Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Jayhawks No. 1?

The following is a guest post provided by Victor:

After the Ohio State Buckeyes lost over the weekend, the NCAA basketball odds makers knew that there would be a change in the rankings this weekend. What most people didn’t realize is that Kansas would be the top team in the country and not the Texas Longhorns.

Why is that such an oddity? Because the Longhorns defeated the Jayhawks in Kansas on their home court earlier this season.

For Texas, it might turn out to be a blessing in disguise. They are 22-3 overall and 10-0 in the Big Ten. Many of their fans remember what happened to the team last time they reached the No. 1 ranking overall.

Last season, the Longhorns started the year 17-0 and then were ranked No. 1 as a result. They proceeded to lose 10 of their final 17 games and quickly exited the NCAA Tournament in the first round. Without a doubt, the players remember that and they know that continued steady performance is more important than ranking.

The Jayhawks received 14 of the 31 first-place votes while the Longhorns received 13, which ended up being the difference.

For Texas, their bigger focus should be the free throw shooting as they are ranked dead-last in the Big 12 with a 64.5 percentage. Considering their average margin of victory prior to their latest nine-point win over Baylor was 18 points per game, some improved free throw shooting would likely secure a long journey into the NCAA Tournament. If they can’t improve that, they might be exiting early once again – regardless of ranking.