The Battle For No. 1: Does Kansas Deserve To Be The Top Dog?
Both teams have made valid runs at the top spot this season, but with the Buckeyes unable to keep their winning streak alive in Madison this is the week that another team takes the title of No. 1 in the polls.
As the reigning No. 2 team, it was only natural that Kansas move its way up to No. 1.
The Jayhawks have certainly proven themselves this season with a 23-1 record. Led by the “Twin Towers” duo of Markieff and Marcus Morris, Kansas seems to be following its usual legacy of basketball success.
Saturday brought another big win for the Jayhawks as they beat the Iowa State Cyclones 89-66. The game proved to be just one more tally in the win column for Kansas, who has been blowing past teams this entire season.
Recently, Kansas has even proved they can succeed without their powerhouse freshman star, Josh Selby.
Selby has missed three consecutive games with a stress reaction injury, and head coach Bill Self has stated that Selby most likely will not play in their upcoming game against Kansas State.
That being said, injuries are not keeping the Jayhawks down. The players are excited to continue proving their talent and abilities.
“We are really excited for the tournament to start so that we can prove that we deserve the title of being the No. 1 team in the nation," freshman guard Royce Woolridge stated. "That way all the speculation can end.”
While Kansas clearly is a successful team, the one team it has fallen to stands as its biggest competition at this point in the season. Based on recent performance, the Texas Longhorns have an argument that they should have hooked their horns into a No. 1 ranking.
Having missed the No. 1 place by a slim margin of one vote in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, Texas has undoubtedly proven itself as a stellar team these past two months.
Since Dec. 5, the Longhorns have lost just once -- to No. 9-ranked UConn. The loss was by one point in overtime, and the Huskies’ Kemba Walker was on fire, having ended the game with a from-the-hip 3-pointer with five seconds left on the clock.
Other than that, Texas has remained strong.
Before Saturday’s nine-point win over Baylor, Texas had not let a team within the 10-point mark for 10 games in a row. Longhorn superstar Jordan Hamilton leads the team in scoring with an average of 19 points per game and also in rebounding with 7 rebounds per game. With an inside game consisting of powerhouse Gary Johnson, the Longhorns seem to be in a great position when it comes to proving they're the best team in the nation.
With players like J’Covan Brown, Texas also has power off the bench equal to many teams' starting lineup. Brown averages 9 points per game, but in the Longhorns' big win over KU this season he came up with 23 big points, proving he's an important asset to the team.
What is undeniable is that Texas has the most impressive win out of the three teams vying for No. 1.
The Longhorns snapped Kansas’s 69-game winning streak with an on-the-road win at the famous Allen Fieldhouse. Rock Chalk Nation stood stunned as the Jayhawks fell short by 11 points.
Kansas may have the honor of being No. 1 this week, but with the season coming into its most crucial time, next week's rankings could continue to change. As they should.
While Kansas has shown promise this season, based on current play the title of top dog should belong to the Longhorns of Texas.
They may have been voted out by one vote, but they're still the best team in the nation right now.
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