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Friday, January 18, 2008

Lawrence (KS) Journal World & News - Who’s No. 1?

Who’s No. 1?
Lawrence (KS) Journal World & News

The college basketball polls have North Carolina ranked No. 1, Memphis No. 2 and Kansas No. 3.

They are the only remaining undefeated NCAA Division I schools.

Unlike in college football, a tournament is in place to crown the champion, but that won’t happen until April 7. The schools will not have a chance to play each other unless it happens in the NCAA Tournament, perhaps in the Final Four in San Antonio.

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

For now, the only way to select a No. 1 is to argue the issue. To supply fodder for such arguments, consider a position-by-position ranking of the five starters and the bench from the three undefeated schools.

The points total listed under each school was arrived at by awarding three points for every first-place ranking, two points for a second-place and one point for a third place. Based on this system, the team with the highest number deserves to be ranked No. 1.

Since all three coaches — each of whom has a special place in his heart for Allen Fieldhouse — have proven they are among the nation’s best, coaching was not part of the formula.

Kansas (17-0)
PG - Russell Robinson, Sr., 6-foot-1, 205 lbs.

The only Kansas starter who doesn’t score in double figures (6.9 ppg), Robinson’s value goes deeper. The New Yorker leads the Jayhawks with 79 assists, is second with 42 steals and applies great ball pressure. He’s good for a three-pointer here and there. Rank: 2

SG - Mario Chalmers, Jr., 6-1, 190 lbs.

The numbers Chalmers puts up in 28.9 minutes a night are quite efficient. He’s the team’s top three-point threat (46.9 percent) and has 78 assists to just 29 turnovers. The do-it-all guard leads KU in takeaways with 47. Rank: 1

SF - Brandon Rush, Jr., 6-6, 210 lbs.

Still not back to 100 percent, but getting close. He’s KU’s top free-throw shooter at 78.6 percent and is heating up from three-point range. He must maintain aggressiveness without Self having to nag him. He’s averaging 17.5 ppg since Self’s comments. Rank: 2

PF - Darrell Arthur, So., 6-9, 225 lbs.

Needs to improve his rebounding, but has developed well in all other areas. Arthur leads the Jayhawks in scoring (13.4 ppg) with a consistent turnaround jumper as his go-to weapon. He also has rejected a team-best 30 shots. Rank: 2

C - Darnell Jackson, Sr. 6-8, 250 lbs.

After overcoming personal obstacles, Jackson’s playing with a clear mind and a nasty streak. KU’s most improved player averages 12.3 ppg on 66.9 percent shooting and is a consistent rebounding threat, at 7.0 rpg. Dropped weight has helped in transition. Rank: 2

Bench - KU’s top two subs, Sasha Kaun and Sherron Collins, would start most places. Collins (9.5 ppg, 2.8 apg) is returning to form after a foot injury, while the reserve role has helped Kaun (7.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg) find comfort and consistency. Guys like Rod Stewart and Cole Aldrich can fill minutes, too. Rank: 1

Points - 14

KU Link - Bill Self: In his fifth season at Kansas after advancing Tulsa and Illinois to the Elite Eight, Self has a 122-29 KU record for an .808 winning percentage.

Did You Know? Self is one of three coaches in NCAA Division I history to coach a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament at two different schools.

North Carolina (18-0)

PG - Ty Lawson, So., 5-11, 195 lbs.

Short and thick with speed to burn, Lawson gives opposing defenses fits, just like Raymond Felton did before him. Carolina’s leader can score (13.4 ppg), dish (5.7 apg) and swipe (2.1 spg). Plus, Lawson knows how to apply pressure without fouling. Rank: 1

SG - Wayne Ellington, So., 6-4, 200 lbs.

Ellington has boosted his scoring by six points per game to 17.8. His three-point shooting has gone up 11 percent, and he has established himself as a clutch late-game gunner, as evidence by game-winning three-pointer against Clemson. He’s also a 90.9 percent shooter at the stripe. Rank: 2

SF - Marcus Ginyard, Jr., 6-5, 218 lbs.

Ginyard is to North Carolina what Anderson is to Memphis and Robinson is to KU — a glue guy in the starting five. The lengthy veteran averages 6.8 ppg and 5.0 rpg. He’s also a sticky defender, but isn’t a huge threat on offense (39.8 FG %). Rank: 3

PF - Deon Thompson, So., 6-8, 240 lbs.

Thompson’s scoring and rebounding have doubled from his rookie campaign. He now averages 8.8 points and 5.8 rebounds a game. He leads the Heels with 24 blocks, though is just a 45.6 percent shooter. Complements Tyler Hansbrough well. Rank: 3

C - Tyler Hansbrough, Jr. 6-9, 250 lbs.

As the player the rest of the nation loves to hate, Hansbrough does more than enough to keep Tar Heel nation happy. Arguably college’s best player, ‘Psycho-T’ averages 21.2 points and 9.9 rebounds a game. For a big man, he’s solid at the line (80.8). Rank: 1

Bench - Losing junior guard Bobby Frasor for the year to a knee injury hurt the Heels’ backcourt depth and put plenty of weight on 6-3 senior Quentin Thomas. But Danny Green could be the best reserve in the land. The 6-foot-6 junior is a 40.7 percent three-point marksman and fourth on the team with 12.7 ppg. Rank: 2

Points - 12

KU Link - Roy Williams: Hired from Dean Smith’s staff at UNC, Williams went 418-101 in 15 seasons, for a winning percentage of .805 at Kansas before returning to Chapel Hill.

Did You Know? Williams is one of three coaches in NCAA Division I history to coach a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament at two different schools.

Memphis (16-0)

PG - Derek Rose, Fr., 6-3, 190 lbs.

One of the nation’s finest and most exciting freshmen, Rose has the numbers (14.7 ppg, 4.3 apg, 4.0 rpg) to back up the hype. He has been wild at times, though, registering a team-high 48 turnovers. He’s also only a 69.6 percent shooter at the line. Rank: 3

SG - Antonio Anderson, Jr., 6-6, 210 lbs.

Despite being just an average offensive threat (6.9 ppg, 35.8 FG%, 52.5 FT%), he brings a veteran presence in filling up the stat sheet elsewhere. He leads the Tigers with 23 steals and ranks second in assists with 52 and plays sound defense. Rank: 3

SF - Chris Douglas-Roberts, Jr., 6-7, 200 lbs.

Known by fans as ‘CD-R,’ the Detroit native passed up the NBA last spring and has seen his numbers go up across the board. He again leads Memphis in scoring (16.3 ppg), but has bumped his three-point shooting this year by 20 percent (32.8 to 52.9 percent). Rank: 1

PF - Robert Dozier, Jr., 6-9, 215 lbs.

Dozier’s shooting is nothing to brag about (46.3 percent), but he’s as productive and active a big man as you’ll find. The junior posts 11.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and just over two blocks per game. He and center Joey Dorsey give the Tigers a bulky tandem. Rank: 1

C - Joey Dorsey, Sr. 6-9, 265 lbs.

Along with swatting nearly three shots a game, Dorsey is the team’s top rebounder, pulling down 9.9 caroms on average. His 8.3 points per game come as a product of being Memphis’ most efficient shooter (74.2 percent). Rank: 3

Bench - The Tigers’ big-bodied starting lineup is backed by 6-10 sophomore Shawn Taggart, an Iowa State transfer, who posts 7.0 points and 4.7 boards a game in 17.5 minutes. Senior guard Andre Allen (5-10) and sophomore guard Willie Kemp (6-5) bring good backcourt energy, too. Rank: 3

Points - 10

KU Link - John Calipari: Worked one season under Ted Owens and two seasons under Larry Brown at Kansas, leaving after the 1984-85 season.

Did You Know? Calipari is one of three coaches in NCAA Division I history to coach a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament at two different schools.

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