Why is Kansas #1?
As I look at the Top 25 College Basketball Standings, they seem to make a lot of sense. The remaining undefeated teams are all at the top followed by teams with 1-loss. Except I still cannot figure out why Kansas deserves to be number one. The Jayhawks are playing at Temple right now, the #19 team in the nation, but this is their first game against anyone in the Top 25. Meanwhile, Texas has beaten Iowa, Pittsburgh, USC, UNC, and Michigan State. Specifically the last two wins, which were both by double digits, are much more impressive than anything Kansas has done. Every one of Texas’s wins has been by double digits.
How about Kentucky? To be fair, I think Kentucky is way overrated and has gotten very lucky this season. Nevertheless, Kentucky has beaten Stanford, UNC, Connecticut, and Indiana.
Purdue proved themselves this week by overwhelming West Virginia, who was undefeated up until that point. Syracuse suffered its first defeat today, but still has wins over UNC, California, and Florida.
So what does Kansas have?
They have a two-point victory over Memphis that was technically a neutral site game, but it was effectively a home game since it was in St. Louis. The Jayhawks won at UCLA, but UCLA is 6-8 on the season including losses to Portland, Long Beach State, and Cal-State Fullerton. Portland defeated the Bruins by 24 points while Kansas won by just 12. Kansas also has an 11-point victory over Michigan, but like UCLA, this is a down year for the Wolverine program. Michigan is 6-6 and also has losses to Boston College and Utah.
Kansas’s best win came over California. While this win is solid, it is nothing special. The Golden Bears are 8-4 on the season and lost to New Mexico. Finally though Kansas is facing its first test in playing at Temple. The Owls are a good team and have victories over Virginia Tech, Penn State, Villanova, and Seton Hall. The only two blemishes for Temple (11-2) are losses to Georgetown and Saint Johns. However, even if Kansas wins this game by 20 points, I still won’t be convinced that they are as good as Texas or Kentucky. Next week, when Kansas travels to Tennessee to take on the Volunteers, I will really be looking to see how good Kansas really is. Temple is a good team with good wins, but a Kansas victory isn’t the same as Texas’s victories over North Carolina and Michigan State. Winning at Tennessee will prove that Kansas deserves its number one ranking
This isn’t to say Kansas hasn’t tried to challenge itself. Normally, playing Memphis, UCLA, Michigan, and Cal would be an extremely hard non-conference schedule. This year though, it is a piece-of-cake. Texas, Kentucky, and Purdue have proven themselves as elite teams while Kansas has not. Until Kansas does so, they cannot be considered the top team in the country.