Tag:Kansas
Posted on: February 19, 2011 5:30 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2011 5:49 pm
 

The top 10 is stacking losses, one after another

It started last Saturday when Ohio State fell at Wisconsin. Then Kansas lost at Kansas State on Monday. Then Georgetown lost at Connecticut on Wednesday while Wisconsin lost at Purdue. And then, on Saturday, Pittsburgh lost at St. John's, Notre Dame lost at West Virginia and Texas lost at Nebraska, meaning we've seen the schools ranked first, second, third, fourth, eighth, ninth and 10th in the latest AP poll lose over the past eight days.

Four of those losses were to unranked teams.

All of them were on the road.

So, more than anything, this stretch is a reminder that winning road games is difficult without exception. But it also highlights how vulnerable even the so-called best of the best are this season, and it should make for an interesting NCAA tournament because the top seeds aren't going to seem invincible. Assuming it's true that believing you can win is the first hurdle an underdog must jump, let's go ahead and acknowledge that the eight and nine seeds will have more realistic dreams than usual of the second weekend because they're going to see the one seeds as beatable.

Take the schools projected as one seeds now, for instance.

The Pittsburgh Panthers? They've lost to two currently unranked teams. The Texas Longhorns? They've lost to two currently unranked teams. The Kansas Jayhawks? They've lost to a currently unranked team. The Ohio State Buckeyes? Well, they haven't lost to any currently unranked teams. But they have played one-possession games with three currently unranked teams (Penn State, Northwestern and Minnesota), and that alone suggests they're capable of losing to almost anybody even if they beat almost everybody.

In other words, who's scary good?

Who scares you?

Though neither Kansas nor Kentucky made the Final Four last season, both were intimidating outfits heading into March Madness. Nobody wanted any part of those rosters, and it was a major surprise when the Jayhawks and Wildcats were eliminated early. This March nothing will be a surprise. Any of the one seeds could make the Final Four or lose in the opening weekend. Granted, the former is more likely than the latter. But I've seen enough so-called elite teams lose over the past week to know nothing is guaranteed.
Posted on: February 15, 2011 8:33 am
Edited on: February 15, 2011 8:42 am
 

And my new top four would be ...

1. Ohio State
2. Pittsburgh
3. Texas
4. Kansas
 
So, yes, it would be exactly the same as the top four from the latest Top 25 (and one) that was published Sunday night, i.e., roughly 24 hours before Kansas State ran Kansas off the court and cruised to an 84-68 victory at Bramlage Coliseum. Why no change? Because I think the gap between my No. 4 (Kansas) and my No. 5 (Notre Dame) was too wide for one KU loss on the road to a rival to completely close it. In other words, I would leave Kansas No. 4 after this loss at KSU for the same reason I left Ohio State No. 1 after that loss at Wisconsin, because the Jayhawks' body of work suggests that remains where they ought to be positioned.

Kansas is still 6-2 against Top 50 RPI teams with no losses outside of the Top 35.

My No. 5, Notre Dame, is 7-3 against Top 50 RPI teams with one loss outside of the Top 35.

(Most people's No. 5, Duke, is 6-2 against Top 50 RPI teams with one loss outside of the Top 35.)

Is it close and debatable?

Sure.

But if the NCAA tournament started today, I'd still have KU as a No. 1 seed along with Ohio State, Pittsburgh and Texas. Notre Dame, San Diego State, Duke and BYU would be my No. 2 seeds. Georgetown, Wisconsin, Connecticut and Villanova would be my No. 3 seeds, and Florida, Louisville, Purdue and Vanderbilt would be my No. 4 seeds.
Posted on: February 12, 2011 9:23 pm
Edited on: February 12, 2011 9:45 pm
 

OSU will stay No. 1 in the Top 25 (and one)

MADISON, Wis. -- Kansas will likely be No. 1 when the AP and Coaches polls update Monday.

If not Kansas, then Texas (especially if Matt Norlander has his way).

It'll be one or the other, and I can almost guarantee it because voters in those polls typically move winners up and losers down regardless of the details. So get ready for a new No. 1, but the top of my Top 25 (and one) will remain the same. I'm not dropping Ohio State even after Saturday's 71-67 loss at Wisconsin because, I mean, who wouldn't -- and doesn't -- lose at Wisconsin? If we're gonna start punishing teams for that, we might as well start punishing teams for wearing baggy shorts. Or chest-bumping. Or doing all the things all college teams do -- like lose at Wisconsin.

Beyond that, I still think Ohio State has the nation's best body of work.

The Buckeyes are 24-1 with wins over three teams ranked in the top 30 of the AP poll (No. 14 Purdue, No. 17 Florida and No. 26 Minnesota), and the only loss came by four points at No. 13 Wisconsin -- a place where the Badgers have won 35 of their past 36 games, a place where last season's national champion Duke Blue Devils also lost. Meantime, Kansas is 24-1 with just two wins over teams ranked in the AP top 30 (No. 15 Arizona and No. 19 Missouri), and the Jayhawks one loss is a nine-point loss at home to No. 3 Texas.

Road loss to Wisconsin > Home loss to Texas

Thus ...

OSU's resume > KU's resume

As for Texas, well, the Longhorns (22-3) have better wins than Ohio State and Kansas.

That's undeniable.

But they also have three losses -- one on a neutral court to No. 4 Pittsburgh, one at home to No. 10 Connecticut and one on the road (by 17 points) to unranked Southern California -- and I don't think you can just disregard that, and I don't believe the big wins are enough to cancel out the three losses. Reasonable minds can disagree, of course. But that's my mindset. So while I would definitely have Texas ahead of Kansas (remember, Texas won at Kansas), I can't bring myself to jump Texas ahead of Ohio State -- not when it would be based on little more than Ohio State's final-minute loss at a place where visitors almost never win.

Anyway, that's why I'm keeping OSU No. 1.

I'll figure out the rest of the rankings late Sunday.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 7, 2011 11:53 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2011 12:10 am
 

That's what a No. 1 seed looks like

Did you see that Monday night?

Did you see what Kansas did to Missouri and what Pittsburgh did to West Virginia? I hope you did. Because if you did you'll understand why both schools are probably headed toward No. 1 seeds in next month's NCAA tournament, and why both programs are basketball powers that won't disappear as long as Jamie Dixon and Bil Self are in charge.

Kansas beat Missouri even though its top prospect, Josh Selby, is sidelined with a foot injury.

Pittsburgh won at West Virginia even though its leading scorer, Ashton Gibbs, is sidelined with an MCL injury.

A team playing without a key player typically struggles, at least against a quality opponent (and especially on the road). But the No. 2 Jayhawks looked unbelievably sharp in a 103-86 win over No. 19 Missouri, and the No. 4 Panthers were just as tough as ever -- and way tougher than the Mountaineers -- in a 71-66 win at No. 25 West Virginia. It was impressive stuff and a testament to Self and Dixon's ability to plug reserves (like Mario Little) into key roles and continue without really missing a step.

No Selby?

No problem.

No Gibbs?

No problem.

Kansas and Pittsburgh both turned in the type of performances that enhance the opinions of believers and convert any remaining skeptics. More important, they each added another quality win to their bodies of work -- the type of quality win that figures to help them earn No. 1 seeds on Selection Sunday.
Posted on: February 7, 2011 1:43 pm
 

Duke lands another elite recruit

Alex Murphy ended his recruitment Monday when he committed to Mike Krzyzewski's Duke Blue Devils.

"The whole process was fun, but, like everybody says, when you get it off your chest ... it’s just nice to know everything is set in stone," Murphy told Scout.com. "Like I said, it just feels good."

Murphy -- the younger brother of Florida's Erik Murphy -- is a standout in the Class of 2012, though it's possible he could graduate early and enroll at Duke in time for next season. The 6-foot-8 forward from Massachusetts told Scout.com that decision will be made later.

"I’m going to focus on my high school season and finish it out strong and hopefully win a championship," Murphy said. "The 2011 and 2012 thing will be something discussed with my family sometime in the spring and after the season."

Scout.com and Rivals.com both rank Murphy as the No. 11 prospect in the Class of 2012.

He accepted an offer from Duke while rejecting offers from Florida, North Carolina, Kansas and many others.
Posted on: January 27, 2011 4:51 pm
 

I've seen a lot of good basketball teams already

Just landed back home after a two-day trip for Kansas-Colorado and San Diego State-BYU.

I saw two nice games and three top 10 teams.

It got me thinking: Are there any relevant teams I haven't seen in person this season?

Answer: Yes.

(But not many.)

Turns out I've seen 15 of the top 20 teams in the latest AP Top 25 poll. The only exceptions are Connecticut , Texas, Villanova, Minnesota and Washington, which makes me wish I would've gone to last month's game between the Longhorns and Huskies in Austin. Live and learn, right? Anyway, what my eyeballs tell me is that you'd be wise to start any Final Four picks with Ohio State and Kansas, and probably Duke too (especially if Kyrie Irving returns before the NCAA tournament). After that, who knows? A fourth possibility could be Texas, Kentucky, Pittsburgh or either of the teams (SDSU and BYU) I watched late Monday. For now, though, I'd go with a Final Four like this:
  • Ohio State
  • Kansas
  • Duke
  • Kentucky
----- THE LATEST AP TOP 20 -----

(Bolded teams are teams I've seen in person this season.)

1.Ohio State
2. Pittsburgh

3. Duke
4. San Diego State
5. Connecticut
6. Kansas
7. Texas
8. Villanova
9. Brigham Young
10. Syracuse
11. Missouri
12. Purdue
13. Texas A&M
14. Kentucky
15. Notre Dame
16. Minnesota
17. Wisconsin
18. Washington
19. Vanderbilt
20. Illinois

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 22, 2011 10:22 am
Edited on: January 22, 2011 7:37 pm
 

I'm in Illinois for OSU-Illini

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- I'm at Illinois for today's game against Ohio State. It's the first of three games over the next five days during which I'll see all three remaining unbeatens in person in road games against formidable opponents.

My schedule looks like this:
  • No. 1 Ohio State (19-0) at No. 23 Illinois (14-5) on Saturday
  • No. 2 Kansas (18-0) at Colorado (14-5) on Tuesday
  • No. 6 San Diego State (20-0) at No. 9 BYU (18-1) on Wednesday
Ohio State is supposed to win 70-67 this afternoon, Kansas is supposed to win 83-71 on Tuesday and BYU is supposed to win 74-69 on Wednesday, according to KenPom.com. That means that site has the unbeatens going 2-1, which means, statistically speaking, I'm probably going to see at least one court-storming during my trip. Maybe more. Either way, should be fun. And with that, I'm heading over to Assembly Hall.
Posted on: December 16, 2010 12:02 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2010 12:21 pm
 

KU's Little arrested, then suspended from team

Kansas basketball player Mario Little was arrested early Thursday and booked on charges of criminal trespass, criminal damage to property and battery. Coach Bill Self has subsequently suspended him from the team.

"Mario remains a member of our team while we work through this process, but we have suspended him indefinitely from competition while we gather the facts of this incident," Self said. "Mario exercised very poor judgment in his handling of a situation. We’re disappointed in his behavior; it’s unfortunate that our university, our program and his teammates all have to deal with this negative issue."

 Little also issued a statement.

"I feel awful, and I understand that I will have to deal with the consequences of my actions," Little said. "I accept responsibility for those actions, and I apologize to my teammates for being irresponsible."

Little is averaging 6.2 points and 3.7 rebounds this season.

The Jayhawks play Southern California at Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday.
Category: NCAAB
 
 
 
 
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