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Kansas jumps two spots to No. 9 in Associated Press college basketball poll

Kansas guard Brannen Greene throws up three fingers after sinking a three against Oklahoma to reclaim the lead late in the second half on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Brannen Greene throws up three fingers after sinking a three against Oklahoma to reclaim the lead late in the second half on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

A turnover-free second half in Austin made enough of an impression on Associated Press college basketball voters that Kansas moved up two spots to ninth in the poll released today.

The AP top 25, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Jan. 25, 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) 19-0 1,624 1
  2. Virginia (1) 19-0 1,561 2
  3. Gonzaga 20-1 1,476 3
  4. Duke 17-2 1,402 5
  5. Wisconsin 18-2 1,351 6
  6. Arizona 18-2 1,300 7
  7. Villanova 18-2 1,187 4
  8. Notre Dame 19-2 1,139 8
  9. Kansas 16-3 1,120 11
  10. Louisville 16-3 1,027 10
  11. Utah 16-3 996 12
  12. Wichita St. 18-2 893 14
  13. North Carolina 16-4 878 15
  14. VCU 16-3 734 16
  15. Iowa St. 14-4 719 9
  16. Maryland 18-3 715 13
  17. West Virginia 16-3 558 18
  18. N. Iowa 18-2 440 20
  19. Texas 14-5 431 17
  20. Baylor 15-4 407 _
  21. Georgetown 14-5 334 25
  22. Indiana 15-5 165 23
  23. Miami 14-5 164 _
  24. Oklahoma 12-7 90 19
  25. Butler 15-6 70 _

Others receiving votes: Colorado St. 57, Arkansas 54, Ohio St. 43, SMU 43, Providence 29, Dayton 28, Georgia 28, Stanford 16, Wyoming 14, LSU 10, Seton Hall 10, San Diego St. 4, Texas A&M 2, Tulsa 2, Davidson 1, Green Bay 1, Saint Mary’s (Cal) 1, Stephen F. Austin 1.

My AP top 25 ballot:

1 - Kentucky: Every time I tune in the radio or turn on the TV, it seems, somebody’s clucking about what’s wrong with the Wildcats or about how Kentucky’s going nowhere unless coach John Calipari turns over the reins to freshman point guard Tyler Ulis and plays him 30 minutes a game. Meanwhile, the ‘Cats take a 19-0 record into Columbia on Thursday night.

2 - Virginia: Smooth 6-foot-6 junior guard Justin Anderson drills three-pointers at a .526 clip and averages 14.1 points.

3 - Gonzaga: The best way to remember how to pronounce the school’s name: It’s the Zags, not the Zogs. Best way to slow down the Zags: Nobody knows.

4 - Duke: Coach 1K’s riding a three-game winning streak, bouncing back from back-to-back losses to North Carolina State and Miami.

5 - Wisconsin: Frank Kaminsky, preseason All-American, is playing up to expectations with 17.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.7 blocks and a steal per game. Reminds some of former Lakers multi-skilled big man Vlade Divac.

6 - Arizona: Freshman Stanley Johnson leads experienced team in scoring and rebounding with 15 points and seven boards a game.

7 - Louisville: Players steadily improve under Rick Pitino. Case in point: Sophomore guard Terry Rozier. He averaged seven points as a freshman, 12 points in the first six games of this season, 20 points in the past 12.

8 - Notre Dame: Irish are No. 1 in the nation in effective field-goal percentage, which gives 1.5 credits for three-point field goals, compared to two-pointers, and therefore is a far better indicator of shooting efficiency. ND ranks No. 1 in the nation in that category and No. 2 in ball security, turning it over on just 13.8 percent of their possessions, so it’s no surprise kenpom.com calculations rank ND the most efficient offense in the nation.

9 - Kansas: Brannen Greene’s shooting range gives everyone on the court with him more breathing room. Greene made 7 of 9 three-pointers in his past two games, averaging 13 points in 17.5 minutes.

10 - Villanova: Hammered 78-58 by Georgetown in D.C., a chance for revenge comes Feb. 7 in Philly, a must-watch.

11 - Utah: Utes have gone 9-1 since losing to Kansas by three points and all 10 games have been margins of 13 points or greater.

12 - North Carolina: Marcus Paige is shooting better of late, nailing 11 of 21 three-pointers in his past four games.

13 - Iowa State: Texas Tech’s 78-73 home victory vs. Iowa State proves anybody can beat anybody in the Big 12. At least any team that makes 6 of 31 three-pointers can be beaten by any other Big 12 team.

14 - Maryland: Full-court pressure enabled Mark Turgeon’s Terps to come back from an 11-point deficit in final 3:21 to edge Northwestern by a point. The Texas A&M fan base never really got into the habit of calling him Turge, so he’s better off at a school where basketball’s a bigger deal the fans call a Terp a Terp and a Turge a Turge.

15 - Wichita State: Average margin of victory in eight conference games is 16.125.

16 - Miami: Four-point victory vs. Syracuse at Carrier Dome pushed Hurricanes to 4-2 in ACC and only losses were to No. 2 Virginia in double overtime and No. 8 Notre Dame by five points on the road.

17 - Baylor: Rico Gathers played 28 minutes in game against NAIA school Hutson-Tillitson, time enough to score 25 points and gather 28 rebounds.

18 - Georgetown: Here come the Hoyas. First came a 20-point victory vs. Villanova and then 350-pound center Joshua Smith dropped 18 and 15 in overtime victory at Marquette.

19 - Virginia Commonwealth: Rams alone atop Atlantic 10 are 6-0 in league and riding an 11-game winning streak.

20 - Oklahoma: No better indicator of quality of the Big 12 exists than Oklahoma losing four of its past five games. Sooners just as easily could respond by winning four of their next five.

21 - Texas: Size matters, but can be overrated. Longhorns haven’t figure out how to translate length advantage into a lot of hootin' and hollerin' at Erwin Center.

22 - West Virginia: Not a great week for Mountaineers. Hammered 77-50 in Austin and then won by one point in overtime against visiting TCU on a controversial call. Kay Anderson was whistled four fouling Jevon Carter with one second left and Carter made them both.

23 - Ohio State: Buckeyes were eight-point favorites vs. Indiana, yet because Indiana was ranked and Ohio State was not, many called Ohio State’s 82-70 victory Sunday an upset. Absurd.

24 - Providence: Friars won’t have any issues in the quality-victories department come judgment day, aka Selection Sunday. Notre Dame, Miami and Georgetown among their victims.

25 - Northern Iowa: A six-point victory at home vs. Indiana State and a one-point survival at Illinois State made for unimpressive week.

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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 kenpom.com), 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 kenpom.com, 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).

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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 kenpom.com, 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.

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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: Kenpom.com 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.

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Taking a stab at ranking eight Kansas mid-year juco football signings

Defensive coordinator Clint Bowen, left, laughs with newly-hired Kansas head football coach David Beaty before Beaty is introduced to the Allen Fieldhouse crowd during halftime of the JayhawksÕ game against Floriday on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014. Beaty is the 38th head coach in the programÕs history.

Defensive coordinator Clint Bowen, left, laughs with newly-hired Kansas head football coach David Beaty before Beaty is introduced to the Allen Fieldhouse crowd during halftime of the JayhawksÕ game against Floriday on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014. Beaty is the 38th head coach in the programÕs history. by Nick Krug

Guessing which junior-college signees will contribute the most to the program is too inexact to call it a science, but searching for little clues along the way can help make guesses more accurate than putting the names in a hat and drawing them randomly.

A guess at ranking the value of the eight mid-season, junior-college signees who will join the Kansas University football program for the second semester and participate in new head coach Dave Beaty's first spring footballcamp:

1 - M.J. Mathis, 6-2, 205: A former Kentucky commitment, Mathis was recruited by Dave Campo and re-recruited by David Beaty and staff. He has strong coverage skills, hits like a linebacker and is built like an NFL defensive back.

2 - Brandon Stewart, 5-11, 175: The fact he committed to California and then changed his mind bodes well for his chances at KU in two areas. First, he must be a pretty good football player if Cal wanted him. Second, he must have his academic house in order or Cal wouldn’t have looked twice at him.

3 - Ke’aun Kinner, 5-9, 185: What can I say, I’m a sucker for running back highlight videos set to music. As a senior in high school at Little Elm, a 4A school just north of Dallas, he had single-game rushing yardage totals of 432, 345, 343, 339 and 332.

4 - Bazie Bates IV, 6-1, 195: Hard-hitting cornerback/safety looks on video like a guy who really enjoys playing football, which can’t be a bad thing.

5 - Will Smith, 6-4, 315, OL: Fromer Shawnee Mission Northwest behemoth looks to have a shot at winning a starting job with a strong spring.

6 - Jacky Dezir, 6-3, 305: His highlights show a player who never quits on a play and is rewarded by making plays on the opposite side of the field. Then again, that’s why they’re called highlights.

7 - De’Andre Banks, 6-3, 325: One of three players from Trinity Valley CC in Athens, Texas, to enroll at mid-year, joining Stewart and Bates.

8 - Jayson Rhodes, 6-4, 310: A last-minute addition when another lineman backed out of his commitment, Rhodes received just one other offer, from UT-San Antonio.

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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 kenpom.com, 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.

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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.

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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 kenpom.com.

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 kenpom.com. 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.

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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 kenpom.com.

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).

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As expected, Big 12 skunked

Understandably, the college football playoff selection committee didn't have the guts to omit undefeated Florida State from its four-team playoff and because of that, no Big 12 team will have a shot at the national title.

TCU dropped from third to sixth after a 55-3 victory against Iowa State. Baylor moved from sixth to fifth, after defeating Kansas State.

"They were really 3 a,b,c and d," selection committee chairman Jeff Long told ESPN. "They were really that close."

It was not difficult to predict correctly in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep the order the committee would seed the teams: 1. Alabama, 2. Oregon, 3. Florida State, 4. Ohio State.

But that's not how I would have voted. I would have had Baylor in there instead of Florida State.

Some will call for the Big 12 to apply for an exception that would allow a 10-team conference to have a playoff game or for the conference to expand to 12 teams. Instead, encouraging conference members to beef up their non-conference schedules is the way to go.

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