Thursday, January 17, 2008

WHO'S #1?

WHO'S #1?

According to Ryan Greene & (ahem) Tom Keegan:

"North Carolina has the best player (Tyler Hansbrough), Kansas the most balance and Memphis the most size."

They compare everyone's starting 5 and bench, and conclude that KU is 1, Carolina 2, Memphis 3.

Notice that all three coaches have strong KU ties?

Grant Wahl on Kansas:

"The Jayhawks are just killing teams right now and should be on every college hoops fan's list of DVR musts. Bill Self has done a terrific job convincing NBA-level talent to buy into the team concept, even if it means sacrificing some stats. The result is a suffocating defense (especially on the perimeter), scary depth and the sort of explosive, but team-first attack, that just overwhelms opponents. When a player like Sherron Collins isn't even starting, you know there's something special brewing in Lawrence."

He also provides a tortured explanation for why Carolina won't win the championship.

Fran Fraschilla throws down as well:

"I am going to start to see the Kansas Jayhawks a lot in the coming weeks in my Big 12 travels, so making the claim that they are the best team in the country right now will brand me a "homer." I am aware of that. So, let me explain how I feel about the "Fran-tastic Four" right now: Kansas, Memphis, UCLA and North Carolina."

So UNC isn't in the Magic Eight? Keegan and Greene rate them 2nd to Kansas? Fraschilla rates them fourth behind KU, Memphis, and UCLA?

Such disrespect!

Or is it more telling that most of these pieces offer hand wringing explanations for failing to rank UNC at the top spot?



  1. UNC is still undefeated against a fairly tough schedule, so I can't see dropping them out of the top three. And Wahl doesn't make a strong case at all for saying they have no chance at a title, esp. compared to some of the teams he does have in there.

    But I think the original sin was ranking UNC #1 in the first place; they're a great team but clearly not as good as KU or Memphis at this point -- they just don't defend that well. So #3 it is.

    I guess I'd give Memphis the nod for #1 as they've faced down a tougher schedule than us so far. That's about to change, although they still have to play Tennessee.

    But I have this nagging feeling that, at least the way we're playing right now, the 'Hawks are the team to beat.

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  3. Nice post.

    Can I just point out, though, (as someone on already has) that comparing player-by-player doesn't really make a ton of sense when you're comparing teams. I grant that stats have to be recorded individually, and that assists (for example) demonstrate something like team-work, but I am troubled by the method Greene and Keegan employ. (Seems like Keegan must be behind it, since he appears to like odd ranking systems.)

    Why not just go with schedules, results, margins of victory? (Basically Deron's method, I guess.)

    I'm curious to see what happens to UNC once conference play really gets going--maybe they do deserve the 1? My feeling, though, is that they don't.

    Speaking of feelings, I haven't seen a Memphis game, and so I must remain indifferent. Is Scott still out there? Are your Tigers for real?

    As for KU, I did predict an undefeated conference season, which now means I'm predicting that we arrive at the Big 12 tourney, what, 31-0? Guess I'll stand by that.

    With everyone healthy we're just so deep and so talented at every position. I hate to sound over-confident, but I agree with Deron--we're the team to beat, and I won't be surprised if we win out.

  4. Are the tigers real?

    Is that your question?

    I've watched KU and Memphis pretty extensively of course, and they look pretty even to me. Memphis has the edge on scoring and shooting (especially on "guys that can get their own shot"), and shot blocking.

    KU has the edge in perimeter defensive pressure, fouls/depth at the #5 position, and maybe outside shooting. Both are well schemed on D and O, and shoot free throws like crap.

    Memphis has Gonzaga along with Tennessee, but KU will get a better seasoning through the BIG XII south.

    I still think UNC is better than both teams and maybe, just maybe, Texas caught UCLA before they were ready with Kevin Love (who's been much better).

  5. Does Kansas shoot free-throws like crap?

    Chris' previous post mentioned this area, but it deserves more notice as probably our most significant achievement of the new year.

    KU was 17 of 18 against OU, and 67 of 85 in '08 (79%). (That's according to; Chris (quoting the Star, I think) had it at 67-88 (76%). Pretty good either way, though--even if it's just four games' worth.)

    For what it's worth, it looks like agrees with Deron: the new Power 16 has our Jayhawks on top.
    (Had been UNC, then Memphis; guess our wins were more convincing?)

    No talk about Mizzou? What the hell? I'll start: we will burn down their town! No? Okay--but we'll win by 20.

    John Brown!