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Kansas moves up one spot to No. 8 in Associated Press college basketball poll; Iowa State No. 11

Kansas guard Brannen Greene (14) holds up three fingers after knocking down a three against Kansas State during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Brannen Greene (14) holds up three fingers after knocking down a three against Kansas State during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Kansas was ranked eighth in the Associated Press college basketball poll released today, a one-spot move up the rankings from a week ago.

The Jayhawks are the highest ranked among six Big 12 schools: Iowa State (11), West Virginia (15), Baylor (19), Oklahoma (21) and Texas (25) also made the cut.

The top 25 teams in the AP poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Feb. 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) 21-0 1,625 1
  2. Gonzaga 22-1 1,503 3
  3. Virginia 19-1 1,470 2
  4. Duke 18-3 1,416 4
  5. Wisconsin 19-2 1,381 5
  6. Arizona 20-2 1,338 6
  7. Villanova 19-2 1,209 7
  8. Kansas 18-3 1,177 9
  9. Louisville 18-3 1,114 10
  10. Notre Dame 20-3 1,072 8
  11. Iowa St. 16-4 892 15
  12. North Carolina 17-5 861 13
  13. Utah 17-4 824 11
  14. N. Iowa 20-2 792 18
  15. West Virginia 18-3 779 17
  16. Wichita St. 19-3 678 12
  17. Maryland 18-4 508 16
  18. VCU 17-4 479 14
  19. Baylor 16-5 420 20
  20. Ohio St. 17-5 358 _
  21. Oklahoma 14-7 312 24
  22. Butler 16-6 250 25
  23. SMU 18-4 221 _
  24. Georgetown 15-6 162 21
  25. Texas 14-7 106 19

Others receiving votes: Texas A&M 40, Seton Hall 22, Arkansas 21, Indiana 18, San Diego St. 18, Colorado St. 11, Dayton 9, Tulsa 8, Xavier 8, Stephen F. Austin 5, Providence 3, Stanford 3, Louisiana Tech 2, Murray St. 2, Oklahoma St. 2, Temple 2, Georgia 1, Michigan St. 1, Rhode Island 1, Valparaiso 1.

My AP top 25 ballot:

1 - Kentucky: Nation’s best team hasn’t scored more than 70 points in any of past five games.

2 - Virginia: Cavs made just 3 of 13 three-pointers vs. Duke and didn’t score a fast-break bucket in first loss of season.

3 - Gonzaga: Best Zags team ever has one loss and it came in overtime at Arizona. Three of the five double-figures scorers are 6-foot-10 or taller and the two leading scorers are three-point marksmen: Kyle Wiltjer (.432) and Kevin Pangos (.455).

4 - Duke: Quinn Cook made three of Duke’s five three-pointers in the final 4:38. And after it was over, I saw another ridiculous online headline: “Duke stuns Virginia.” No, once upon a time, Chaminade stunned Virginia. Duke is too good to “stun” anybody. The Blue Devils lost to a really good team (Notre Dame) and defeated the No. 2 school in the nation. They were not involved in an upset.
Best shot of day from a Duke basketball player came from ESPN’s Jay Bilas. After a Virginia student made a half-court heave to win $18,000, Bilas said, “They can pay the students, but they can’t pay the players.” Bilas also was involved in the best highlight of the day. It was from early in his freshman season. Virginia’s Ralph Sampson, who didn’t appear to be all that close to the hoop, stretched out his arm and threw down a one-handed dunk. Sampson’s hand accidentally caught Bilas’ head on the way down, perhaps slapping this thought into Bilas’ head: “Maybe I should study really hard so that I can get into law school.”

5 - Wisconsin: Bo Ryan knows how to find players. Nigel Hayes, a 6-7, 250-pound sophomore forward from Toledo, keeps the heat off Frank Kaminsky with physical play and he’s plenty skilled. Hayes has five consecutive double-figures scoring games and has four double-doubles this season.

6 - Arizona: Pac-12’s dominant program having little trouble tearing through conference. Since losing by two points in Corvallis, Wildcats have won five in a row by an average margin of 23.8 points, including a 57-34 revenge job against Oregon State. Freshman forward Stanley Johnson leads team in scoring, rebounding and turnovers.

7 - Louisville: Not many teams could shoot .338 from the field, .333 from three and .614 from the line and defeat North Carolina, but the Cardinals aren’t like many teams in that they can ugly up a game like nobody else. Guards Terry Rozier and Chris Jones combined for 39 points against the Heels and made 10 of 34 shots from the field. National player of the year candidate Montrezl Harrell was the best player in the game with 22 points and 15 rebounds.

8 - Notre Dame: I didn’t attend either the 77-73 victory against Duke or the 76-72 loss at PIttsburgh, but I’m guessing somebody asked the Irish coach and/or players, “Was this a statement game?” And then when PIttsburgh won at home vs. Notre Dame, I’m guessing the Pittsburgh coach and/or players were asked, “Was this is a statement game?” The only appropriate answer to that silly question is, “No, this was a basketball game.”

9 - Kansas: Good team, fun team, improving team. But No. 1 in the RPI? That tells you all you need to know about the worst computer ranking out there. Still, it’s overused by the NCAA Tournament selection committee. It’s a brilliant scam in which most selection committee members have no clue they are participating. It’s all about the records of teams you play and the record of those teams' opponents. It does not use margin of victory at all. So the key becomes scheduling schools you’re confident you can defeat and are confident they will have a good record. TV loves it because it pressures teams to schedule aggressively in the preseason because that results in quality games for our viewing pleasure and networks' advertising dollars. Anyway, Kansas has become a much tougher team to play, in part because Brannen Greene can’t miss. In his past four games, Greene is 10 for 13 from three. For the season, Greene has made 50 percent from three and 92 percent from the line.

10 - Villanova: ’Cats have chance to avenge 20-point loss when Georgetown visits Saturday.

11 - North Carolina: I don’t want to say Marcus Paige is having similar season to a year ago, but here are some statistical comparisons with his junior year ranked first, sophomore second: Three-point percentage (.390, .389), three-pointers made (2.5, 2.5), assists (4.2, 4.2), blocks (0.2, 0.2), steals (1.4, 1.5), turnovers (2.1, 2.1).

12 - Iowa State: Sophomore point guard Monte Morris has 5.14 assists-to-turnover ratio and shoots .575 from inside the arc. He and KU’s Frank Mason both palyed well in Ames, which adds juice to tonight’s matchup.

13 -Utah: This is how old I am: When I was a kid, losing to UCLA wasn’t a cause for embarrassment. Utes got well against USC, limiting Trojans to 12 first-half points.

14 - West Virginia: When Bob Huggins has a bunch of players willing to do it his way, the result is a beautiful ugliness, not unlike his wardrobe. It’s beautiful that he feels comfortable dressing down and it’s beautiful to watch his team dress down opponents by forcing turnovers on 31.2 percent of their possessions (per kenpom.com), No. 1 in the nation. Calling to mind his great Cincinnati teams, the Mountaineers’ best offense is a missed shot. They rebound 40.9 percent of misses, seventh best in the nation.

15 - Ohio State: Whatever owner has the second pick in the NBA draft should invite Donald Trump to the festivities in the event the owner’s general manager does not select D’Angelo Russell. Imagine the theatric value of Trump firing a GM on live TV. In his past eight games, Russell’s averaging 22.9 points and making 48 percent of his threes (28 of 58). First pick, instead of Duke's Jahlil Okafor, is not out of the question. Russell, a 6-5 freshman guard from Louisville, went for 18 points, 14 rebounds and six assissts in 24-point victory vs. Maryland, which left Marc Loving alone way too often.

16 - Maryland: Starting guards Damonte Dodd and Melo Trimble combined for three points, 0 for 9 shooting, one assist and three turnovers in 40 minutes in Columbus.

17 - Oklahoma: It gets late early with the top 25 these days. Sooners have lost seven games. They have three games in next seven days, starting Tuesday, and two of them are home games vs. ranked teams West Virginia and Iowa State. Big chance for them to show what they’ve got.

18 - Georgetown: Heard Ron Thompson, brother of Hoyas coach John Thompson III, call a game as analyst for the first time over the weekend. Exceptional. Also heard Nick Bahe, former KU walk-on/Creighton scholarship player. Also outstanding. Nothing forced and very good basketball insights from both voices.

19 - Baylor: Bears rebound own misses at nation-leading .433 clip and they start three serious three-point threats in Royce O’Neale (.424), Kenny Cherry (.405) and and Lester Medford (.388) and bring one off the bench, leading scoreer Taurean Prince (405). If they can figure out how to clean up turnovers, they could make a nice NCAA Tournament run.

20 - Virginia Commonwealth: Made just 3 of 20 three-pointers in nine-point loss to Richmond and was outscored by 15 points in second half.

21 - Northern Iowa: Panthers used a 21-3 run late in the first half to carry them to 70-54 blitzing of Wichita State in Cedar Falls. UNI has nine-game winning streak.

22 - Wichita State: When Northern Iowa visits Koch Arena on Feb. 28, might Gregg Marshall remind the Shockers of what Seth Tuttle said after producing career-high 29 points and seven rebounds on them? Marshall might. Tuttle: “We really didn’t talk about beating them by one or two. We talked about coming in here and beating them by 15. That was our mindset.” The loss ended Shockers 27-game regular-season winning streak.

23 - SMU: Larry Brown’s team has won 16 of its last 17 games. Huge week for Mustangs. Cincinnati visits Thursday and then it’s on the road to Tulsa (undefeated in American Conference play) for Saturday game.

24 - Butler: Week featured 20-point blowout of talented Seton Hall and coming back from a 10-point deficit in the final 4:21 of regulation to win in overtime at Marquette.

25 - Texas A&M: Quietly, Aggies residing in second place in SEC and riding six-game winning streak. If they had managed to win double-overtime game vs. Kentucky, they would share first place with the nation’s No. 1 team.

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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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One voter’s Hall of Fame ballot

Hall of Fame pitcher Walter “The Big Train” Johnson was born in Humboldt, roughly 90 miles south of Lawrence and that’s about as close as the Kansas University baseball program has come to Cooperstown.

One day, a KU baseball player will get drafted, work his way swiftly through the minor leagues, develop into a perennial All-Star and thousands of Kansans will sit on the lawn in Cooperstown and take in his induction ceremony.

That day could be a long way off, so for now we’ll look at the candidates to gain induction today at 1 p.m. Below is my ballot, No. 608. But first consider how I weigh steroids.

It strikes me as silly to ignore that Barry Bonds was a Hall of Fame ballplayer before his muscles swelled to the size of his ego. He had Hall of Fame written all over him before he started to break rules that weren’t enforced when he was breaking him. The rules were in the books starting in 1991, but testing didn’t take root until 2003. Bonds gets my vote every year.

It strikes me as equally silly to ignore that Sammy Sosa didn’t perform like a Hall of Famer before and after he looked like a body builder. When he looked like a baseball player he was a good one, but not a great one. Sosa never will get my vote.

Keeping a cheater out of Cooperstown, even if he was worthy of induction before cheating isn’t fair to a ballplayer who was doing what more than half of his competitors did. Allowing a cheater into Cooperstown, even though he wouldn’t have reached there without cheating, isn’t fair to the guys who got there based on credentials, not chemistry.

How do I know who cheated? I don’t, in most cases, so I guess, based on off-the-record conversations I had with players, managers, coaches, front-office officials whose opinions I trusted. A Hall of Fame election is a court of public opinion, not a court of law, so “proof” of ballplayers using performance enhancing drugs is not the issue.
I vote with my conscience at the moment I’m voting, same as any election in which I participate.
I voted for the maxium 10 this year. Five players — Bonds, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez and Mike Piazza — required no thought. John Smoltz, Mike Mussina, Mark McGwire, Don Mattingly and Craig Biggio, in that order, rounded out my ballot, which didn’t quite have room for Tim Raines.

My guess as to which players will gain the required 75 percent of the votes to gain induction, from highest to lowest: Big Unit, Pedro, Smoltz and Biggio. Piazza inches closer but falls just short.

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Kansas moves up one spot to No. 12 in Associated Press college basketball poll

Kansas State head coach Frank Martin yells at KSU guard Chris Merrieweather for his defensive play during the second half Thursday, March 18, 2010 at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City.

Kansas State head coach Frank Martin yells at KSU guard Chris Merrieweather for his defensive play during the second half Thursday, March 18, 2010 at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City. by Nick Krug

Six Big 12 teams rank from No. 10 (Texas) through No. 21 (Baylor) in the Associated Press college basketball poll released Monday, an indication of just what an entertaining race awaits. Kansas is second among Big 12 schools at No. 12.

The top 25 teams in the AP college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Jan. 4, 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) 13-0 1,600 1
2 - Duke 13-0 1,535 2
3 - Virginia 13-0 1,446 3
4 - Wisconsin 14-1 1,397 4
5. Louisville 13-1 1,322 5
6. Gonzaga 14-1 1,275 7
7. Arizona 13-1 1,260 8
8 -Villanova 13-1 1,089 6
9 - Utah 12-2 1,059 10
10 - Texas 12-2 976 11
11 - Maryland 14-1 966 12
12 - Kansas 11-2 884 13
13 - Notre Dame 14-1 775 14
14 - West Virginia 13-1 712 17
15 - Wichita St. 12-2 686 16
16 - Oklahoma 10-3 674 18
17 - Iowa St. 10-2 663 9
18 - North Carolina 11-3 591 19
19 - Seton Hall 12-2 448
20 - VCU 11-3 311

21 - Baylor 11-2 186 22
22 - Ohio St. 12-3 184 20
23 - Arkansas 11-2 103
24 - St. John’s 11-3 92 15
25 - Old Dominion 12-1 80

Others receiving votes: N. Iowa 72, Iowa 63, Butler 53, LSU 50, George Washington 39, TCU 33, Temple 33, Colorado St. 31, Stanford 29, South Carolina 16, Washington 13, Wyoming 11, Indiana 9, Oklahoma St. 9, Georgetown 7, Cincinnati 6, Dayton 5, BYU 3, Xavier 2, Davidson 1, Hofstra 1.

My AP top 25 ballot:

1 - Kentucky: It’s conceivable Kentucky could run the table and not have a single double-figures scorer. Aaron Harrison (10.3 points per game) and Willie Cauley-Stein only Wildcats scoring in double figures.

2 - Duke: Holy cow is freshman Justise Winslow fast with the ball for a guy who’s 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds. Lefty has a nice three-point stroke (39 percent) too.

3 - Virginia: When pressure reaches a boiling point at your job, channel Virginia junior Justin Anderson. Helped his team overcome four-point deficit in final 20 seconds of regulation, when he made all three free throws after getting fouled launching a long one and then drilled a three with 15 seconds left for the final points of regulation. That shot equaled his three-point production from a year ago, when he was 30 for 101. This season, he’s 30 for 51.

4 - Wisconsin: Nice line for Badgers senior 7-footer Frank Kaminsky in rout of Northwestern: 16 points, 10 rebounds, six assists.

5 - Louisville: Montrezl Harrell showed again why he’s an All-American, dropping his sixth double-double of season (25 points, 13 rebounds) on Wake Forest. But he could be an even better player if he swore off shooting threes. He made 3 of 4 in the season-opener against Minnesota and 2 of 3 vs. Wake Forest. But in every other game combined he has made 1 of 17 three-pointers.

6 - Arizona: Mobile guys with size tend to make good defenders and Arizona has plenty of those. In Pac-12 opener, a blowout of Arizona State, the Sun Devils had 22 turnovers and just 14 field goals.

7 - Gonzaga: Three starters can get hot from three: Kevin Pangos (.462), Kyle Wiltjer (.411), Gary Bell (.407).

8 - Maryland: Dez Wells isn’t one of those guys who disappears on the court. His stamp is all over the box score with good numbers and bad. In a huge double-overtime victory at Michigan State in the Terps’ Big Ten opener, Wells had 16 points, seven rebounds, five assists and seven turnovers.

9 - Villanova: Coach Jay Wright’s 300th victory for the Philadelphia school was delayed because the Wildcats kept firing up bricks in overtime loss to Seton Hall, shooting .310 overall, 208 from three and .571 from the line.

10 - Utah: Utes humiliated UCLA 71-39 Sunday night in Salt Lake City. Utes defended so well that Bruins starting guards Bryce Alford, the coach’s son, and Isaac Hamilton combined to shoot 1 for 17 from the field, 0 for 7 from three, didn’t attempt a free throw and scored two points in 61 minutes.

11 - Texas: Point guard Isaiah Taylor is back from a wrist injury, but is his wrist all the way back? In Big 12 opener against Texas Tech, Taylor made 2 of 10 shots, scored eight points, had two assists and six turnovers. He had more of an impact defensively, picking up four steals.

12 - North Carolina: Heels will try to push winning streak to six games today at 6 p.m. on ESPN against Notre Dame, winner of 10 in a row.

13 - Kansas: Kelly Oubre averaging 16 points and 8.5 rebounds in past four games with two double-doubles.

14 - Iowa State: Really good defense doesn’t always beat a really good offense, but it did Saturday at the Barclays Center when the Cyclones lost to South Carolina, 64-60. A team that relies on threes as much as Iowa State does is going to have off nights. Cyclones made just 1 of 18 from three.

15 - Oklahoma: Big Monday matchup today at 8 p.m. at Texas shapes up as potential thriller between schools that used to be better at football than basketball.

16 - Notre Dame: Jerian Grant (17.9 points, 6.2 assists) and North Carolina’s Marcus Paige (13.7 points, 3.7 assists), two of the nations better guards, makes for entertaining possibilities in tonight’s game.

17 - West Virginia: Leading Big 12 player of the year candidate Juwan Staten missed the game with an illness and the Mountaineers still went on the road and handed TCU its first loss, 78-67. Guard Gary Browne scored all 16 of his points in the final 11 minutes.

18 - Wichita State: Junior Ron Baker making 40 percent of his threes and averaging 17.1 points.

19 - VCU: Rams riding six-game winning streak and two of the three losses came to highly ranked Villanova and Virginia, so I’m thinking they’re underrated.

20 - Seton Hall: Huge four-day span featured upset victories against St. John’s and Villanova, a pair of top 15 teams. Junior guard Sterling Gibbs averaged 22.5 points, six assists and 1.5 turnovers in the two big victories that established the Pirates as a bona fide contender in the deep, underrated Big East.

21 - Temple: Once upon a time, in the land of the free and the home of the brave, P.R. stood for public relations. Now too often those in the profession take the initials to mean prevention of reporting. And then there is Larry Dougherty, senior associate athletics director/communications at Temple. Dougherty served his employer and AP voters well by distributing the following information under the heading, “Temple Transformation Through Transfers”: Since transfers Jesse Morgan (UMass) and Devin Coleman (Clemson) joined the lineup the Owls are 5-0 with victories against Kansas and at UConn and have averaged 9.6 three-pointers made, compared to 4.5 before the players joined them. Scoring margin has improved from minus-0.6 to plus-13.2 and turnovers are down from 11.0 to 8.6. You never want to lose by 25 points, as Kansas did to the Owls, but it clearly was a top-25-worthy team that did it.

22 - Ohio State: Buckeyes don’t have firepower to overcome big hafltime deficits. In their three losses, they trailed Louisville by 17, North Carolina and Iowa by a dozen. The good news: Hardly anybody noticed because the school plays Oregon for the national title in football.

23 - Baylor: Bears lost to Oklahoma by 10, but Rico Gathers was there doing what he almost always does, which is dominate the boards. He reached double figures in rebounds for the 11th time in 13 games.

24 - Xavier: Muskateers looked so big and explosive in taking down Georgetown by 17 points, only to lose on the road by three points against DePaul.

25 - South Carolina: The Gamecocks have embraced the reality that it’s easier to defend great scorers than it is to defend themselves against the menacing glare of their coach, former Kansas State boss Frank Martin. South Carolina held Iowa State to .259 shooting and limited hot-shot transfer Bryce Dejean-Jones to three points, a dozen below his average to score the school’s first victory over a top 10 team in five years. The Gamecocks have won seven in a row.

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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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College hoops world reacts to Temple thrashing KU

When a program with brand-name recognition like Kansas loses a game, it registers throughout the college hoops landscape. When one of the blue bloods gets blown out, that attention reaches another level.

The Jayhawks (currently ranked No. 10) experienced an unbelievably bad night Monday in Philadelphia, where Temple looked the part of the powerhouse program in a 77-52 drubbing.

Here is a look at some of the reactions to the surprising beatdown.

None by Jeff Eisenberg

None by Jeff Eisenberg

None by Jeff Goodman

Even if people weren’t watching the game, the score grabbed their attention.

None by Dick Vitale

None by Dick Vitale

The loss reminded Fran Fraschilla of another not-so-great KU trip to The City of Brotherly Love.

None by Fran Fraschilla

What better place to get reaction to Monday’s game than RushTheCourt.net? The Temple fans, after all, did celebrate the win right there on the floor when the final buzzer sounded.

Temple fans run onto the court following the Jayhawk's 77-52 loss to the Owls Monday.

Temple fans run onto the court following the Jayhawk's 77-52 loss to the Owls Monday.

None by Rush the Court

RTC’s Brian Goodman had three thoughts on the shellacking:

  1. “When the Jayhawks get the bad Perry Ellis, the wheels come off quickly.”

  2. “There was more to it than Temple just getting hot.”

  3. “It’s taking longer than many thought it would for Bill Self to settle on a frontcourt rotation.”

While the lopsided score left some questioning the Jayhawks’ toughness…

None by w.vod

… others maintained KU is still a solid team which has played a serious non-conference schedule.

None by KPI Sports

None by Gary Parrish

None by Jeff Goodman

None by Gary Parrish

In fact, CBSsports.com’s Gary Parrish still thinks KU ranks among the nation’s top teams.

None by Gary Parrish

In Parrish’s rankings, which he updates daily, he only moved Kansas down to No. 15 (the day before he had KU ninth). Right now, the national writer has two Big 12 teams ahead of the Jayhawks: Texas (ninth) and Oklahoma (14th).

What can be learned from such a game?

None by Myron Medcalf

Seth Davis, of SI.com and CBS, thought Temple looks vastly better with its new lineup. (Not that he thought KU looked remotely good.)

None by Seth Davis

None by Seth Davis

And ESPN.com’s Eamonn Brennan wonders if the Temple loss even means anything for Kansas in the grand scheme of the entire season.

None by Eamonn Brennan

Still, he couldn’t overlook some bad tendencies that showed up in Philadelphia.

None by Eamonn Brennan

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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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Nigel King’s circus catch vs. TCU up for national play of the year

Nick Krug's images from Nigel King's circus touchdown reception vs. TCU during the 2014 KU football season.

Nick Krug's images from Nigel King's circus touchdown reception vs. TCU during the 2014 KU football season. by Matt Tait

Although there are still plenty of meaningful college football games to be played this season, we've reached the time of the year where awards are handed out pretty much every day and some of the top players, plays and moments from the past season come roaring back.

Over at ESPN.com, the college football nation crew has broken the entire 2014 season into four crazy plays and, believe it or not, your Kansas Jayhawks are represented.

Junior receiver Nigel King's circus catch and touchdown against TCU is one of four plays up for ESPN.com's #PlayOfTheYear and fans are encouraged to vote by Tweeting #PlayOfTheYear Kansas on their Twitter accounts during the next several hours.

The play that receives the most Tweets will be announced during Thursday's Home Depot College Football Awards Show, which airs at 6 p.m. tonight on ESPN.

For those of you who would like to make sure King's wild catch is worthy of the vote, here's a look at the four finalists for this year's best play.

For those of you who don't really care what else is nominated and would just like to see the Jayhawks win something, remember to cast your vote via Twitter by simply sending a Tweet with the words "PlayOfTheYear Kansas" in it and check in with the awards show later tonight to see if King's catch wins.

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25 years ago today, KU basketball beat Kentucky, 150-95

KU players gather on the court during KU's 150-95 blowout of Rick Pitino's Kentucky Wildcats in December, 1989. From left are Pekka Markkanen, Freeman West, Kevin Prichard and Jeff Gueldner. Seven KU players scored in double figures.

KU players gather on the court during KU's 150-95 blowout of Rick Pitino's Kentucky Wildcats in December, 1989. From left are Pekka Markkanen, Freeman West, Kevin Prichard and Jeff Gueldner. Seven KU players scored in double figures.

On Dec. 9, 1989, Kansas handed Kentucky its worst loss in program history, 150-95.

25 years later, it's still hard to believe ...

  • 150 points in a game (current KU record)
  • 80 points in the first half (current KU record)
  • 70 points in the second half
  • 53 rebounds
  • 52 field goals made (current KU record)
  • 36 assists (current KU record)
  • 36 free throws made
  • 10 three-pointers
  • And six players with at least 16 points

... all against one of the top programs in college basketball history.

Box score from the Kansas-Kentucky game, Dec. 9, 1989, at Allen Fieldhouse.

Box score from the Kansas-Kentucky game, Dec. 9, 1989, at Allen Fieldhouse.

Here's part of the post-game coverage from longtime Journal-World beat writer Gary Bedore:

Rick Pitino sure didn't act like a coach who had been left twisting in the wind.

Yet Adolph Rupp, the legendary Baron of the Bluegrass, the man who turned college basketball into a religion in Kentucky, may have been twisting in his grave.

"I'm not concerned about the score," Pitino said after Kansas besmirched bluegrass basketball with an astonishing 150-95 victory on Saturday afternoon in Allen Fieldhouse.

"We could have slowed down," added Pitino, who left the New York Knicks to take over Kentucky's probation-riddled program this season, "but we can't get anything out of that. It's very, very embarrassing, but if you hang your heads that'll happen. And until we get some bigger bodies, it'll happen again."

It was the most lopsided loss in the history of Kentucky's tradition-rich program. City College of New York, a school that has long since dropped basketball, clubbed the Wildcats, 89-39, in the NIT back in 1950.

Too, the 150 points were the most a Kentucky team had surrendered in 1,945 games. . .or ever since the school started its program back in 1903. The previous high was 116 and that was in a 118-116 win over Northwestern back in 1966.

Did Pitino think Kansas coach Roy Williams tried to run up the score?

"I believe they weren't trying to hurt anyone," he said. "They were just passing the ball and scoring. They just drilled us."

The blowout inspired plenty of great quotes, including this one that brings to mind Bill Self's more recent "Topeka YMCA" comments:

"I didn't think we could score 80 in a half against St. Mary's of the Western Plains. I didn't think we could do it against a high school," said KU guard Kevin Pritchard.

More coverage from the immediate aftermath:

Also, be sure to check out various retrospectives from the past 25 years:

Or, if you have some time to kill, watch the historic game in its entirety.

Happy December 9th, Jayhawk fans.

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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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Watch David Beaty’s first press conference as KU football coach

David Beaty steps up to the mic today for his first press conference as Kansas University's head football coach.

Watch here:


Follow along with KUsports.com's Matt Tait and Benton Smith:

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More coverage of Beaty's hire:

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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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It smells like a skunking on the way for Big 12

Baylor running back Shock Linwood leaps over the pile toward the end zone for a touchdown during the first quarter at McLane Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014 in Waco, Texas.

Baylor running back Shock Linwood leaps over the pile toward the end zone for a touchdown during the first quarter at McLane Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014 in Waco, Texas. by Nick Krug

Florida State beat every team it played and nobody else can say that.

Under normal circumstances, that ought to be enough to keep playing for a national title. But with a six-team logjam with only four national-playoff spots available, it’s time for the selection committee members to toss out all conventional thinking and vote based on one parameter.

Each member needs to ask herself or himself: Which four teams are the best in the nation?

Based on that, here’s how I would vote:

1. Ohio State: Nobody had a more impressive victory this season than the Buckeyes’ 59-0 domination of a good Wisconsin team that features the nation’s best running back, Melvin Gordon. And the Buckeyes did it with their third-string quarterback.

Heisman hopeful Braxton Miller lost his entire season to injury. J.T. Barrett played his way into Heisman contention before going down with an injury. Cardale Jones led the Buckeyes to the Saturday night romp of the Badgers.

2. Oregon: Leading Heisman candidate Marcus Mariota (38 touchdown passes, two interceptions) passed for 300-plus yards for the seventh time in Friday’s 51-13 blasting of No. 7 Arizona. Nobody has more speed than the Ducks.

3. Alabama: The Crimson Tide defense is second to none.

4. Baylor: The Bears defeated TCU, always the best tie-breaker.

Florida State didn’t lose a game but probably would have lost a couple if it played in the SEC or Big 12.

Those are my four best teams in the nation and that’s how I would vote. That’s not how I think the committee will vote. The six teams are so close, so let the screaming about the need to expand the field to eight begin.

Best guess on how the committee will seed the first playoff: 1. Alabama, 2. Oregon, 3. Florida State, 4. Ohio State. Nick Saban and Urban Meyer coaching in one semifinal, last season’s Heisman Trophy winner, Jameis Winston going against Mariota, this season’s Heisman favorite in the other semi.

No matter what the committee decides, two schools will be furious and will have plenty to back up their feelings. If this were an eight-team playoff, two schools would feel fortunate to join the six college football teams that stand at the front of the class. This season's outrage will make the eight-team format arrive sooner even than no doubt secretly planned, which is why I'm happy two schools' fan bases will be furious starting today and ending maybe never.

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Sheahon Zenger’s first choice, David Beaty, expected to woo Texas talent

Many across the country might have asked, “Who is David Beaty?” upon learning that Kansas has identified him as its first choice to become next football coach at a school coming off its worst five-year record in history.

High school football coaches in talent-rich Texas need not ask the same. That is the No. 1 reason why KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger chose the Texas A&M recruiting coordinator/wide receivers coach to lead the program.

Zenger is gambling that Beaty, who has just one year of college experience as offensive coordinator, can woo Texas talent to Lawrence better than any KU coach ever has. Beaty, 44, is a 1994 graduate of Lindenwood College in St. Charles, Mo., where he led the team in receptions for three consecutive seasons.

He played football and soccer at Garland (Texas) High, so maybe he can finally recruit a placekicker he can trust in games.

He first became a head coach at North Dallas High in 2001, where he finished with a 6-4 record. From there, he went to MacArthur High (2002-05), where he went 33-11 in four seasons as head coach.

Next up was the first of two stints at Rice, where he was wide receivers coach in 2006 and 2007.

Beaty joined Mark Mangino’s staff at Kansas for the 2008 and 2009 seasons as wide receivers coach. Turner Gill did not retain him, but brought him back to KU a year later, after Gill’s first wide receivers coach left for Texas.

Beaty wasn’t out of work for long and was brought back to Rice as OC in 2010, when the Owls finished 52nd in the nation with 28.7 points per game, 64th in total offense with 374 yards per game and 64th with 215.9 passing yards per game. He left for Texas A&M after one season. Beaty has a reputation for being good with generous boosters and fans in general. He and wife, Raynee, have two daughters, Averie and Alexa.

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Mykhailiuk touted as Jayhawks’ ‘best longterm prospect’

Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) pulls up for a three during the first half on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014 at the HP Field House in Kissimmee, Florida.

Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) pulls up for a three during the first half on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014 at the HP Field House in Kissimmee, Florida. by Nick Krug

By now, you know all about Kansas University freshman Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk.

He’s from Ukraine. His name is hard to pronounce. He is just 17. He can hoop.

Don’t think this knowledge — especially the last two bits of information — has slipped past NBA scouts.

In a Gary Parrish column for CBSsports.com, he introduces the college basketball nation to the up-and-coming freshman known in Lawrence as “Svi.”

Parrish also reveals he talked with multiple NBA scouts this past weekend at the Orlando Classic, and they touted the 6-foot-8 wing from Cherkasy, Ukraine as "the best longterm prospect" on KU’s roster right now.

(Keep in mind ESPN’s Chad Ford has fellow Kansas freshmen Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre ranked 12th and 13th respectively in his latest 2015 NBA Draft big board — updated on Tuesday.)

At least one NBA executive told Parrish he wasn’t too concerned about Mykhailiuk’s three-point production — 7-for-24 from deep through six games —either.

"But did you see him in warmups?" asked one NBA executive. "Didn't miss in warmups."

Mock drafts (especially ones put out more than a year in advance) don’t mean too much. But DraftExpress.com already has the Ukrainian freshman as the 14th-rated prospect for the 2016 NBA Draft.

That, of course, is the good news for Kansas coach Bill Self. Even if NBA decision-makers would love to snatch the intriguing young wing up this coming summer, he won’t be old enough to be eligible for the draft for another year.

So pro scouts and executives have plenty of time to salivate over Mykhailiuk’s skills. Or fall out of love with him.

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