News Columns & Blogs

Lots of cases to be made for No. 1

No matter who is ranked No. 1 tomorrow when the polls are released, No. 2 isn’t going to think it’s fair.

If Kansas, currently No. 2, is jumped by No. 3 Texas, then Jayhawks everywhere will say that there was no reason for them to be jumped after blowout wins over No. 19 Missouri and Iowa State (Texas won easily at Oklahoma and held off a late Baylor run on Saturday in Austin).

But it’s not that simple. With Ohio State entrenched at No. 1, voters haven’t had to ask themselves “So who is really the best team in the country right now?” for the last month. A voter isn’t as concerned with who he is ranking No. 2. Kansas has one loss, Texas has three, Pittsburgh has two, so it was natural to slot the Jayhawks in behind the Buckeyes.

Now that Ohio State has lost, and No. 1 is open, there is a potential that many voters will reevaluate. Kansas, Texas, Ohio State and Pittsburgh all have legitimate claims to the spot (but look for the Buckeyes to drop just because it makes things more interesting).

Here’s a look at Kansas and Texas, the most likely occupants of No. 1 tomorrow:

KANSAS

Record: 24-1, 9-1 Big 12

Record vs. current AP top 25: 2-1 (wins over No. 15 Arizona and No. 19 Missouri, loss against No. 3 Texas)

Record vs. RPI top 50: 5-1

Best argument for: The Jayhawks have been as consistent as any team in the country and have dominated of late without Josh Selby and, on Saturday, Thomas Robinson. Kansas hasn’t played the toughest schedule, but it hasn’t lost a game on the road all season.

Best argument against: Kansas lost at home to No. 3 Texas 74-63.

TEXAS

Record: 22-3, 10-0 Big 12

Record vs. current AP top 25: 5-2 (wins over No. 2 Kansas, No. 19 Missouri, No. 20 North Carolina, No. 22 Texas A&M twice, losses against No. 4 Pittsburgh and No. 10 Connecticut)

Record vs. RPI top 50: 8-2

Best argument for: The Longhorns haven’t lost since Jan. 8 and are rated the best defensive team in the country by kenpom.com. Texas is more battle-tested than Kansas and beat the Jayhawks on their home floor.

Best argument against: Texas has the worst loss, by 17 to Southern California, and has three losses total.

  Comments