Posts tagged with Ku

Ranking Bill Self’s best coaching jobs during 11-year Big 12 title run: No. 6

Kansas player Joel Embiid, right, and Andrew Wiggins try to tie up Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown during the second half on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Kansas player Joel Embiid, right, and Andrew Wiggins try to tie up Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown during the second half on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma. by Nick Krug

6. 2013-14: Bill Self had to replace all five starters because Ben McLemore declared for the NBA draft and the other four starters were seniors. Sure, Andrew Wiggins was the No. 1-ranked high school recruit and 7-footer Joel Embiid from Cameroon had promise, but could Embiid, with so little history with the game of basketball, develop into a player who could make significant contributions as a freshman? The answer, of course, to that question was a resounding yes. He not only contributed, he played so well at times that he dominated. Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg called Embiid the “best player in the country,” after watching him do things that 7-footers simply don’t do, especially basketball novices. Self and assistant coach Norm Roberts brought Embiid along masterfully, knowing when to lean on him and when to stroke his confidence. The back stress fracture that kept the 7-footer out of the NCAA tournament limited KU to two poorly played tourney games. Stanford eliminated the Jayhawks and made Wiggins turn invisible for a game.

Big 12 standings:

Kansas 14-4
Oklahoma 12-6
Texas 11-7
Iowa State 11-7
Kansas State 10-8
Baylor 9-9
West Virginia 9-9
Oklahoma State 8-10
Texas Tech 6-12
TCU 0-18

Check back at 3:45 p.m. for No. 5.

No. 11 — 2004-05

No. 10 — 2009-10

No. 9 — 2006-07

No. 8 — 2012-13

No. 7 — 2014-15

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Ranking Bill Self’s best coaching jobs during 11-year Big 12 title run: No. 7

Kansas players, from left, Wayne Selden, Perry Ellis, Frank Mason and Jamari Traylor watch a pair of free throws from Kelly Oubre with head coach Bill Self after a flagrant foul by Baylor during the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2014 at Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.

Kansas players, from left, Wayne Selden, Perry Ellis, Frank Mason and Jamari Traylor watch a pair of free throws from Kelly Oubre with head coach Bill Self after a flagrant foul by Baylor during the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2014 at Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas. by Nick Krug

7. 2014-2015: Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, and Joel Embiid, the No. 3 pick, both stayed at Kansas for just one year. The Jayhawks, unlike in most seasons, have no shot-blocking force in the middle. The Big 12 is loaded with point guards adept at getting to the paint, so the lack of a shot-blocker shows even more than it might in some conferences. And it took Perry Ellis a while to embrace the idea of being the team’s go-to guy. Now that Ellis is comfortable with that role and in fact even seems to love it, he was able to put Kansas in position to clinch a share of the 11th Big 12 title in a row after Iowa State stormed back from a 21-point deficit Monday night to defeat Oklahoma. Frank Mason’s steady hand all season has upgraded the point-guard position, but Wayne Selden’s unanticipated problems finishing drives has made it difficult for Kansas to avoid scoring droughts at times. Kelly Oubre has come on of late. Cliff Alexander, even before getting sidelined while the NCAA looks into a compliance issue, never emerged as the force KU had hoped.

Big 12 standings (so far):

Kansas 12-4
Iowa State 11-6
Oklahoma 11-6
West Virginia 10-6
Baylor 10-7
Kansas State 8-9
Oklahoma State 7-9
Texas 7-10
TCU 4-12
Texas Tech 3-14

Check back at 3:30 for No. 6

No. 11 — 2004-05

No. 10 — 2009-10

No. 9 — 2006-07

No. 8 — 2012-13

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Ranking Bill Self’s best coaching jobs during 11-year Big 12 title run: No. 8

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson pulls up from the top of the key for a three-pointer against Iowa State during overtime on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson pulls up from the top of the key for a three-pointer against Iowa State during overtime on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

8. 2012-2013: Three starters returned from a team that had shocked the world by advancing to the NCAA title game, where it lost to Kentucky. Freshman sensation Ben McLemore, so athletic and such a good shooter, softened the blow of losing Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor. Kansas shared the title with Kansas State with a 14-4 record and defeated K-State for the third time to win the Big 12 tournament title. Hopes ran high after a 70-58 victory against North Carolina in Kansas City to advance to the Sweet 16. Then, against Michigan in Arlington, Texas, Elijah Johnson made so many strange decisions and Kansas blew a double-digit lead to Michigan and lost in overtime, 87-85. Johnson delivered a groin shot in the opening minute that could have resulted in an ejection but did not. He was called for a 10-second violation, badly overthrew a pass intended for Jeff Withey on the perimeter that led to a fast-break bucket the other way, and at the end of the overtime period, he bypassed a layup that would have forced a second overtime and threw a pass out to Naadir Tharpe for a desperation-heave-of-a-three-point attempt that missed. Johnson also stopped feeding McLemore when, for the first time in the NCAA tournament caught fire. If Johnson’s 39-point game in Ames was the high point of KU’s season, his Michigan performance was the low point.

Big 12 standings:

Kansas 14-4
Kansas State 14-4
Oklahoma State 13-5
Oklahoma 11-7
Iowa State 11-7
Baylor 9-9
Texas 7-11
West Virginia 6-12
Texas Tech 3-15
TCU 2-16

Check back at 3:15 p.m. for No. 7

No. 11 — 2004-05

No. 10 — 2009-10

No. 9 — 2006-07

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Ranking Bill Self’s best coaching jobs during 11-year Big 12 title run: No. 9

Confetti flies over Kansas' Julian Wright and Russell Robinson are surrounded by their teammates after defeating Texas in overtime to become the Big XII Tournament champions for the second year in a row.

Confetti flies over Kansas' Julian Wright and Russell Robinson are surrounded by their teammates after defeating Texas in overtime to become the Big XII Tournament champions for the second year in a row. by Nick Krug

9. 2006-07: All five starters returned and ultra-talented freshmen Darrell Arther and Sherron Collins provided killer depth. Self quickly infused the new talent, scored an early season upset against defending national champion Florida, won the regular-season title with a 14-2 record and the Big 12 tournament championship. In the NCAA tournament, KU breezed through Chicago with victories against Niagara and Kentucky, only to come up flatter than a Coke sitting in the sun for an entire weekend. In San Jose, Kansas snuck past Southern Illinois, 61-58, in a blood-bath of a defensive game and lost to UCLA 68-55, looking a bit jittery in both games.

Big 12 standings:

Kansas 14-2
Texas A&M 13-3
Texas 12-4
Kansas State 10-6
Texas Tech 9-7
Missouri 7-9
Oklahoma State 6-10
Iowa State 6-10
Oklahoma 6-10
Nebraska 6-10
Baylor 4-12
Colorado 3-13

Check back at 3 p.m. for No. 8

No. 11 — 2004-05

No. 10 — 2009-10

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Ranking Bill Self’s best coaching jobs during 11-year Big 12 title run: No. 10

Kansas guard Sherron Collins kisses the Big 12 championship trophy after the Jayhawks' win over Oklahoma, Monday, Feb. 22, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse. In back is Kansas forward Marcus Morris.

Kansas guard Sherron Collins kisses the Big 12 championship trophy after the Jayhawks' win over Oklahoma, Monday, Feb. 22, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse. In back is Kansas forward Marcus Morris. by Nick Krug

  1. 2009-10: Freshman Xavier Henry joined a team already returning Sherron Collins, Tyshawn Taylor, Cole Aldrich and Marcus Morris and big things were expected. The Jayhawks delivered, going 15-1 in Big 12 play, losing only at Oklahoma State on Feb. 27. They also knocked off Kansas State in the Big 12 title game, but were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament in the second round by Northern Iowa, 69-67. The Panthers had survived UNLV, but not without struggling mightily against the Running Rebels’ full-court pressure. UNLV was a pressing time and Kansas was not. Still, given the quickness advantage, I predicted a blowout based on my belief Kansas would step out of character and apply full-court pressure after seeing how poorly Northern Iowa handled it. By the time Kansas went to the press in the second half, it was too late. It worked, but was too little too late.

Big 12 standings:

Kansas 15-1
Kansas State 11-5
Baylor 11-5
Texas A&M 11-5
Missouri 10-6
Texas 9-7
Oklahoma State 9-7
Colorado 6-10
Texas Tech 4-12
Oklahoma 4-12
Iowa State 4-12
Nebraska 2-14

Check back at 2:45 for No. 9.

No. 11 — 2004-05

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Ranking Bill Self’s best coaching jobs during 11-year Big 12 title run: No. 11

Kansas University's Wayne Simien, left, takes KU's last shot over
Bucknell's Chris McNaughton. The shot bounced off the front of the
rim, ending the Jayhawks' season with a 64-63 setback Friday to
Bucknell in Oklahoma City.

Kansas University's Wayne Simien, left, takes KU's last shot over Bucknell's Chris McNaughton. The shot bounced off the front of the rim, ending the Jayhawks' season with a 64-63 setback Friday to Bucknell in Oklahoma City. by Scott McClurg/Journal-World Photo

No need to look at the calendar to check the month. Kansas University basketball fans will remind you by saying what they say annually in early March. “You know,” they start, “I think this is Bill Self’s best coaching job yet.”

Since that’s such a hot topic, I decided to take a stab at ranking Self’s most impressive coaching jobs during this run of 11 consecutive Big 12 regular-season titles. Naturally, because the NCAA tournament hasn’t been played yet, the ranking for this season is subject to change. I’ll release one every 15 minutes, starting at No. 11 and working my way down to No. 1.

  1. 2004-05: Coaching players recruited by a previous coach generally isn’t an ideal circumstance, but Self, in his second season at KU, got off to a 20-1 start. As the season wore on, injuries mounted and the magic wore off. Kansas went 3-6 at the end, capping it off with an opening-round loss to Bucknell and Self was staring at a massive rebuilding job after losing seniors wayne Simien, Keith Langford and Aaron Miles. Sophomore J.R. Giddens, stabbed in the Moon Bar incident, didn’t return either.

Big 12 standings:

Kansas 12-4
Oklahoma State 11-5
Texas Tech 10-6
Iowa State 9-7
Texas 9-7
Texas A&M 8-8
Missouri 7-9
Nebraska 7-9
Kansas State 6-10
Colorado 4-12
Baylor 1-15

Check back at 2:30 for No. 10.

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Kansas falls to No. 9 in nation, No. 2 in state, in Associated Press college basketball poll

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) puts up a shot over Texas center Cameron Ridley (55) during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) puts up a shot over Texas center Cameron Ridley (55) during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Kansas, No. 8 in the Associated Press college basketball poll for the past four weeks, slipped to No. 9 in the poll released Monday, falling behind Wichita State, which vaulted from No. 11 to No. 8.

The top 25 teams in the AP poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through March 1, 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) 29-0 1,625 1
  2. Virginia 27-1 1,547 2
  3. Duke 26-3 1,501 4
  4. Villanova 27-2 1,417 6
  5. Arizona 26-3 1,338 7
  6. Wisconsin 26-3 1,318 5
  7. Gonzaga 29-2 1,244 3
  8. Wichita St. 27-3 1,104 11
  9. Kansas 23-6 1,087 8
  10. Maryland 24-5 1,035 14
  11. N. Iowa 27-3 908 10
  12. Notre Dame 24-5 879 9
  13. Utah 22-6 823 13
  14. Baylor 22-7 801 19
  15. Oklahoma 20-8 759 16
  16. Louisville 23-6 728 17
  17. Iowa St. 20-8 536 12
  18. Arkansas 23-6 515 18
  19. North Carolina 20-9 435 15
  20. West Virginia 22-7 389 20
  21. Butler 21-8 359 23
  22. SMU 23-6 210 21
  23. Ohio St. 21-8 114 _
  24. Providence 20-9 91 25
  25. Murray St. 26-4 79 _

Others receiving votes: Dayton 61, Boise St. 53, Oregon 33, St. John’s 27, BYU 21, Texas A&M 20, Davidson 18, Georgetown 13, Colorado St. 7, San Diego St. 7, Tulsa 7, LSU 6, Rhode Island 3, VCU 3, Stephen F. Austin 2, Valparaiso 2.

My top 25 AP ballot:

1 - Kentucky: Discussions regarding what type of team can upset the undefeated Wildcats inevitably lead with strong three-point shooting teams. Here’s the problem with that: Kentucky’s post defenders are so effective, perimeter defenders can afford to stick with shooters and not drop off to help down low. Kentucky opponents shoot .273 from three, second only to Pepperdine (26 percent).

2 - Virginia: Cavs hit the road and limited Wake Forest to .242 two-point shooting and .182 three-point accuracy in 70-34 domination.

3 - Duke: Center Jahlil Okafor still hasn’t recovered 100 percent from an ankle injury, which has prevented Duke from practicing as hard defensively, according to coach Mike Krzyzewski. Okafor hasn’t shown any signs of an injury at the other end, where he scored a career-high 30 points in overtime victory at Virginia Tech. Senior guard Quinn Cook played all 45 minutes and made 6 of 11 threes on the way to 26 points.

4 - Wisconsin: First the Badgers lost at Maryland and then engine troubled caused the team plane ot make an emergency landing in Pittsburgh.

5 - Villanova: Xavier coach Chris Mack was blown away by Villanova’s shooting range after ’Cats made 13 of 29 threes in road game, including 4 of 7 from reserve forward Kris Jenkins.
“They’re as good as anybody in the country,” Mack said. “Those guys are shooting from 30 feet, from 27 feet. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

6 - Arizona: Leading scorer Stanley Johnson made 3 of 19 shots and the Wildcats still won at Utah, leaving no doubt as to the identity of best team in Pac-12.

7 - Gonzaga: Zags two leading scorers and three-point shooters, Kentucky transfer Kyle Wiltjer and senior guard Kevin Pangos, fired blanks on same night in three-point home loss to BYU. They combined to shoot 5 of 23 overall and 2 of 9 from three.

8 - Kansas: It’s always best, it seems to have a primary scorer and two secondary ones. Kansas has developed that. In past five games, Big 12 Player of the Week Perry Ellis has averaged 22.5 points, freshman Kelly Oubre 12.3, sophomore Frank Mason 10.6. They have combined for 65.3 percent of teams points in that stretch.

9 - Notre Dame: Since defeating Duke on Jan. 28, Irish have gone 4-3 with latest loss coming at home to Syracuse.

10 - Utah: Won the first half against Arizona State, 41-9.

11 - Maryland: Senior guard Dez Wells went off for 26 points in 59-53 defeat of Wisconsin. Wells is shooting .523 from three and has hit 79 percent of his free throws.

12 - Wichita State: Shockers finished first half on 22-6 run in avenging loss to Northern Iowa and extending home winning streak to 32 games, fourth longest streak in nation.

13 - Northern Iowa: Sixteen-game winning streak died with 74-60 loss at Wichita State.

14 - Oklahoma: Sooners have won 8 of 9 heading into tonight’s game in Ames.

15 - Baylor: Taurean Prince has scored at least 20 points in four of Bears’ past six games.

16 - Iowa State: Loss to Baylor kept Cyclones from going 8-0 at home in Big 12 games and they followed it up with one-point loss at Kansas State.

17 - Louisville: Days after being suspended for threatening his girlfriend in a text, starting guard Chris Jones was charged with rape and sodomy and was dismissed from the team. Jones entered a not-guilty plea in court Thursday and was released on home incarceration.

18 - North Carolina: Loss at North Carolina State was not well received by Tar Heel nation.

19 - Arkansas: When asked about Kentucky’s McDonald’s All-Americans, Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said, “We’ve got some Burger King guys.” A burger joint hasn’t been born that can match Kentucky’s dominance. It would have to be named “10 Guys.”
Hogs were coming off good victory vs. Texas A&M to push their winning streak to seven games before shooting 5 for 18 from three against Kentucky.

20 - West Virginia: Mountaineers beat Texas (17 turnovers) and lost to Baylor (eight turnovers). They don’t shoot well enough to win unless they create extra possessions with turnovers and offensive rebounds.

21 - Ohio State: D’Angelo Russell, first-team All-America candidate as a freshman, had 28 points to lead Buckeyes back from a 12-point deficit to a four-point home victory vs. a tough Purdue squad.

22 - Oregon: Don’t foul senior guard Joseph Young. He’s shooting .912 from the line and averages 19.9 points. He plays 36.2 minutes a game, but obviously doesn'’t lose his legs. Ducks have won 8 of 9.

23 - Butler: Should change mascot to Underdogs. They relish the role.

24 - Providence: FoxSports1 graphic: Friars 4-6 when Kris Dunn has five or more turnovers and 16-3 when he has fewer than five.

25 - Georgetown: Hoyas so much better when Joshua Smith stays out of foul trouble.

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Kansas No. 8 in Associated Press college basketball poll for fourth week in row

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander (2) dunks off a pass from Frank Mason III, in the second half of the Jayhawks 73-51 win over Texas Tech Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 at United Supermarkets Arena.

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander (2) dunks off a pass from Frank Mason III, in the second half of the Jayhawks 73-51 win over Texas Tech Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 at United Supermarkets Arena.

Kansas remained No. 8 in the Associated Press college basketball poll and Iowa State moved up to No. 10. Big 12 teams Oklahoma (16), Baylor (19) and West Virginia (20) also are ranked. Oklahoma State lost twice and dropped out.

The top 25 teams in the AP poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Feb. 22, 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 (65) 27-0 1,625 1
  2. Virginia 25-1 1,526 2
  3. Gonzaga 28-1 1,471 3
  4. Duke 24-3 1,448 4
  5. Wisconsin 25-2 1,390 5
  6. Villanova 25-2 1,306 6
  7. Arizona 24-3 1,228 7
  8. Kansas 22-5 1,111 8
  9. Notre Dame 24-4 1,109 10
  10. N. Iowa 26-2 1,032 11
  11. Wichita St. 25-3 930 13
  12. Iowa St. 20-6 887 14
  13. Utah 21-5 876 9
  14. Maryland 22-5 695 16
  15. North Carolina 19-8 655 15
  16. Oklahoma 19-8 622 17
  17. Louisville 21-6 613 12
  18. Arkansas 22-5 564 18
  19. Baylor 20-7 473 20
  20. West Virginia 21-6 453 23
  21. SMU 22-5 357 21
  22. VCU 21-6 182 25
  23. Butler 19-8 165 19
  24. San Diego St. 22-6 117 _
  25. Providence 19-8 72 _

Others receiving votes: Georgetown 58, Michigan St. 56, Murray St. 42, Oklahoma St. 25, Ohio St. 12, Valparaiso 10, Texas A&M 8, Rhode Island 3, Stephen F. Austin 2, Oregon 1, Texas 1.

My top 25 AP ballot:

1 - Kentucky: Three future NBA centers Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson combine for 63.3 minutes per game, 26 points, 18.3 rebounds, 4.8 blocks and .564 shooting. Many NBA teams don’t have a single NBA centers, present or future.

2 - Virginia: Held Florida State without a field goal in the final 10-and-a-half minutes of game clock in 51-41 victory. Unbelievable defensive team.

3 - Gonzaga: Nobody ever will mistake him for the guy known by the first four letters of Kyle Wiltjer’s last name, but by one kenpom.com measure, Wiltjer is the highest-rated offensive player in the nation. The 6-foot-10, 240-pound Kentucky transfer leads Zags with 17.4 points per game and shoots .543 from the field, .469 from three and .806 from line.

4 - Duke: The bigger the game, the better freshman point guard T’yus Jones plays. In leading Duke from a 10-point deficit with inside four minutes left to an overtime victory, Jones totaled 22 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.

5 - Wisconsin: Say what you will about the Big Ten having a down year, but going in 13-1 in league games, with the one coming when two starters were sidelined, is nothing short of amazing.

6 - Villanova: Providence and Butler only teams to come within single digits of Wildcats during active eight-game winning streak.

7 - Arizona: Three top scorers, Stanley Johnson, Brandon Ashley and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, combined to shoot 4 of 25 vs. UCLA and still Arizona won, 57-47. Another oddity from that game: First four minutes of game and first four of second half, UCLA outscored Arizona, 20-0.

8 - Kansas: Defensive rebounding has become such a concern it might be time to leave Cliff Alexander on the floor, except when the opponent is applying defensive pressure, and live with his spacy moments.

9 - Notre Dame: Irish don’t have a shot-blocker and 6-foot-10, 242-pound junior Zach Auguste is the only player in the starting lineup taller than 6-5. Team compensates by taking smart shots and spreading the floor with .404 three-point shooting. Four of top six in minutes played shoot .406 or better from three.

10 - Iowa State: Fred Hoiberg has breathed so much life into the Cyclones program, yet until this past weekend his teams had not won two consecutive Big 12 road games. No better indication exists of the difficulty of winning away from home in Big 12 than that. And it’s not as if the Cyclones faced a couple of stiffs in Oklahoma State and Texas.

11 - Utah: The Utes’ ability to score inside has opened up three-pointers to the extent they were shooting almost 40 percent from three. That sometimes can lead to a team settling for threes. That happened in Sunday’s 11-point loss at Oregon, where Utes attempted more threes (29) than twos (23).

12 - Louisville: In a week that featured a loss at Syracuse and victory vs. Miami, guard Terry Rozier hoisted 33 shots and made just nine, which by Cardinals standards isn’t as bad as it sounds.

13 - North Carolina: Here comes J.P. Tokoto, athletic 6-5 junior forward who does a little bit of everything. In overtime loss at Duke and one-sided victory vs. Georgia Tech, Tokoto averaged 13.5 points, seven rebounds, six assists.

14 - Maryland: Chance to improve NCAA Tournament seed comes Tuesday, when Terps play host to Wisconsin.

15 - Northern Iowa: Huge week for the Panthers. They have chance to avenge lone Missouri Valley Conference loss Wednesday when Evansville visits. If that goes well, they can win conference outright Saturday in Wichita.

16 - Oklahoma: Tell me again how this team was swept by Kansas State?

17 - Wichita State: Carrying a short list with five names on it is stuffed in every athletic director’s wallet, in the event he or she must hire a basketball coach in the offseason. Gregg Marshall’s name has to be on just about every list, every year and he stays with the Shockers because he loves his job, his players, his adopted city. How cool is that?

18 - Arkansas: Mike Anderson making mentor Nolan Richardson proud. Key to Hogs’ success: Hurry opponents into mistakes (16.5 turnovers) and don’t make many of your own (11.8).

19 - Michigan State: A victory Thursday would give Spartans a season-high, five-game winning streak.

20- West Virginia: Kenpom.com stats: A national-best 16.4 percent of opponents’ possessions end in a steal and Mountaineers rank sixth in nation in offensive rebounding percentage.

21 - Baylor: Scott Drew’s team deserves credit for playing hard and showing toughness. How else could the Bears rank No. 1 in the nation with an offensive-rebound percentage of 42.1?

22 - Georgetown: Teams with a really good guard (D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera) and a really hard-to-guard center (Joshua Smith) and a good defense (18th in nation in defensive efficiency, per kenpom.com). Think the Kansas team led by Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson.

23 - SMU: Larry Brown’s leading scorer is 5-9, 170-pound Nic Moore from Lake Winona, Ind. He has made 10 of 20 threes in the past four games and is shooting .429 from long range and averaging 14.5 points.

24 - Virginia Commonwealth: Rams are young, lack size and don’t get to the free-throw line very often. They compensate by forcing turnovers and not committing them.

25 - San Diego State: Aztecs steadily improving. They’re riding four-game winning streak with an average margin of victory of 17.5 points.

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Kansas stays at No. 8 in Associated Press college basketball poll

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) turns for a shot over Oklahoma State forward Jeffrey Carroll during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015 at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) turns for a shot over Oklahoma State forward Jeffrey Carroll during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015 at Gallagher-Iba Arena. by Nick Krug

Kansas held its No. 8 spot in the Associated Press college basketball poll, released today.

The top 25 teams in the AP college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Feb. 15, 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) 25-0 1,625 1
  2. Virginia 23-1 1,524 2
  3. Gonzaga 26-1 1,475 3
  4. Duke 22-3 1,449 4
  5. Wisconsin 23-2 1,387 5
  6. Villanova 23-2 1,302 6
  7. Arizona 22-3 1,213 7
  8. Kansas 21-4 1,195 8
  9. Utah 20-4 1,051 11
  10. Notre Dame 22-4 1,038 10
  11. N. Iowa 24-2 955 13
  12. Louisville 20-5 882 9
  13. Wichita St. 23-3 862 15
  14. Iowa St. 18-6 761 14
  15. North Carolina 18-7 658 12
  16. Maryland 21-5 640 19
  17. Oklahoma 17-8 554 17
  18. Arkansas 20-5 476 24
  19. Butler 18-7 456 18
  20. Baylor 18-7 364 16
  21. SMU 21-5 299 25
  22. Oklahoma St. 17-8 240 21
  23. West Virginia 19-6 154 21
  24. Ohio St. 19-7 139 23
  25. VCU 19-6 109 20

Others receiving votes: Texas 70, San Diego St. 64, Providence 44, Murray St. 38, Temple 28, Georgetown 23, Michigan St. 17, Dayton 10, Texas A&M 8, Valparaiso 8, Indiana 7.

My AP top 25 ballot:

1 - Kentucky: Again the nation’s best team, except for most NBA squads, escaped another close one on the road, 71-69, in Baton Rouge. LSU went on a 21-2 run after Karl-Anthony Towns received a technical foul for hanging on the rim. Calipari lit up Towns, benched him and watched his team fall behind 66-60 without callinga timeout.
“I’m not worried about losing,” Calipari said afterward. “This is about us getting better.”
Upset with his team’s play, Calipari said after the game that he told his team, “I hope we lose,” after Towns hung on the rim. Never a dull moment with Calipari and his undefeated Wildcats.

2 - Virginia: On the one hand, a broken finger that will sideline Justin Anderson until some point in March could cost him a shot at the Wooden Award. On the other hand, seeing how much worse Virginia is without him could help him win the award. Without Anderson, the Cavs have shot a wretched 6 for 37 from three-point range, haven’t defended as well and have struggled to go 3-0.

3 - Gonzaga: Domantas Sabonis, the 6-foot-10, 231 pound freshman from Lithuania, averages 9.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and shoots national-best .707 from the field for the most talented Zags team ever.

4 - Duke: Blue Devils survived two tough road games (Florida State and Syracuse). When road challenges pop up, look for seniors to lead the way. Coach K didn’t see any reason to rest Quinn Cook in either game and in 80 minutes, Cook scored 43 points and made 13 of 15 free throws. Great freshman class, but it’s Cook who holds this team together.

5 - Wisconsin: Badgers pulling away from Big Ten field even faster than Kansas is from Big 12 competitors. Badgers 11-1 with a three-game lead.

6 - Villanova: When Villanova defeated Kansas, 63-59, in the Bahamas, the outcome was painted as a stunner. But the reality is ‘Nova has been a better team than Kansas the past two seasons, posting a 52-7 record. Kansas has played a tougher schedule, but also has lost twice as many games.

7 - Kansas: Perry Ellis averaging 15.4 points and 8.6 rebounds in past five games. “I’ve coached him for three years and I’ve said he leaves me wanting more, but I haven’t thought that of late,” KU coach Bill Self said. “I think he’s playing closer to his ceiling now than he has.”

8 - Arizona: Size doesn’t always translate to rebounding, but it certainly does with Arizona. Point guard T.J. McConnell is joined in the starting lineup by Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (6-7, 220), Stanley Johnson (6-7, 245), Brandon Ashley (6-9, 230) and Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0, 245). Opponents rebound 22.4 percent of their misses, per kenpom.com, which makes Wildcats the best defensive rebounding team in nation.

9 - Louisville: North Carolina State’s Anthony “Cat” Barber, recruited for a while by Kansas, has reached 20 points in three of last four games and scored 21 points to lead 74-65 upset at Louisville. Afterward, he spoke in the third person: “Coaches keep telling me, ‘Be me. Be Cat and do what Cat does best.’ I think I’ve taken that under consideration.” As a child, I had a cat that killed a cardinal. It was very sad and ranks in the top 25 reasons I like dogs better than cats.

10 - Notre Dame: On Tuesday, Irish play host to Danny Manning’s Wake Forest squad, which is coming off one-point loss at Virginia in a game that could come to be known as the Valentine’s Day non-massacre.

11 - Utah: Utes so upset about losing at UCLA that they have won the next four games by margins of 15 points or greater. They hit the road this week for a pair of games vs. the Oregon schools.

12 - North Carolina: Tar Heels head into Cameron Indoor Stadium on Wednesday having lost three of past four games. In Saturday’s game at Pittsburgh, the Panthers shot 65 percent, the highest mark against the Tar Heels since Williams went back to his alma mater.

13 - Iowa State: Cyclones, 1-4 on the road in Big 12 play, head to Stillwater and Austin this week.

14 - Northern Iowa: Panthers riding 13-game winning streak. Freshman reserve guard Wyatt Lohaus is nine inches shorter than his father, Brad Lohaus (University of Iowa, eight NBA teams in 11 seasons), but did inherit Brad’s shooting touch. The younger Lohaus is shooting .464 from three and .889 from the line and plays 14.1 minutes per game.

15 - Oklahoma: If not for getting swept by Kansas State, Sooners would stand one-half game behind first-place Kansas. Sweeping Oklahoma was the stately thing for K-State to do.

16 - Wichita State: Shockers aren’t as talented as last season, but play with every bit as much defensive grit, limiting opponents to 55.8 points a game, eighth in nation.

17 - Butler: Bulldogs fell just short, 68-65, of adding Villanova to list of victims that already includes North Carolina, Georgetown, St. John’s twice, Xavier and Seton Hall twice.

18 - Maryland: Senior Dez Wells doesn’t shoot a ton of threes (two per game), but makes 52.6 percent of his attempts. .

19 - Michigan State: Slowly the Spartans have turned, step by step, inch by inch, on the way to playing their best basketball in the NCAA tournament. Maybe. Four of final six games on the road.

20 - Ohio State: Sharp-shooter Marc Loving played just five minutes in three-point loss at Michigan State in first game back from three-game suspension. Bench scored three points.

21 - Oklahoma State: Cowboys were on mighty three-game roll, winning at Texas, then at home vs. Kansas, then at Baylor. And then they lost by 15 points at TCU? Cowboys made 3 of 16 threes (.188) and turned it over 17 times. Maybe it was particularly windy in the Horned Frogs’ temporary home.

22 - Baylor: The fact that Baylor, an athletic team that plays so hard, is .500 in Big 12 play and tied for sixth is as good a testament to conference’s strength as any other evidence.

23 - Arkansas: Sophomore post player Bobby Portis had a stretch of nine game in which he produced a double-double eight times.

24 - Virginia Commonwealth: After losing three in four-game stretch, Rams bounced back nicely with 13-point victory at George Washington.

25 - SMU: Gifted point guard Eammanuel Mudiay suffered a season-ending ankle injury after 10 games in China. If he had played at SMU and stayed healthy, no telling how much higher Larry Brown’s team would be ranked.

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Kansas remains No. 8 in Associated Press college basketball poll

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) pulls up for a three from the corner during the second half on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) pulls up for a three from the corner during the second half on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Kansas' loss at Oklahoma State, coming five days after an impressive defeat of visiting Iowa State, didn't hurt Kansas in the Associated Press college basketball poll, released today. The Jayhawks remained at No. 8. It did, however, help the Cowboys. They vaulted from toward the bottom of "others receiving votes" to No. 21.

The top 25 teams in the AP poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Feb. 8, 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) 23-0 1,625 1
  2. Virginia 21-1 1,518 3
  3. Gonzaga 24-1 1,486 2
  4. Duke 20-3 1,450 4
  5. Wisconsin 21-2 1,385 5
  6. Villanova 21-2 1,294 7
  7. Arizona 20-3 1,185 6
  8. Kansas 19-4 1,171 8
  9. Louisville 19-4 1,120 9
  10. Notre Dame 21-4 948 10
  11. Utah 18-4 946 13
  12. North Carolina 18-6 871 12
  13. N. Iowa 22-2 846 14
  14. Iowa St. 17-5 842 11
  15. Wichita St. 21-3 743 16
  16. Baylor 18-5 694 19
  17. Oklahoma 16-7 565 21
  18. Butler 18-6 462 22
  19. Maryland 19-5 347 17
  20. VCU 18-5 296 18
  21. Oklahoma St. 16-7 273 _
  22. West Virginia 18-5 273 15
  23. Ohio St. 18-6 271 20
  24. Arkansas 18-5 221 _
  25. SMU 19-5 81 23

Others receiving votes: Iowa 38, Providence 26, Texas 25, Stephen F. Austin 22, Cincinnati 21, Murray St. 20, Indiana 13, Rhode Island 12, Georgetown 9, Texas A&M 7, Temple 6, Mississippi 3, Old Dominion 3, Harvard 2, San Diego St. 2, Xavier 2, Valparaiso 1.

My AP top 25 ballot:

1 - Kentucky: Sure, the winningest program of all-time has by far the most talent in the nation, but the Wildcats are gamers too. They find different ways to win close games. Saturday night on the road against Florida, Kentucky made 21 of 22 free throws.

2 - Virginia: Justin Anderson, a terrific guard and legitimate first-team All-American candidate, suffered a fractured finger that is expected to keep him out anywhere from four to six weeks.

3 - Gonzaga: Such an enjoyable team to watch because of the wide variety of means of scoring, or as people unfortunately say these days “scoring the basketball.” Zags would have one more way to score, but college referees discourage hard drives into the lane because they have reverted to calling charges when defenders, primary and secondary, slide into position after the offensive player leaves his feet. And they get away with it.

4 - Duke: Justise Winslow wouldn’t be known as “the other freshman” in many programs. He dazzled Notre Dame in 30-point victory with 19 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

5 - Wisconsin: Badgers only loss with Frank Kaminsky in lineup came against Duke. Kaminsky shoots threes at a .414 clip and blocks 1.6 shots a game. He’s everywhere.

6 - Louisville: Scored 13 points in first half of five-point loss to Virginia. Cards really know how to make the game ugly.

7 - Villanova: Wildcats pride themselves on not letting foes get good looks from three and certainly accomplished that goal evening score against Georgetwon with 16-point victory. Hoyas made 1 of 17 threes.

8 - Kansas: In past five games, Wayne Selden has made 15 of 24 three-point shots (.625) and 5 for 21 two-pointers (.238). On the season, he’s shooting an excellent .419 (39 for 93) from three and an abysmal .324 (36-111) from two inside the arc. Strange numbers for a guy built like a linebacker. It’s such a 180 from a year ago, when he shot .328 from three and .530 from two.

9 - Arizona: Wildcats’ three losses, all on the road, none to ranked teams, have come by combined margin of nine points. If Davidson, in sixth place in the Atlantic 10 with a 6-4 record and 15-6 overall mark, could get hot at right time, win the A-10 tournament for an automatic tournament berth and pull off a series of upsets, it could set up an all-Wildcat Final Four, joining Kentucky, Villanova and Arizona. Or maybe Kansas State could ... never mind.

10 - Notre Dame: Ten days after defeating Duke, the Irish were blasted out of Cameron Indoor Stadium, 90-60. It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature.

11 - North Carolina: Late great coach Dean Smith not only was a member of the Kansas 1957 national-championship basketball team, he played freshman football and earned three varsity letters (1951-53) on the baseball team.

12 - Iowa State: It’s amazing how much motivational fuel teams bring against opponents that upset them earlier in the year. Cyclones, two weeks after getting knocked off by Texas Tech, slammed the Red Raiders, 75-38, in Ames. Jameel McKay, such a diference-maker for the Cyclones, made all seven field-goal attempts and had 17 points, eight rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals in the rematch.

13 - Utah: Utes went on the road and defeated USC and Colorado, both by 28 points, and moved into a first-place tie with Arizona at 8-2 in the Pac-12. Conference title could come down to Feb. 28 showdown with Arizona in Utah on Feb. 28.

14 - Baylor: Bears aren’t just on a three-game winning streak, they’re on a three-game rout streaking, wasting Texas by 23, TCU by 20 and West Virginia by 18. Rico Gathers (12.5 rebounds per game) ranks second nationally to Delaware State senior Kendall Gray.

15 - Ohio State: Marc Loving, the nation’s leading three-point shooter (.532) and the Buckeyes only double-figures scorer other than freshman sensation D’Angelo Russell, was suspended indefinitely by the athletic department for an unspecified off-the-court incident. Without Loving, Buckeyes lost to Purdue, 60-58, and Russell (20 points) was only one in double figures.

16 - Oklahoma: Sooners avenged 21-point loss to West Virginia by blasting Mountaineers by 19 and won at TCU by a dozen. Tonight, in what should be one of the more entertaining Big 12 games of season, Sooners visit Iowa State.

17 - Northern Iowa: Three-point shooting percentages of Panthers’ top six scorers: Seth Tuttle (.433), Wes Weshpun (.450), Deon Mitchell (.390), Nate Buss (.429), Matt Bohannon (.389), Paul Jesperson (.438). Leave your man to play help defense at your own peril. UNI has won 11 in a row and only two losses came at VCU in double-overtime and at Evansville.

18 - Wichita State: Ron Baker, the junior guard from Scott City, leads Shockers with 15.9 points and is shooting .415 from three.

19 - Butler: If I see one more TV tease or internet headline that reads: “The Butler Did It,” I’m going to send the butler after whomever wrote it.

20 - Maryland: Lost by 16 at Iowa, which makes it three losses in five games for Turge’s Terps.

21 - Virginia Commonwealth: Rams lost at St. Bonaventure. Perhaps they were distracted. Olean, N.Y. is so beautiful this time of year.

22 - West Virginia: Look for Mountaineers to bounce back from rough week. Lost at Oklahoma, 71-52, and in Morgantown vs. Baylor, 87-69. Mountaineers made just 11 of 49 threes for the week and are shooting .294 from long distance for the season.

23 - Oklahoma State: Michael Cobbins suffered season-ending injury right before conference play last season. Man, does he ever make the Cowboys tougher to score on in the paint. The 6-8 senior plays a lot taller than that and averages 2.2 blocks a game. Love his game.

24 - Arkansas: Bobby Portis, a 6-11 sophomore from Little Rock, averages 17.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and shoots .562 from the field, .529 from three and .739 from the line. In the past four games — three victories and a one-point loss at Florida — he has made 30 of 50 shots and 15 of 17 free throws.

25 - SMU: Recovered from second loss of season to Cincinnati by hitting the road to deal Tulsa its first American Conference loss.

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