Kansas new No. 1; UNC drops out

Orlando Sentinel - - SPORTS TUESDAY -

It is Kansas’ turn at No. 1 in the Top 25 men’s col­lege bas­ket­ball poll, while an­other blue­blood — North Carolina — is out for the first time in nearly six years.

The Jay­hawks (9-1) moved up one spot to be­come the fifth team to top the poll in an al­ready wild sea­son. It is the first time the AP poll has had five dif­fer­ent No. 1s be­fore New Year’s Day; the record for an en­tire sea­son is seven, set in 1982-83.

Michi­gan State, Ken­tucky, Duke and Louisville were the other top-ranked teams so far in a year with no dom­i­nant team.

The Jay­hawks, who re­ceived 47 of 65 first-place votes, haven’t lost since fall­ing to Duke in the Cham­pi­ons Clas­sic to open the sea­son. That run has in­cluded win­ning the Maui In­vi­ta­tional and beat­ing a then-ranked Colorado team, with all but the over­time win against Day­ton for the Maui ti­tle com­ing by dou­ble-digit mar­gins.

Kansas coach Bill Self said his team has “been pretty good and fairly con­sis­tent” since the Duke loss.

“I think we are get­ting bet­ter, but still, up un­til about Jan­uary, rankings don’t re­ally mean that much,” Self said last week of po­ten­tially ris­ing to No. 1, “but it is worth a lit­tle bit more as we get to­ward con­fer­ence play.”

UNC (6-4) had been ranked for 106 con­sec­u­tive weeks dat­ing to Fe­bru­ary 2014, in­clud­ing start­ing this year in the top 10 and peak­ing at No. 5 on Nov. 18.

The Tar Heels failed to crack 50 points in losses to both highly ranked Ohio State and Vir­ginia, then lost Sun­day to Wof­ford in Chapel Hill with star fresh­man point guard Cole An­thony and fel­low starter Leaky Black out with in­juries.

Losses by four of last week’s top five teams led to a reshuf­fled top tier.

Gon­zaga (11-1) jumped four spots to No. 2 and earned 15 first-place votes, fol­lowed by last week’s No. 1 Louisville fall­ing to third af­ter los­ing to Texas Tech. Duke rose three spots to fourth, fol­lowed by Ohio State fall­ing two spots to No. 5 af­ter a loss at Min­nesota.

Ken­tucky, Mary­land, Ore­gon, reign­ing na­tional cham­pion Vir­ginia and Bay­lor round out the top 10.

Michi­gan (8-3) had the big­gest slide of the week, fall­ing nine spots to No. 14 af­ter losses to Illi­nois and in over­time to Ore­gon.

Penn State checked in at No. 23 for the pro­gram’s first poll ap­pear­ance in more than two decades.

The Nit­tany Lions (9-2) hadn’t ap­peared in the poll since be­ing ranked 18th in March 1996. Be­fore that, Penn State was last ranked in De­cem­ber 1954.

The Big Ten led the way with five ranked teams.

Red Raiders avoid up­set: Ter­rence Shan­non scored 18 points and No. 24 Texas Tech ral­lied in the sec­ond half for a 71-65 vic­tory over vis­it­ing South­ern Miss on Mon­day af­ter re-en­ter­ing the Top 25 com­ing off the school’s first-ever win over a top-ranked team.

Da­vide Moretti scored 17 points and hit a punc­tu­at­ing 3-pointer on an oth­er­wise rough shoot­ing night as the Red Raiders (7-3) ex­tended the nation’s sec­ond-long­est ac­tive home non­con­fer­ence win­ning streak to 52 games.

Texas Tech, which lost to Vir­ginia in over­time in the na­tional cham­pi­onship game last sea­son, had dropped from 12th all the way out of the Top 25 with two straight losses, then lost again at DePaul.

The Red Raiders re­turned to the poll fol­low­ing a two-week ab­sence with a 70-57 vic­tory over then-No. 1 Louisville on Dec. 10 in New York.

Layups: Iowa se­nior G Jor­dan Bo­han­non, the school’s all-time leader in 3-point­ers, will un­dergo sea­son-end­ing surgery Thurs­day on his left hip. Bo­han­non had surgery on his right hip ear­lier this year and shortly af­ter be­gan ex­pe­ri­enc­ing pain on the other side. He still played in 10 of the Hawkeyes’ 11 games, av­er­ag­ing 8.8 points per game in 25.0 min­utes. He plans to ap­ply for a med­i­cal-hard­ship waiver to gain el­i­gi­bil­ity for next sea­son . ... Mary Fen­lon, Ge­orge­town’s long­time men’s bas­ket­ball aca­demic co­or­di­na­tor, died Sun­day in Hen­der­son, Ne­vada, af­ter a bat­tle with cancer. She was 81. Fen­lon worked un­der Hall of Fame coach John Thomp­son from 1972-1999, when she was a fix­ture on the Hoyas bench.

JAMIE SQUIRE/GETTY

David McCor­mack scored 28 points in Kansas’ blowout of UMKC on Satur­day.

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