For the first time since Feb. 2, 2009, Kansas men’s basketball is unranked in the AP Top 25, ending the longest streak in history at 231 weeks.
The Jayhawks are one of the most successful programs in men’s college basketball and the winners of all but one Big 12 regular season title since 2005, but relatively hard times have befallen Kansas in 2021. The team lost at No. 17 West Virginia, 91-79, on Saturday, to fall to 12-7 (6-5) for the season. Kansas was defeated in three-straight games in mid-January and has only won two of its last seven contests.
The disappearance of Kansas from the AP Poll would be weird in any year, but in 2021, it’s less strange than usual. Traditionally strong programs are struggling en masse this season. Now that Kansas is unranked, this marks the first time since Dec. 18, 1961 that Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, UCLA and Kansas men’s basketball are not ranked. Of those squad, Kentucky is below .500, Duke is having issues keeping on the right side of .500, North Carolina is a bubble team, and UCLA is one of the better teams in the Pac-12 but nowhere near the regular national title contender it used to be consistently.
It goes deeper than just Kansas and fellow blue bloods unranked, too. Indiana, Michigan State, Louisville, Connecticut, Arizona and Syracuse – some of the other most-prestigious programs in the sport – are missing from the poll. Instead, Gonzaga and Baylor sit atop the rankings, with several non-traditional basketball schools, like Texas Tech, Alabama, Virginia Tech and Rutgers, holding spots in the AP Top 25.
Now for some other news from across the sport this week:
Nothing But News: Feb. 2-8, 2021
A slew of WNBA free agents re-signed and signed with new teams since the market opened last week, including Betnijah Laney joining the New York Liberty, Cheyenne Parker coming to the Atlanta Dream, Jantel Lavender sticking with the Indiana Fever and more.
The Detroit Piston dealt Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks for Dennis Smith Jr. and a 2021 second-round draft pick.
Brittney Griner said she worked on her mental health in her time away from the bubble after leaving the 2020 season halfway through it, explaining how counseling, time outdoors and more helped her regroup.
An increasing number of NBA players are publicly criticizing the league’s approach to COVID-19, especially in regard to the NBA’s plans to have the All-Star Game in Atlanta on March 7.
Diana Taurasi explained why she didn’t hang it up after 17 seasons and chose to stay in Phoenix after signing a two-year deal with the Mercury.
The WNBA improved even further on its racial and gender hiring practices in 2020, an areathat the league was already receiving positive marks.
Mechelle Voepel of ESPN.com outlined the top-12 defensive players in women’s college basketball, breaking it down further by the post and perimeter.
Kevin Garnett said he doesn’t think players from 20 years ago “could play in this game.”
Get Caught Up on NBN Content!
Here is a recap of some of our content from the last week:
Champagnie Twins Create Future of D1 Hoops Together
Now, the Champagnie twins, Justin and Julian, are sophomore stars at Pittsburgh and St. John’s, respectively. But when we spoke with them two years ago, they were two high schoolers looking to live out the same dream.
Point Guard Breakdown – Mark Edwards Monthly
Former Washington University men’s basketball head coach and two-time NCAA champion Mark Edwards joined us again, this time to talk in-depth about the point guard position. Edwards explains what he looked for when recruiting the position, how a point guard can improve, the importance of the position to his teams and more.
Seton Hall Men’s Basketball Mid-Season Rundown
Steven Boero took a look at how Seton Hall men’s basketball is doing halfway through its campaign. The Pirates find themselves on the bubble roughly six weeks away from Selection Sunday.
Bracketology 2021: Predicting the NCAA Tournament (Feb. 5, 2021)
The third installment in our Bracketology 2021 series was released Friday, including all games played through Thursday, Feb. 4.