Thursday, February 22, 2024

College basketball rankings: Kansas falls at Texas Tech, adding to historic trend for top-10 teams on the road

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It happened again Monday night, for the 35th time this season and for the third time in a three-day span. Yep, another team ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press Top 25 poll lost to an unranked opponent on the road.

This time it was Kansas.

It’s now been Kansas four times this season.

“We’re beat up and tired right now,” KU coach Bill Self said following the 79-50 loss at Texas Tech that dropped the Jayhawks to No. 10 in Tuesday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And daily college basketball rankings.

Before we go any further, I should make it clear that though the margin of defeat for Kansas was certainly shocking, this was hardly a surprising result inside United Supermarkets Arena. Texas Tech actually closed as a four-point favorite, so our latest example of a top-10 team losing to an unranked opponent on the road wasn’t even technically an upset. That’s in part because the Jayhawks were without their leading scorer, Kevin McCullar Jr., who has missed two straight games with a bone bruise, but also because their point guard, Dajuan Harris Jr., remains bothered by an ankle he turned during Saturday’s win over Baylor.

Still, facts are facts — and it’s a fact that Kansas is the latest top-10 team to lose a road game to an unranked opponent. It means top-10 teams are now 32-35 in such games this season. That’s a winning percentage of 47.8%, which is 25.5 percentage points lower than the normal historical standard for top-10 teams against unranked opponents on the road and 14.2 percentage points lower than the all-time worst winning percentage in a season for top-10 teams against unranked opponents on the road.

It appears we’re watching history unfold. And if you’re interested in following along, there are three more games that fall under this umbrella on Tuesday’s schedule — specifically Marquette at Butler, North Carolina at Syracuse and Iowa State at Cincinnati. Marquette (-4.5) and North Carolina (-8.5) are favorites in their games, but Iowa State (+1.5) is listed as a slight underdog.

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