorado St. 1, Davidson 1, Hofstra 1, Old Dominion 1, SMU 1.

My AP top 25 ballot:

1 - Kentucky: John Calipari plays the college basketball villain well. His team’s quest for an undefeated season has given the vast majority of the nation’s college basketball fans a reason to tune in and that reason is to root against the Wildcats. That’s why the Kennedys just might be more popular than at any time since the ‘60s. Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy’s squad took Kentucky to overtime. Texas A&M’s Billy Kennedy coached his team into double overtime. The Kennedys lost but a nation of basketball fans thanks them for coming so close.

2 - Virginia: Cavs play with remarkable poise at both ends at home and on the road. They used nine-point run that spanned from 3:48 to 0:03 to win at Notre Dame, 62-56.

3 - Duke: Blue Devils lost in Raleigh to North Carolina State despite 23 points, 12 rebounds, three blocked shots and three steals from national player of the year candidate Jahlil Okafor. NC State doubled him throughout the game and he didn’t make them pay with quick recognition and a pass to the open man. Look for that defensive strategy to be duplicated and the adjustment to be made quickly.

4 - Gonzaga: Freshman guard Silas Melson is showing signs of coming on, making the Zags an even deeper team. He had hit just 3 of 16 threes coming into the week’s two road games and he hit 4 of 6. Zags have won five conference games by average of 17 points. It’s possible Gonzaga could enter NCAA Tournament with one loss, in overtime at Arizona.

5 - Louisville: Two shots before the buzzer went off missed and the Cardinals lost by a point at North Carolina, which came back from a 13-point deficit. “It stings as much as any game I’ve coached,” Cards coach Rick Pitino said. “Our players are very hurt by it.”.

6 - Villanova: Daniel Ochefu, a 6-11 junior from Baltimore, had a recent four-game stretch in which he averaged 13.8 points and 14 rebounds. Not bad for a guy who a year ago averaged 5.7 points and 6.1 rebounds.

7 - Utah: Utes are 6-0 since losing to Kansas by three points in the Sprint Center and the victories have come by an average margin of 24 points. Against Pac-12 competition that margin increases to a 27-point average in three games.

8 - Wisconsin: Leading scorer and first-team All-American candidate did not play Sunday at Rutgers and starting guard Traevon Jackson left the game with a leg injury early int eh second half. The Badgers missed them so much they were stunned by the Scarlet Knights, 67-62.

9 - Arizona: Two players in Oregon State basketball history have recorded a triple-double in a game. Gary Payton and Gary Payton II. The nine-time All-Star’s son, a 6-3 junior guard in his first season at his father’s alma mater after two seasons in junior college, did not have a triple-double Sunday night, but he did contribute 10 points and nine rebounds to the Beavers’ upset victory at home vs. Arizona.

10 - Notre Dame: It looks as if Mike Brey’s 15th season in South Bend will be his best. Irish road upset of North Carolina gave them 15 victories, matching last season’s total.

11 - North Carolina: The Tar Heels were favored by three-and-a-half points at home, so their one-point victory vs. Louisville should not be termed an upset.

12 - Kansas: It’s been several days since high school power forward Carlton Bragg committed to Kansas, disappointing Kentucky coach John Calipari. Shockingly, I haven’t seen a single bumper sticker that reads, “Bragg Says No to Braggart.”

13 - Iowa State: Cyclones won close ones against West Virginia and Oklahoma State and would have lost both without such a terrific week from Dustin Hogue, who averaged 14 points and 6.5 rebounds, made 11 of 14 shots and 4 of 5 threes. He had a huge blocked shot with two seconds left in the Oklahoma Stage game.

14 - Maryland: Terps coach Mark Turgeon hit the road for a pair of Big Ten games, won one and lost one, but didn’t have as good a week as former KU teammate Danny Manning, first-year Wake Forest coach. Wake lost by nine to Louisville and eight to Duke before capping strong week with seven-point victory over Georgia Tech. Devin Thomas, Demon Deacons 6-9 junior forward, is responding well to Manning’s coaching. Thomas averaged 24 points and 10 rebounds in the three games.

15 - Oklahoma: The Sooners slammed Texas by 31 points in Austin and five days later lost in overtime to Kansas State in Norman. Think about that and then think about the eternal mystery of what came first, the chicken or the egg. Alternate thinking about only those two things and see which one drives you nuts first.

16 - West Virginia: Mountaineers are 2-0 on the road in the Big 12 and 0-1 at home, which says more about their opponents (TCU and Texas Tech on the road) and Iowa State in Morgantown.

17 - Wichita State: Shockers aren’t quite as good as last year, but they take good shots, never turn the ball over and have one of the nation’s best backcourts with Fred VanVleet feeding Ron Baker.

18 - VCU: Rams rank ninth in nation, per, with just 15.2 percent of their possessions ending in a turnover. Opponents turn it over on 25.9 percent of possessions, placing Rams fifth in the nation in that category.

19 - Arkansas: Hogs, riding a seven-game winning streak, getting huge production out of 6-11 sophomore Bobby Portis (18.1 points and 17.8 rebounds per game).

20 - Ohio State: As freshman D’Angelo Russell goes, so go the Buckeyes. In 13 victories, he has averaged 19.3 points and shot .537 overall, .556 from three. In four losses, he has averaged 13.5 points, shot .250 overall, .172 from three. The Buckeyes don’t have enough scoring punch to overcome a bad night from Russell.

21 - Seton Hall: Once in a while you hear the term “power five conference,” used in college basketball. That has to stop. It only applies to football. There are six power conferences in basketball and the Big East is one of them.

22 - Oklahoma State: Senior Le’Bryan Nash and junior Phil Forte scored 20 points apiece in an 11-point victory against Texas. Forte averages 17.7 points, Nash 17.6 and ultra-quick point guard Anthony Hickey, a three-year starter for LSU, creates opportunities for both scorers.

23 - Baylor: To watch Rico Gathers, generally listed at 6-8, is to wonder if the NFL could find a place for him. The 280-pound junior averages a double-double (10.1, 11.3).

24 - Northern Iowa: You think UNI, you think three-point shooters, but these Panthers can defend. Drake made just three field goals in the entire second half in Saturday’s 64-40 loss.

25 - Alabama: Crimson Tide head into South Carolina for a Tuesday night game with a 2-0 record (Texas A&M, at Tennessee) and average margin of victory of 19.5 points.


Kansas drops to No. 13 in Associated Press college basketball poll

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) tries to power his way to the goal past Temple defenders against the Owls Monday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) tries to power his way to the goal past Temple defenders against the Owls Monday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.

In the wake of a 77-52 road loss to Temple, Kansas dropped from 10th to 13th in the Associated Press college basketball poll released Monday. Six of the 10 Big 12 schools are ranked in the top 25, with Kansas State, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas Tech being the lone exceptions. TCU remained undefeated but dropped from 25th to first among others receiving votes. Georgetown's overtime victory against Indiana vaulted the Hoyas past the Horned Frogs and into the No. 25 slot.

The top 25 teams in the AP poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Nov. 16, 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. Kentucky (65) 13-0 1,625 1
  2. Duke 10-0 1,559 2
  3. Virginia 11-0 1,457 5
  4. Wisconsin 12-1 1,395 6
  5. Louisville 11-1 1,327 4
  6. Villanova 12-0 1,316 7
  7. Gonzaga 12-1 1,249 8
  8. Arizona 12-1 1,243 3
  9. Iowa St. 9-1 1,005 12
  10. Utah 9-2 956 14
  11. Texas 10-2 903 9
  12. Maryland 12-1 869 15
  13. Kansas 9-2 775 10
  14. Notre Dame 12-1 709 16
  15. St. John's 11-1 690 17
  16. Wichita St. 10-2 630 11
  17. West Virginia 11-1 584 18
  18. Oklahoma 8-3 530 19
  19. North Carolina 9-3 483 20
  20. Ohio St. 11-2 435 21
  21. Washington 11-1 253 13
  22. Baylor 10-1 238 22
  23. N. Iowa 11-1 216 23
  24. Colorado St. 13-0 194 24
  25. Georgetown 8-3 140 _

Others receiving votes: TCU 132, VCU 101, San Diego St. 40, Arkansas 27, George Washington 7, LSU 7, Old Dominion 7, Penn St. 5, UNLV 5, Indiana 4, Florida 2, Minnesota 2, Stanford 2, Army 1, California 1, Davidson 1.

My AP top 25 ballot:

1 - Kentucky: Defense doesn’t hit slumps to the extent offense does, one reason to believe John Calipari’s team loaded with nine McDonald’s All-Americans can run the table. Backed by the home crowd, Louisville managed just one assist and shot just .259 in an eight-point loss to the Wildcats.

2 - Duke: Michigan State, Wisconsin and Connecticut all lost to the Blue Devils by 10 points, the smallest margins of victory for undefeated Duke. Freshman point guard Tyus Jones has averaged 20 points, four rebounds, 3.8 assists and shot .593 in those three games. His averages in the other seven games: 7.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and .351 shooting. Those numbers suggest that the more Jones shoots, the better he shoots. It also suggests that he only shoots a lot when he senses his team needs another scorer. In short, he has a perfect point-guard mentality and plays well in the clutch.

3 - Virginia: The Cavaliers have allowed more than 57 points in a game once, in a 76-65 victory against Maryland, which shot 40 percent from the field in the loss.

4 - Wisconsin: The Badgers played two games and won both, at California and at home vs. Buffalo, by a 68-56 score. The Buffalo victory came on the one-month anniversary of a 69-56 victory vs. Oklahoma. The Badgers are nothing if not consistent.

5 - Louisville: Coaches named Pitino are 22-3. Father Rick is 11-1 and son Richard is 11-2 with Minnesota and one of his losses came to his father.

6 - Arizona: Not many schools can hang with Sean Miller’s team in the paint, but UNLV was able to pull off the four-point upset by dominating the boards, 46-33. Vegas sophomore Christian Wood (24 points, 10 rebounds) produced one of his eight double-doubles. Rebels freshman Goodluck Okonoboh of Woburn, Mass., had nine rebounds, compared to three for Arizona center Kaleb Tarczewski. With a first name like that, Okonoboh was destined to make his way to Las Vegas eventually.

7 - Gonzaga: ranks Bulldogs second-most efficient offensive team in nation, behind only Duke, and third-tallest team behind just Kentucky and Florida State.

8 - Villanova: Playing without leading scorer Darrun Hilliard, ‘Nova trailed giant-killer N.J.I.T. by three at halftime, but won the second half by 28 points. Villanova coach Jay Wright said he doesn’t expect Hilliard (concussion) to miss any more time.

9 - Maryland: Terps went 6-1 without senior forward Dez Wells (15.2 points per game). Now that he’s back, Terps are even deeper, better.

10 - Texas: Center Cameron Ridley, not the player he was last season as a sophomore, had another lackluster performance in overtime home loss to Stanford. He blocked four shots in 17 minutes, but contributed just six points and three rebounds.

11 - Iowa State: Georges Niang, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound bundle of basketball skill, shoots .509 overall, .394 from three and .880 from the line. He averages 16.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists. He’s a scoring and passing threat on the perimeter and interior. He’s good.

12 - Utah: Crafty, quick guard Delon Wright averaging 19.3 points in last seven games, 16.4 points on the season.

13 - North Carolina: Coach Roy Williams was nice enough to schedule a home-and-home with UAB, coached by his former Kansas sharp-shooter Jerod Haase, who thanked him last December with a big upset victory. Williams paid him back Saturday with an 89-58 rout in Chapel Hill.

14 - Kansas: Shooting percentages of KU’s four McDonald’s All-Americans: Wayne Selden .347, Perry Ellis .406, Kelly Oubre .457, Cliff Alexander .531.

15 - St. John’s: Fortunately, Nigerian center Chris Obekpa’s retro fashion statement has not triggered a national trend. Obekpa wears short shorts that call to mind a bygone era. Actually, he has said the decision to go short is not fashion-based. He said he wears short shorts because when the long ones become sweaty, they grow heavy.

16 - Oklahoma: Sooners set an NCAA-record with 39 consecutive points in 85-51 rout Monday of Weber State. The run gave Oklahoma a 49-4 lead late in the first half.

17 - Ohio State: It’s always a good thing when the Buckeyes allow 55 points in a game, as they did twice last week. Their scoring totals in four games in which the opponent scored 55 points: 92, 97, 93, 100.

18 - Wichita State: In a 60-54 loss to George Washington in the title game of the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu, Shockers guard Fred Van Vleet and Ron Baker combined to make 8 of 27 field goals, 4 of 13 threes.

19 - Notre Dame: Only loss for Fighting Irish came by one point to Providence in November. That’s impressive, even if ND’s schedule has not been.

20 - West Virginia: Big 12 preseason Player of the Year Juwan Staten heating up after a statistically so-so start to the season. Had 24 points vs. North Carolina State and followed it up with a 17-point, 10-rebound effort against Wofford.

21 - Washington: Home game, up 16 points against Stony Brook. Yogi Berra, who knows it ain’t over until it’s over, might have been the only one still watching. The Seawolves, who had lost six times, including to Hofstra and Canisius, came back to win Sunday night, 62-57. Stony Brook finished the game on a 17-2 run. Stony Brook, on the north shore of Long Island, competes in the America East Conference and never had a victory that could compare with giving the Huskies their first loss.

22 - Virginia Commonwealth: In three games since edging Northern Iowa in overtime, Rams have won by an average margin of 24 points vs. Belmont, Cincinnati and East Tennessee State.

23 - Baylor: Taurean Prince, a 6-7 junior, leads Bears in scoring (11.4) and three-point percentage (571) but scored just seven points in past two games and made 2 of 11 field goals. Red-shirt freshman Johnathan Motley has picked up the slack, averaging 19 points in Bears last three games.

24 - Northern Iowa: Whatever became of Ali Farokhmanesh? Glad you asked. He played professionally overseas (Switzerland, Austria, Holland) for four seasons and is in his first year as a graduate manager on the staff of Nebraska coach Tim Miles. Teddy Owens, son of former KU coach Ted Owens, is in his second season working for the same staff as director of basketball operations.

25 - TCU: Horned Frogs finished last season on a 19-game losing streak, all against Big 12 schools. They opened this season with 12 consecutive victories, none against Big 12 competition.


Seven Big 12 teams ranked in Associated Press college basketball poll; Kansas No. 10

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) puts up a three over Rhode Island guard Jarvis Garrett (1) during the first half on Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014 at the HP Field House in Kissimmee, Florida.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) puts up a three over Rhode Island guard Jarvis Garrett (1) during the first half on Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014 at the HP Field House in Kissimmee, Florida. by Nick Krug

TCU is ranked No. 25 in the Associated Press college basketball poll, which means 70 percent of the Big 12's teams are ranked, including Texas at No. 9 and Kansas at No. 10, which is where the Jayhawks have been ranked for three weeks in a row.

Iowa State is 12th, West Virginia 18th, Oklahoma 19th, Baylor 22nd and TCU 25th.

The 15-team ACC has six ranked schools.

The AP's top 25 teams, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Sunday, 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. Kentucky (65) 12-0 1,625 1
  2. Duke 10-0 1,548 2
  3. Arizona 12-0 1,502 3
  4. Louisville 10-0 1,344 4
  5. Virginia 11-0 1,336 6
  6. Wisconsin 10-1 1,322 5
  7. Villanova 11-0 1,214 7
  8. Gonzaga 11-1 1,170 8
  9. Texas 10-1 1,149 9
  10. Kansas 9-1 1,096 10
  11. Wichita St. 8-1 966 11
  12. Iowa St. 9-1 821 13
  13. Washington 10-0 798 16
  14. Utah 8-2 796 14
  15. Maryland 11-1 678 17
  16. Notre Dame 11-1 536 21
  17. St. John's 9-1 517 20
  18. West Virginia 10-1 464 22
  19. Oklahoma 7-3 436 15
  20. North Carolina 8-3 414 24
  21. Ohio St. 9-2 411 12
  22. Baylor 9-1 203 _
  23. N. Iowa 10-1 162 _
  24. Colorado St. 11-0 144 _
  25. TCU 11-0 120 _

Others receiving votes: Georgetown 85, San Diego St. 72, VCU 70, California 32, Miami 27, Arkansas 22, Indiana 11, LSU 7, Old Dominion 7, Florida 4, Penn St. 4, Oklahoma St. 3, Seton Hall 3, Butler 2, Minnesota 2, Davidson 1, Valparaiso 1.

My top 25 AP ballot:

1 - Kentucky: The better the opponent, the better the Wildcats play. Boredom brings out the worst in them. Against UCLA, Kentucky suffered a scoring drought that lasted 2:46, but it didn't prevent a 24-0 start, which grew to 41-7 by halftime. Bored the second half, Kentucky hung on to win, 83-44.

2 - Duke: Everybody knows you can't win without a bench in big-time college basketball, unless of course you do. Duke's bench played 30 minutes in 10-point victory against UConn and went scoreless on 0 for 5 shooting, did not have an assist and turned it over five times.

3 - Virginia: Harvard (7-2) is not a bad basketball team. It's just that Virginia makes everyone look bad. Maybe this statistic will make the nation sit up and take notice of just how phenomenal a defensive team Virginia is: In a 76-27 loss to the Cavs, Harvard's five starters combined to shoot 1 for 32. That is not a misprint: 1 for 32. Harvard had one assist for the game.

4 - Arizona: Jumped to 15-2 lead in its first road game, at UTEP, but found itself down by a bucket 20 minutes of game clock later. Prevailed with tough defense, causing 18 turnovers to win 60-55.

5 - Wisconsin: Nice road test at Cal awaits Badgers tonight at 8 on ESPN2.

6 - Louisville: Rick Pitino's quick, rugged, hard-working Cardinals could take some fun out of the college basketball season by ending Kentucky's shot at an undefeated season with an upset Saturday. This pits the nation's two most efficient defenses, per, which ranks Virginia third.

7 - Gonzaga: All five starters score in double figures, the team shoots .582 from inside the arc and .395 behind it, making Zags one of the nation's toughest teams to defend.

8 - Texas: Point guard Isaiah Taylor hopes to be back by Jan. 3, the conference opener vs. Texas Tech. The Longhorns have survived without him, generally playing well, although they committed 15 turnovers in a 10-point victory against so-so Long Beach State.

9 - Villanova: One of three top 10 schools nicknamed Wildcats, Villanova remains undefeated despite trailing three times at halftime. The most dramatic comeback, from 15 points down, came in an overtime victory against Syracuse. 'Nova closed a five-point gap in the final 14 seconds to force overtime.

10 - Kansas: Among Big 12 schools, Jayhawks rank second to Iowa State (.754) in free-throw shooting (.746) and second to Kansas State (.400) in three-point shooting (.395).

11 - Wichita State: Shockers overcame an 11-point deficit in the final five minutes to edge Alabama by a point. Standout guard Ron Baker credited coach Gregg Marshall with putting the players in the right frame of mind for the fantastic finish. "He brings us into the huddle and was completely positive, trying to fuel our fire even more," Baker said. "That's the kind of coach you want to play for, and we responded to it."

12 - Washington: Shawn Kemp Jr., son of the prolific six-time NBA All-Star, has made huge strides as a senior, thanks in part to doctors finding the best means of managing his Graves' Disease, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. The hard-dunking Kemp is averaging 10.6 points and 4.3 rebounds for the undefeated Huskies.

13 - Maryland: Terps came into Gallagher-Iba Arena and outscored Oklahoma State 28-10 for a stretch at the end of the first half and beginning of the second, the key to a 73-64 triumph.

14 - Iowa State: High-flying, slender, 6-foot-9 forward Jameel McKay had a strong debut off the bench against Drake with eight points and five rebounds.

15 - Oklahoma: Once Buddy Hield heats up, so will the Sooners, and he will heat up. Hield made 7 of 7 three-pointers in the season-opener, but has made just 31 percent of his threes since.

16 - Utah: Larry Krystkowiak, good guy, good coach. He did a terrific job at Montana, has turned around Utah and took a CBA team to the title game. Nobody could have won with the Bucks when he had his chance there. Prediction: Krystkowiak one day will coach a team to an NBA title.

17 - North Carolina: The Heels can't shoot threes (.285) and their best offense is a missed shot because they rebound nearly 45 percent of their misses.

18 - St. John's: Johnnies have had strong non-conference showing with victories against Minnesota and at Syracuse, but will have a tougher time staying in rankings than most think because Big East is underrated, a strong top-to-bottom conference.

19 - Ohio State: Senior center Amir Williams had a chance to show he can play against top competition in loss to North Carolina, but it didn't happen. He scored one point in 19 minutes and remains a shot-blocker who hasn't developed much of an offensive game. He did block four shots against UNC.

20 - Notre Dame: Ten of 12 games have ended with Fighting Irish winning by double digits, but they haven't played a schedule that will prepare them for the ACC.

21 - Baylor: Junior Taurean Prince, team's leading scorer, shoots better from three (60 percent) than from the line (50 percent). Time to try shooting jumpers from the line?

22 - VCU: Bottom line on the Rams: They don't turn it over very often (15.8 percent of possessions, 15th in nation) and their foes turn it over a ton (24.9 percent, 12th in nation). ... VCU's 21-point victory at Cincinnati came with Larry Davis filling in for popular Bearcats coach Mick Cronin, out indefinitely with an unruptured aneurysm in an unspecified location. It was diagnosed after Cronin visited a doctor in an attempt to determine the source of headaches.

23 - California: Junior Tyrone Wallace (19.5 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 50 percent from three) will try to prove Bears are legit tonight against the Badgers, omnivorous, nocturnal mammals of the weasel family. Safety tip: When encountering a bloated, nocturnal animal during the daytime, keep your distance and call local authorities. It very well could be a sick animal, as in rabid.

24 - Northern Iowa: Coach Ben Jacobson once paid Wichita State a serious compliment when at a charity golf event he was asked what is easier, playing Wichita State or golfing. “Golf is easier," Jacobson told the Des Moines Register. "Golf is really hard. But playing Wichita State is really hard. They were just so good.” He attributed the Shockers success to defensive rebounding and “great late shot-clock play.”

25 - TCU: Big 12 play will determine the extent of the Horned Frogs' improvement, but they are undefeated and two really good football schools, Mississippi State and Mississippi, were among their victims.


Dick Vitale, 75 years young, never stops raising money to battle cancer

ESPN commentator Dick Vitale has some fun with the Kansas student section prior to tipoff against Florida on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

ESPN commentator Dick Vitale has some fun with the Kansas student section prior to tipoff against Florida on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The NCAA basketball tournament was born March 17, 1939, and Dick Vitale belted out his first cry 84 days later. Do the math. Dick Vitale, who has a blast throwing himself into the middle of college basketball crowds, is 75. I guess I never thought about his age, but that just blew me away when I read that recently.

At the age of 40, Vitale was on the call for ESPN's first college basketball game, Dec. 5, 1979, when De Paul defeated Wisconsin, 90-77, and he hasn't stopped since, except to take a break for a couple of months after undergoing vocal-cord surgery seven years ago today.

Vitale's had a blast doing games, but his best work has come when he uses his fame to help causes in much the same way his look-alike, actor Brad Pitt, has. Vitale's passion, of course, is raising funds to battling cancer. He's relentless in trying to find ways to help. His latest effort is a fun book, "It's Awesome, Baby!" written with Dick Weiss and Joan Williamson. Proceeds go to cancer research.

Kansas freshman Cliff Alexander is quoted in the book about his plans: "One-and-done and then come back and get my degree."

Vitale also writes about Kansas coach Bill Self in a chapter titled, "Future Hall of Famers," and about ex-KU coach Larry Brown in the chapter, "Senior Citizens Thriving."

Nobody has to tell Vitale that the secret to life is living it up. He's a great lover of life, which might have something to do with why he's so moved by premature deaths caused by cancer. Two words best sum up Dick Vitale: Kind man.


Kansas remains No. 10 in Associated Press college basketball poll

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) hooks a backdoor pass around Utah forward Brekkott Chapman (0) during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014 at Sprint Center.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) hooks a backdoor pass around Utah forward Brekkott Chapman (0) during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014 at Sprint Center. by Nick Krug

Kansas tends to play either like a top five team or an unranked one, but knows how to pull out games at the end. All of that adds up to the nation's Associated Press college basketball poll voters leaving the Jayhawks at No. 10 for the second week in a row.

The Jayhawks play the toughest schedule in the country and might have to play it all with one scholarship point guard on the roster, unless Devonte Graham can make it back from a severe case of turf toe of the big toe. He's sidelined anywhere from four weeks to the rest of the season.

The top 25 teams in the AP poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Dec. 14, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week's ranking:

My AP top 25 ballot:

          Record Pts Prv
  1. Kentucky (65) 11-0 1,625 1
  2. Duke 8-0 1,545 2
  3. Arizona 10-0 1,505 3
  4. Louisville 9-0 1,349 4
  5. Wisconsin 10-1 1,331 5
  6. Virginia 9-0 1,294 6
  7. Villanova 10-0 1,215 7
  8. Gonzaga 9-1 1,175 9
  9. Texas 8-1 1,154 8
  10. Kansas 8-1 1,102 10
  11. Wichita St. 7-1 959 11
  12. Ohio St. 8-1 838 12
  13. Iowa St. 8-1 772 14
  14. Utah 7-2 670 13
  15. Oklahoma 6-2 647 16
  16. Washington 8-0 598 17
  17. Maryland 10-1 512 19
  18. Miami 9-1 426 20
  19. San Diego St. 7-2 424 18
  20. St. John's 8-1 353 24
  21. Notre Dame 10-1 351 25
  22. West Virginia 9-1 333 22
  23. Butler 8-2 259 15
  24. North Carolina 6-3 122 21
  25. Michigan St. 7-3 116 _

Others receiving votes: Baylor 97, TCU 80, Colorado St. 75, N. Iowa 65, Georgetown 41, California 37, Arkansas 19, Seton Hall 14, VCU 6, LSU 4, Oklahoma St. 4, Old Dominion 4, Penn St. 3, Davidson 1.

1 - Kentucky: Alex Poythress would have been a star on many teams but for Kentucky he was a glue guy who did a little bit of everything. Defended extremely well, blocked shots, ran the floor hard in both directions, rebounded well for a small forward, shot free throws at an .857 clip. Now he’s gone for the season, KO’d by a knee injury. No other team could handle losing a starter as well as Kentucky. Still, Poythress will be missed.

2 - Duke: Semi Ojeleye, around whom everything was built at Ottawa High, where he was encouraged to shoot first pretty much whenever he touched it, never smoothly made the transition to a star-studded roster. He averaged three points and 2.3 rebounds in six games for the Blue Devils (8-0). The 6-foot-8, 230 pound forward armed with a soft, long-range shooting touch, has decided to transfer. In 63 minutes this season, Ojeleye made 4 of 16 three-pointers, 1 of 2 two-pointers, had 14 rebounds, three steals and 11 personal fouls.

3 - Arizona: It hasn’t taken 6-7, 245-pound freshman Stanley Johnson long to figure out how to fit into talented team, what distinguishes a good team from a bad one and just about everything else that troubles new college basketball players. In the past seven games, Johnson’s averaging 15.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals and shooting 50 percent from three. Johnson stung Michigan for 17 points, seven boards and three assists in an impressive 27-point trouncing of reeling Michigan.

4 - Virginia: Ranked third-most efficient defense in nation and 10th in offensive efficiency. Opponents shoot just .345 from inside the three-point arc, third-best in nation, per

5 - Wisconsin: Bo Ryan’s swing offense results in high-percentage shots from inside and open ones from long range, but he’s an even better defensive coach. Five foes have scored 45 or fewer points. ... Badgers are a better three-point shooters than they have shown (.347) so far.

6 - Louisville: After Terry Rozier burned Indiana for a career-high 26 points in a 20-point victory, Hoosiers coach Tom Crean called Rozier, “one of the premier guards in the country.” Cardinals coach Rick Pitino called Montrezl Harrell (21 points, 11 rebounds) “the best player in the nation.” At the very least, Harrell is trending in that direction with five consecutive double-doubles a season double-double (17 points, 10.4 rebounds) average.

7 - Texas: Defensive effective field-goal percentage (1.5 credits for three-pointers made) of .343 best in the nation, per Foes shooting .325 from two, .258 from three.

8 - Gonzaga: Big Zags never trailed in 87-74 victory at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion and showed they shoot well playing at fast pace (.585 overall, .474 from three, .842 from line). Kentucky transfer Kyle Wiltjer averaging 20 points in past six games.

9 - Villanova: Bucknell and Michigan only teams to come within single figures of undefeated Wildcats. Up next: Syracuse comes to Philly on Saturday.

10 - Kansas: Frank Mason averaging more than 35 minutes in past five games. Fatigue not getting in way of improved shooting. Shot .327 from three and .662 from line last season, .500 from three, .879 from line this season.

11 - Wichita State: Ron Baker attempted 11 field goals, made just one free throw and scored 22 points in home-court victory against previously undefeated Seton Hall. Shockers remain a pain-in-the neck team to play, as illustrated by 24-5 advantage in points off turnovers in that game.

12 - Iowa State: Abdel Nader, Cyclones 6-6, 230-pound forward and Northern Illinois transfer, delivered monster contribution off bench in 15-point road victory at Iowa. Totaled 19 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots. He made 4 of 6 three-pointers and teammate Naz Long made 5 of 9. Coach Fred Hoiberg does an amazing job of finding transfers and getting them to quickly learn NBA system.

13 - Oklahoma: All six Sooners victories by double figures. UCLA and Butler among the victims.

14 - Ohio State: Buckeyes have shot at first victory against ranked opponent when they face North Carolina in the United Center in Chicago in the first game of a doubleheader known as the CBS Sports Classic. UCLA and Kentucky play in the second game.

15 - Utah: Not many 6-5 players have the quickness of Delon Wright, who in 39 minutes vs. Kansas made 9 of 13 shots and delivered five rebounds, four assists, four steals and 23 points.

16 - Washington: Huskies have opportunity to move up rankings Saturday if they can figure out how to beat Oklahoma in Coaches vs. Cancer game in Las Vegas.

17 - Maryland: Coach Mark Turgeon will try to improve to 2-0 vs. Big 12 teams Sunday at Oklahoma State. Cowboys could vault into rankings with a victory.

18 - St. John’s: Nigerian Chris Obekpa, a 6-10, 240-pound center, is offensively challenged but plays a huge part in Johnnies ranking as ninth-most efficient defense in the nation. He averages 3.7 blocks per game and enables Johnnies guards to apply pressure, knowing he’s waiting by the rim if guards blow by their men.

19 - Michigan State: Spartans haven’t defeated a ranked opponent and won’t face another until opening Big Ten play vs. Maryland, if the Terps are still ranked Dec. 30.

20 - North Carolina: Tar Heels hung tough at Kentucky in 14-point loss and won second half buy a point. Theo Pinson’s three-pointer with 10:23 left drew Heels within nine with 10:23 left, but Wildcats quickly pushed it back to double figures and kept it there. Moral victory for UNC? Not quite, but not a discouraging effort either. “I thought they dictated what we did on the offensive end with their athleticism, quickness, strength and size,” UNC coach Roy Williams said afterward. That gives Roy’s team something in common with every other Kentucky opponent.

21 - Notre Dame: Fighting Irish play a soft non-conference schedule, too soft to properly prepare them for the rigorous ACC. Best long-range play for Domers: Join the Big 12 with BYU.

22 - Baylor: Add the Bears to the list of schools that have the potential to give KU problems in the paint. If Johnathan Motley’s breakout performance in a victory against a much improved Texas A&M squad gives him confidence he can use to fuel him to more consistent performances, look out. Motley, a 6-9, 230-pound red-shirt freshman from Houston, dominated the Aggies with 22 points and 11 rebounds in 23 minutes. He made 9 of 16 field goals. That’s 22 more points than Motley delivered in a combined 27 minutes vs. Texas Southern and Vanderbilt. Motley, ranked No. 110 by Rivals in the Class of 2013, added more than 20 pounds during his red-shirt season. His wingspan has been measured at 7-3. He and wide-body Rico Gathers complement each other well when Motley is on his game.

23 - San Diego State: Struggling Aztecs had to outscore so-so Long Beach State team 19-10 in the closing minutes just to pull out a one-point victory at home.

24 - Miami, Fla.: Kansas State transfer Angel Rodriguez led Hurricanes with 17 points in 70-39 victory vs. Savannah State. K-State could have used Rodriguez six days later against Savannah, which was within single figures with inside eight minutes remaining before Wildcats pulled away for 20-point victory.

25 - California: Bears have one loss, but haven’t played much of a schedule, other than a 14-point victory vs. Syracuse and a 16-point loss to Texas.


Kansas moves up one spot to No. 10 in Associated Press college basketall poll

Kansas guard Devonte Graham (4) puts up a floater as he is fouled by Florida forward Jacob Kurtz (30) during the second half on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Devonte Graham (4) puts up a floater as he is fouled by Florida forward Jacob Kurtz (30) during the second half on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Facing a tough week with a Wednesday road game at Georgetown and a Saturday game at Sprint Center against No. 13, the Jayhawks start the week as the No. 10 team in the Associated Press college basketball poll released Monday. Kansas moved up one spot from last week.

The top 25 teams in the AP poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Dec. 7, 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. Kentucky (64) 9-0 1,600 1
  2. Duke 8-0 1,518 4
  3. Arizona 8-0 1,486 3
  4. Louisville 7-0 1,319 5
  5. Wisconsin 8-1 1,316 2
  6. Virginia 9-0 1,285 7
  7. Villanova 8-0 1,173 10
  8. Texas 7-1 1,155 6
  9. Gonzaga 7-1 1,145 9
  10. Kansas 6-1 1,083 11
  11. Wichita St. 5-1 929 8
  12. Ohio St. 6-1 808 14
  13. Utah 6-1 717 25
  14. Iowa St. 5-1 668 20
  15. Butler 7-1 593 23
  16. Oklahoma 5-2 557 22
  17. Washington 7-0 428 _
  18. San Diego St. 6-2 390 13
  19. Maryland 8-1 370 21
  20. Miami 8-1 359 15
  21. North Carolina 6-2 350 12
  22. West Virginia 8-1 313 16
  23. N. Iowa 8-0 232 _
  24. St. John’s 6-1 211 _
  25. Notre Dame 8-1 200 _

Others receiving votes: Michigan St. 120, Illinois 91, Georgetown 62, Iowa 60, Seton Hall 57, Baylor 49, TCU 45, Colorado St. 28, Arkansas 22, California 19, Michigan 14, Creighton 7, VCU 6, LSU 5, Indiana 3, NC State 3, Old Dominion 2, Dayton 1, Yale 1.

My top 25 ballot:

1 - Kentucky: The thoroughbred owners weren’t angry yet when the Texas game was 26-26 at the half. Maybe a little nervous, but fury was on one knee in the on-deck circle. Then the best defensive team in college basketball in years showed its fangs and in the first 8:59 of the second half, the Wildcats outscored the Longhorns, 18-2.

2 - Duke: Finally, the voters realize that the Blue Devils have been the second-best team in the nation all season. It took them shooting .652 from the field and .583 from three in a 10-point victory vs. Wisconsin for everyone to see what should have been obvious. Hands off my back and back on the keyboard.

3 - Virginia: Since the start of conference play last season, the Cavaliers are 30-3. Tony Bennett has brought the Virginia program from rags to riches in the ACC. Bennett doesn’t draw the attention of more established ACC peers such as Coach K, Rick Pitino, Roy Williams and Jim Boeheim, but that’s OK. he doesn’t mind being the stranger in paradise.

4 - Arizona: Brandon Ashley outscored Gonzaga, 6-2, in the final 3:03 of regulationa nd T.J. McConnell bettered the Zags, 6-3, in overtime.

5 - Wisconsin: Leave Josh Gasser to help elsewhere and he’ll make you regret it. He’s shooting .464 from three.

6 - Louisville: Cards pestered Ohio State into shooting .304 because that’s what they do.

7 - Texas: They tied Kentucky for a half, which isn’t half bad. If Cameron Ridley could find a way to rev his motor a little louder, Longhorns could take a step or two up the rankings.

8 - Gonzaga: Przemek Karnowski, a 7-1, 288-pound center from Pland. Kyle Wiltjer, a 6-10 transfer from Kentucky. Domantas Sabonis, a skilled 6-10 freshman from Lithuania. Kevin Pangos, a drive-and-dish senior point guard who doesn’t turn it over. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Zags could be team best equipped to upset Kentucky in the tournament. Taking Arizona to overtime in Tucson did nothing to make that seem outlandish.

9 - Kansas: I asked freshman Devonte Graham what the coach’s tone was like at halftime when KU was down 15 points in its comeback victory against Floriday. Graham looked down, smiled and said, “It wasn’t pretty good.” It worked.

10 - Villanova: Schedule about to heat up for Jay Wright’s team. Next seven opponents: Illinois, Temple, Syracuse, NJIT, Butler, Seton Hall, St. John’s. De Paul and Xavier, teams with a combined 51-17 record. Only NJIT has a losing record and it’s coming off a victory at Michigan.

11 - Wichita State: No shame in losing by a point in overtime in the Huntsman Center to a very good Utah squad.

12 - Washington: Huskies defend the whole court well. Opponents shooting .244 on three-point shots, .375 inside the arc.

13 - San Diego State: Aztecs scored school-worst 36 points in 13-point loss at Washington and shot .246 from the field, making int second time they have missed three-quarters of their shots.

14 - Utah: Utes represent a tough out Saturday at Sprint Center. Coming off a one-point, overtime victory vs. visiting Wichita State, Utes will try to make it 2-0 against Kansas schools Saturday in Sprint Center.

15 - Ohio State: Facing intense Louisville defense in nine-point loss will help Buckeyes to get better, especially point guard Shannon Scott (five turnovers, 1 for 7 shooting).

16 - Maryland: Fifth-tallest team in the coungtry, per

17 - Iowa State: Cyclones three-point shooting percentage in five victories: .402. In one loss: .222.

18 - St. John’s: Senior D’Angelo Harrison leads the team with 18.4 points and ranks second with 8.1 rebounds and shoots .372 from three. Johnnies won by a dozen at Syracuse behind Harrison’s 24 points.

19 - Oklahoma: One of four legitimate contenders for the Big 12 title, the Sooners slammed Missouri, 82-63.

20 - Michigan State: Best three-loss team in the country, but coach Tom Izzo won’t be passing out trophies for that honor.

21 - Butler: One of many Big East teams off to good starts, Bulldogs have defeated North Carolina and Georgetown. Lone loss to Oklahoma.

22 - North Carolina: Brice Johnson totaled 19 points and 17 rebounds in confidence-building rout of East Carolina.

23 - Notre Dame: Fighting Irish backcourt tandem of Jerian Grant and Demetrius Grant combined for 49 points in one-point overtime victory against Michigan State.

24 - Baylor: It’s difficult to see a Baylor basketball jersey without thinking about the coolest NBA draft moment ever. NBA commissioner announced Isaiah Austin as the NBA’s draft choice. Diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, Austin can’t ever play basketball again because of the risk of stressing enlarged arteries in the heart.

25 - Northern Iowa: UNI is 2-0 in overtime games played against schools named after men (Stephen F. Austin and George Mason).


Kansas stays at No. 11 in Associated Press college basketball poll

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander (2) rejects a shot from Michigan State forward Marvin Clark Jr. (0) during the first half on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014 at the HP Field House in Kissimmee, Florida.

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander (2) rejects a shot from Michigan State forward Marvin Clark Jr. (0) during the first half on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014 at the HP Field House in Kissimmee, Florida. by Nick Krug

Kansas University won the eight-team Orlando Classic with three victories, but remained No. 11 in the weekly Associated Press college basketball poll.

The AP top 25, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Nov. 30, 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. Kentucky (62) 7-0 1,622 1
  2. Wisconsin (3) 7-0 1,511 2
  3. Arizona 6-0 1,488 3
  4. Duke 7-0 1,475 4
  5. Louisville 5-0 1,260 6
  6. Texas 6-0 1,254 7
  7. Virginia 7-0 1,196 8
  8. Wichita St. 4-0 1,165 9
  9. Gonzaga 6-0 1,133 10
  10. Villanova 6-0 1,075 12
  11. Kansas 5-1 1,063 11
  12. North Carolina 5-1 864 5
  13. San Diego St. 5-1 784 15
  14. Ohio St. 5-0 759 16
  15. Miami 7-0 697 17
  16. West Virginia 7-0 601 21
  17. Michigan 5-1 454 19
  18. Arkansas 6-0 438 25
  19. Michigan St. 5-2 423 20
  20. Iowa St. 3-1 330 13
  21. Maryland 7-0 306 _
  22. Oklahoma 4-2 254 _
  23. Butler 5-1 222 _
  24. Illinois 6-0 104 _
  25. Utah 5-1 88 _
    Others receiving votes: N. Iowa 83, UConn 76, Oklahoma St. 69, Providence 56, VCU 52, Syracuse 49, Florida 40, Georgetown 30, Creighton 29, Washington 17, NC State 12, Wyoming 10, California 8, Seton Hall 5, St. John's 5, Nebraska 4, Baylor 3, UCLA 3, Mississippi 2, Old Dominion 2, TCU 2, Notre Dame 1, Saint Mary's (Cal) 1.

My AP top 25 ballot:

1 - Kentucky: Points scored by last three opponents: 28, 44, 38. Next up is Texas on Friday in Lexington.

2 - Duke: Blue Devils shoot .601 from inside the arc, .387 from outside it and turn it over on just 13.6 percent of their possessions, fourth best in the country, per They also rebound 41.2 percent of their misses. Crazy efficient.

3 - Wisconsin: Duke visits Wednesday night in a possible preview of Final Four teams. Must-watch game in a week packed with many.

4 - Arizona: The Wildcats made 20 of 24 foul shots, compared to 13 of 24 from San Diego State in a two-point game. Practice your free throws.

5 - Virginia: Held Rutgers to 26 points, making it four times in eight games that the Cavaliers have held the other team to 42 or fewer points.

6 - Louisville: Cards shoot just .586 from the line and .240 from three, yet would be a No. 2 seed if brackets came out today. How does that compute? They play incredible defense. Three-point defense (.194) best in nation, two-point defense and turnover rate eighth-best. Opponents are so exhausted trying to figure out how to score on Rick Pitino’s relentless competitors that they can’t even shoot free throws (.533). Maybe that last stat has a little to do with a weak schedule so far.

7 - Texas: If the Longhorns can’t give Kentucky a game Friday, what does that say about their chances of winning the Big 12? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

8 - Gonzaga: A Saturday trip to Arizona represents chance for Zags to show they belong in the Top 10.

9 - Wichita State: Shockers have nation-best 35-game winning streak in games played in the regular season. Last loss was March 2, 2013 at Creighton.

10 - Kansas: Freshman Cliff Alexander’s averages per 40 minutes played: 20.7 points, 12.9 rebounds, 3.2 blocks, 4.6 personal fouls. He and Perry Ellis playing well together. If Alexander can play with same aggression and curb fouls a little the dynamic duo will be able to team up more often.

11 - Villanova:Defense elevates this team. ‘Nova does such a good job of challenging shots in the paint that opponents make just 38 percent of their two-point attempts.

12 - San Diego State: A check of shows that temperatures will fluctuate more than usual in san Diego this week. Tuesday’s forecast calls for a high of 68, followed by 69 on Wednesday, 68 on Thursday and back to 69 on Friday.

13 - Ohio State: Freshman D’Angelo Russell leads team in scoring (18.0), ranks second to Shannon Scott in assists (5.4) and steals (1.8) and is second to Marc Loving in three-point percentage (.483). If Russell can score Tuesday night on Louisville, he can score on anybody. Well, maybe not Kentucky.

14 - North Carolina: Lost to Butler, but bounced back with victories against UCLA and Florida to take fifth place in the Bahamas tourney. Kennedy Meeks, the 6-foot-9, 280-pound sophomore, produced 18 points, 13 rebounds against Florida.

15 - Maryland: Coach Mark Turgeon, in the wake of five transfers, said he would reassess his coaching style to stem the trend. Maybe he did, or maybe it’s easier to win without disgruntled players weighing themselves down with selfish motives. Terps are undefeated with victories against Arizona State and Iowa State. Freshman Melo Trimble has played so well that nobody’s crying about the departure of starting point guard Seth Allen.

16 - Michigan: Next up for Wolverines, Syracuse, in Tuesday night game in Ann Arbor. Three-point shooters can burn many zones, but not Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 variety that gets out on shooters. Syracuse almost as good at defending the three (.266) as it is poor at shooting threes (.198).

17 - Iowa State: It doesn’t pay to foul Georges Niang. He’s made 23 of 25 free throws. Maryland kept him off the line (1 for 2) and won by nine points.

18 - Michigan State: Spartans coach Tom Izzo delivered the quote of the week when asked about whether Branden Dawson’s flu could have been a factor in his poor shooting game (4 for 15) against Kansas: “A dead man can make a layup.”

19 - Miami, Fla.: Big 12 transfer update: Sheldon McClellan (Texas) and Angel Rodriguez (Kansas State) combining for 31.6 points, .456 three-point shooting.

20 - West Virginia: Turgeon and Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins won’t be holding mutual pity party over rash of offseason transfers. They rather like the players they’re coaching. Huggins, a 100-percent genuine article, is one of the easier guys for whom to root in the coaching business. Ditto for Turgeon.

21 - Arkansas: Thursday night game at Iowa State a must-watch between contrasting styles. Outcome could say plenty about both teams’ worthiness in top 25.

22 - Utah: Deadly from three (.446), Utes do a great job of drawing fouls. Wichita State pays Wednesday night visit to Huntsman Center to play Utes. Winner of this one will be rewarded for it on Selection Sunday.

23 - Oklahoma State: Cowboys not getting national love yet, in part because of soft schedule, but also because the nation hasn’t caught on to the big impact from 5-11 LSU transfer Anthony Hicks.

24 - UConn: Huskies led Texas until Jonathan Holmes hit a three-pointer from the left baseline with two seconds left for a one-point victory.

25 - Illinois: Rayvonte Rice, a native of Champaign, was not offered a scholarship by his hometown school when Bruce Weber coached there. John Groce, Weber’s replacement at Illinois, had tried to get him to commit to Ohio. Instead, he started for two seasons at Drake and then said yes to Groce the second time. In his second season with the Illini, Rice leads the team with 17.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.8 steals and a .571 three-point shooting percentage. He produced 17 points, seven rebounds and three steals in eight-point victory against Baylor. Big game coming up Tuesday at Miami.


Kansas falls to No. 11 in Associated Press college basketball poll

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) watches as Kentucky forward Alex Poythress (22) rejects his floater during the second half of the Champions Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) watches as Kentucky forward Alex Poythress (22) rejects his floater during the second half of the Champions Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. by Nick Krug

Kansas dropped six spots to No. 11 in the Associated Press college basketball poll in the wake of a 72-40 loss to No. 1 Kentucky, which received 62 of a possible 65 first-place votes. Wisconsin received the other three first-place votes.

The top 25 teams in the AP poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Nov. 23, 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. Kentucky (62) 5-0 1,622 1
  2. Wisconsin (3) 4-0 1,494 3
  3. Arizona 3-0 1,491 2
  4. Duke 5-0 1,474 4
  5. North Carolina 3-0 1,314 6
  6. Louisville 3-0 1,219 7
  7. Texas 4-0 1,187 10
  8. Virginia 4-0 1,165 9
  9. Wichita St. 3-0 1,120 11
  10. Gonzaga 4-0 1,077 13
  11. Kansas 1-1 981 5
  12. Villanova 3-0 917 12
  13. Iowa St. 2-0 828 14
  14. VCU 3-0 760 15
  15. San Diego St. 3-0 736 16
  16. Ohio St. 3-0 557 20
  17. Miami 5-0 521 _
  18. Florida 2-1 473 8
  19. Michigan 3-0 401 24
  20. Michigan St. 2-1 399 19
  21. West Virginia 5-0 344 _
  22. UCLA 4-0 173 _
  23. Creighton 4-0 148 _
  24. UConn 3-1 144 17
  25. Arkansas 3-0 131 _

Others receiving votes: Oklahoma 109, Stanford 80, Providence 63, Utah 38, Minnesota 21, N. Iowa 17, Rhode Island 16, Syracuse 15, Oklahoma St. 14, Georgetown 10, Memphis 10, Baylor 7, Indiana 6, California 5, Illinois 5, Nebraska 5, Cincinnati 4, NC State 4, Wyoming 4, Dayton 3, Maryland 3, UTEP 3, BYU 2, Northeastern 1, Xavier 1.

My AP top 25 ballot:

1 - Kentucky: For Kentucky to reach its outrageous potential, point guard Andrew Harrison and twin Aaron Harrison, a shooting guard, must play 32 minutes a game. The four post players can split time equally and play physically without fear of foul trouble and not have to pace themselves, but the twins are such a dynamic duo, they’ll need to play more eventually. No shortage of extremely athletic candidates can fill the reserve backcourt and small forward minutes.

2 - Duke: Blue Devils took care of Michigan State, Temple and Stanford, all by double figures. Five games in, freshman point guard Tyus Jones has a 5-to-1 assists-to-turnover ratio, the team’s shooting .417 from three, freshman Jahlil Okafor and junior Amile Jefferson combine for 7.4 offensive boards a game and strong perimeter defender Quinn Cook averages 17 points, shoots .486 from three and has a 5.2-to-1 assists-to-turnovers ratio. In other words, the Blue Devils are strong on the perimeter and in the paint.

3 - Arizona: T.J. McConnell, the 6-foot-1 point guard who started his career at Duquesne, not only sets up the big men on a tall roster, he helps them out on the boards. In a 17-point victory against a good UC Irvine team, McConnell totaled 12 points, nine rebounds, four assists and six steals.

4 - Wisconsin: Preseason All-American Frank Kaminsky leads a talented team in scoring (19.3), rebounding (10.3), steals (1.3) and blocks (2.8), is second in assists (2.8) and third in three-point percentage (.444). Duke’s Dec. 3 visit to Kohl Center represents Badgers’ first serious test.

5 - Virginia: Opponents averaging 46.7 points per game against Cavaliers, who hunt shots patiently and hit them at a .415 clip from three-point land.

6 - Texas: Point guard Isaiah Taylor, who had shown signs of a much improved three-point shot to add to his ability to break down a defense, suffered a broken wrist that will cause him to miss most or all of the rest of the nonconference schedule. Barring setbacks, he’s expected to return right about the time Big 12 season arrives. Thanks to experienced junior Javan Felix, the Longhorns are better equipped than most to withstand the stretch without Taylor, but the injured sophomore is a first-team All-Big 12-caliber player.

7 - Gonzaga: At 6-10, Lithuanian freshman Domantas Sabonis, 18, is five inches shorter than his father, Arvydas Sabonis, a 7-3 European basketball legend before joining the Portland Trailblazers at age 31. The son appears to have inherited his father’s feel for the game. Domantas clearly knows a good shot from a bad one. He has an active streak of 14 consecutive field goals made. He leads the Zags in scoring (14), rebounding (7.5), field-goal pct. (.759) and free-throw percentage (.750).

8 - North Carolina: Tar Heels sixth-best offensive rebounding team in the nation, snagging 46.6 percent of their misses, compared to national average of 31.6, per

9 - Louisville: Shy on shooting — .619 from the line, .219 from three so far — the Cardinals will use smothering defense and other ways to win big.

10 - Wichita State: Shockers play great defense. Memphis committed 24 turnovers in 15-point loss to Wichita State.

11 - Villanova: So far, 32.1 percent of opponents’ possessions have ended in a turnover, the fourth-best figure in the country.

12 - Virginia Commonwealth: Prediction: Tonight’s game vs. Villanova will be decided in the fourth overtime. Both teams shoot a lot of threes, force a lot of turnovers.

13 - Kansas: The statistic that best captured the 32-point loss to Kentucky: The Jayhawks had the exact same number of shots blocked (11) as they made.

14 - Iowa State: Sophomore guard Monte Morris is off to terrific start. He’s averaging 37.5 minutes and 16.5 points and is shooting .647 overall and .667 from three.

15 - San Diego State: Steve Fisher looks to have one of the nation’s top defensive teams, which is a good thing because the Aztecs aren’t the greatest collection of shooters. In 53-49 victory against Utah, Aztecs shot just .327.

16 - Ohio State: Super quick guard Shannon Scott has embraced the role of playmaker, dishing more than looking to score. He set a school record with 16 assists in Sunday night a rout vs. Sacred Heart and he’s averaging 9.3 points and 13.7 assists.

17 - Michigan: Junior Spike Albrecht, who scored 17 points and made four three-pointers in the first half of a title-game loss to Louisville two seasons ago, isn’t off to as hot a start this year. He has scored 12 points in 77 minutes so far.

18 - Michigan State: Senior guard Travis Trice off to a monster start. He’s averaging 17.7 points and has hit half of his three-point shots.

19 - Miami, Fla.: Angel Rodriguez, the point guard who transferred from Kansas State, scored 24 points and hit a three-pointer with 16 seconds left to spark the Hurricanes’ victory at Florida. Another Big 12 transfer, Sheldon McClellan from Texas, also played a big role in the upset with nine points, seven rebounds and five assists.

20 - Arkansas: Mike Anderson making his old coach Nolan Richardson proud by coaching a defense that makes it tough for teams to take care of the ball. As hard as his players plays, particularly defensively, they need to take breathers. Anderson substitutes frequently and has 10 players averaging at least 15 minutes.

21 - UCLA: Sometimes the coach’s son plays a lot because he’s the coach’s son. Not the case here. Bryce Alford strokes it like his father Steve used to for Indiana. Bryce has made all 12 of his free throws and half of his three-point shots and is averaging 21 points, 10.7 assists and 1.7 steals.

22 - West Virginia: Bob Huggins’ coaching style isn’t for everyone and plays a part in a high transfer rate. Star Eron Harris and Terry Henderson were the latest to leave the program in the offseason. But give Huggins players with thick enough skin to take his brutal honesty and improve from it and Huggins will squeeze the most out of a team. The Mountaineers are off to a 5-0 start. After WVU harassed UConn into 19 turnovers in a 78-68 victory in Puerto Rico, Huggins said what he liked about his team.
“I’ve got my kind of guys again,” Huggins said. “I’ve got guys that are just going to keep swinging, you know?”

23 - Utah: If you like a player who does a little bit of everything, watch Utes 6-5 guard Delon Wright, who averages 11 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 3.0 steals and 1.7 blocks.

24 - Georgetown: Senior Josh Smith, the Hoyas’ 6-10, 350-pound center who started his career at UCLA is off to a strong start. He’s averaging 17.3 points and 8.3 rebounds and will have a chance Wednesday to show what he can do against Florida.

25 - Oklahoma State: Anthony Allen, Jr., a 7-footer from Kingston, Jamaica, was the leading shot-blocker a year ago with 6.2 blocks a game. He’s not a scorer, but in 18.3 minutes a game is averaging 10 rebounds and 3.3 blocks a game. Is 7 for 7 from the field. But he’s going to have to do a better job of checking his temper to maximize his contributions to the Cowboys. He already missed a game because of a Flagrant 2.


Don’t count out Kelly Oubre becoming tonight’s mystery starter vs. Kentucky

Kansas head coach Bill Self has words for Kelly Oubre during a team huddle during the first half on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014.

Kansas head coach Bill Self has words for Kelly Oubre during a team huddle during the first half on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. by Nick Krug

It's amazing how many Kansas basketball fans have lost sleep over Kelly Oubre playing just four minutes in the season-opening, 10-point victory against UC Santa Barbara. It was one game, not even 3 percent of basketball season.

Whatever point Self made in limiting Oubre's minutes, the freshman McDonald's All-American either adjusted or he'll continue to spend long stretches on the bench until he gets the point. For all we know, Oubre already has worked his way out of a short stay in the doghouse, every coach's favorite word to read in the newspaper.

Self has not revealed the identity of his fifth starter tonight and it won't come as a surprise if it's Brannen Greene, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk or Devonte Graham, playing with Frank Mason, Wayne Selden, Perry Ellis and Jamari Traylor.

But if I had to guess the identity of tonight's fifth starter against Kentucky, I'd say Oubre. He didn't like sitting for 36 minutes, so my guess is he gave Self what he wanted of him in practice. If Oubre does start, it doesn't hurt Kansas than Kentucky hasn't seen more than four minutes of regular-season game action to learn how Self wants to use him.

If Self had more showmanship in him, he would substitute his entire starting lineup two minutes into the game, beating John Calipari to the punch, just for laughs. It would last forever as one of the most memorable moves in Champions Classic history, lead every SportsCenter and add juice to the already strong Self-Calipari rivalry. Self's too old-school for that. Every move will be designed at trying to win tonight's game. Maybe even every move he made last game had a little of tonight in mind as well.


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