KU basketball earns early No. 1 preseason rankings from CBS Sports, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi

The Kansas basketball team, which has lost eight players to the NCAA transfer portal and two to the NBA Draft (after Kevin McCullar announced his return on Wednesday), nonetheless is ranked No. 1 in CBS Sports’ preseason “Top 25 and 1” rankings, which were updated by analyst Gary Parrish on Tuesday before McCullar’s decision.

Parrish’s rankings placed the Jayhawks, last year’s Big 12 regular-season champion, atop the poll. Kansas has added four transfers and four high schoolers in recruiting thus far.

No. 2 is UConn, followed in the top 10 by No. 3 Purdue, No. 4 Marquette, No. 5 Duke, No. 6 FAU, No. 7 Michigan State, No. 8 Houston, No. 9 Arkansas and No. 10 Creighton.

The rest of the poll: Miami, Gonzaga, USC, Kentucky, San Diego State, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Alabama, Texas, Baylor, Arizona, UCLA, Saint Mary’s, Iowa State, Mississippi State and Auburn.

Before news of McCullar’s return broke, Parrish predicted returning starters Dajuan Harris and KJ Adams will be joined in the starting lineup by newcomers Elmarko Jackson, Nick Timberlake and Hunter Dickinson.

“That’s a starting lineup with size, shooting and experience. Combine it with the fact that Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer Bill Self — a man who has made 24 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and earned No. 1 seeds in 10 of the past 16 NCAA Tournaments — will be the person developing the roster and coaching the team, and I personally think the Jayhawks should now be considered the favorites to win the 2024 NCAA Tournament,” Parrish wrote Tuesday.

The eight Jayhawks to enter the portal since season’s end are: Ernest Udeh (undecided), Kyle Cuffe Jr. (Syracuse), Bobby Pettiford (East Carolina), Cam Martin (Boise State), Zach Clemence (Santa Barbara), Joseph Yesufu (Washington State), MJ Rice (North Carolina State) and Zuby Ejiofor (St. John’s).

The four portal additions thus far: Parker Braun (Santa Clara), Hunter Dickinson (Michigan), Nick Timberlake (Towson) and Arterio Morris (Texas).

The Jayhawks, who still have one scholarship left to award in the recruiting class of 2023, have returning scholarship players in McCullar, Adams and Harris. KU also has signed freshmen Marcus Adams, Elmarko Jackson, Chris Johnson and Jamari McDowell.

KU grabs No. 1 overall seed in Lunardi’s bracket

ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi on Tuesday predicted KU would land the No. 1 overall seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

The analyst has KU playing No. 16 seed South Dakota State in Omaha in the first round of the South Regional. The winner would meet either No. 8 seed Miami or No. 9 Colorado in the Round of 32.

The region’s No. 2 seed is Purdue and No. 3 seed is Creighton.

Other No. 1 seeds according to Lunardi: Duke in the East, Michigan State in the Midwest and Marquette in the West. He does not have Kansas State, Missouri or Wichita State reaching the tournament.

KU dominates top 10 list of coaches

Kansas graduates Phog Allen, Dean Smith and Adolph Rupp joined former KU coach Roy Williams on ChatGPT’s list of the top 10 men’s basketball coaches of all time.

According to results provided to the NCAA March Madness Twitter account via ChatGPT, Kentucky coaching legend Rupp was ranked No. 3, North Carolina coach Smith No. 4, KU/UNC coach Williams No. 6 and KU coach Allen No. 8.

Hall of Famer Bill Self was not a Top Ten pick of ChatGPT.

The top 10:

  1. John Wooden (UCLA)

  2. Mike Krzyzewski (Duke)

  3. Adolph Rupp (Kentucky)

  4. Dean Smith (UNC)

  5. Bob Knight (Indiana)

  6. Roy Williams (KU/UNC)

  7. Jim Calhoun (UConn)

  8. Phog Allen (KU)

  9. Tom Izzo (Michigan State)

  10. John Thompson (Georgetown)

The March Madness Twitter account also asked ChatGPT to select the 10 best college players since 2000.

Duke’s Zion Williamson was No. 1, followed by Anthony Davis (Kentucky), Kevin Durant (Texas), Blake Griffin (Oklahoma), Carmelo Anthony (Syracuse), Kevin Love (UCLA), Stephen Curry (Davidson), JJ Redick (Duke), Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin) and Trey Burke (Michigan).

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