Bill Self was surprised as anyone on Monday afternoon, when he heard that his Kansas team had ascended to No. 2 in the latest Associated Press top 25 poll.
The Jayhawks, just six days after a victory against then-No. 4 Duke, leaped over defending national champion Louisville, which began the season with three straight victories.
“How did we move ahead of Louisville?” Self said. “That doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Kansas, which debuted at No. 5 in the preseason poll, also moved ahead of former No. 1 Kentucky, which lost to No. 2 Michigan State at the Champions Classic.
The young Jayhawks, who return to the floor against Iona on Tuesday night at Allen Fieldhouse, will now have to deal with the extra pressure of being in the top No. 2 — perhaps a little sooner than some thought was possible.
“Unless you guys bring it up, they won’t know,” Self said, “unless, I guess, people are blowing them up on Twitter or telling them. I don’t know …
“I like it,” Self added. “I mean, you might as well be able to learn how to operate under a little duress or stress that’s either self‑imposed or from outside influence. That’ll prepare you for later on down the road, so that doesn’t bother me at all.”
Michigan State took over the top spot in the poll. Louisville was No. 3, while Kentucky and Arizona rounded out the top five at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively. Duke dropped to No. 6 after the Kansas loss, while Oklahoma State moved up to No. 7.
The Spartans were No. 1 for the first time in 13 years. They last held the top spot for two weeks in 2000-01 — the season after coach Tom Izzo led Michigan State to the program’s second NCAA title.
“We’ve been in the top five a lot, but we haven’t won a big game early quite like we did last week,” Izzo told the Associated Press. “We’ve earned this, but I know Kansas or Louisville could be No. 1 right now. Duke and Kentucky are really good, too.”
The Big 12 featured four teams in the poll for the first time, with Baylor slotting in at No. 20 and Iowa State debuting at No. 21 after a victory over Michigan on Sunday.
Wichita State was tied with Michigan at No. 14, while No. 16 Florida was the only other SEC team in the top 25. Missouri received five points in the poll.AP top 25
|School (first-place votes)||W-L||Pts.||Prv.|
|1. Michigan State (51)||3-0||1,608||2|
|2. Kansas (7)||2-0||1,523||5|
|3. Louisville (7)||3-0||1,511||3|
|7. Oklahoma State||3-0||1,198||8|
|8. Ohio State||3-0||1,172||10|
|14. Wichita State||4-0||705||16|
|19. New Mexico||2-0||353||22|
|21. Iowa State||3-0||296||_|
|24. North Carolina||2-1||213||12|
Others receiving votes: Iowa 122, Indiana 109, Virginia 77, Harvard 72, Boise State 28, Belmont 18, Arizona State 13, Villanova 11, Xavier 10, Tennessee 9, Pittsburgh 7, Colorado 6, Missouri 5, Florida State 4, Minnesota 4, Saint Louis 4, Cincinnati 3, BYU 2, Indiana State 2, Massachusetts 2, George Washington 1, Notre Dame 1.