Kansas new No. 1; UNC drops out
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.
David McCormack scored 28 points in Kansas’ blowout of UMKC on Saturday.