Wednesday, February 21, 2024

College basketball rankings: Kansas, UConn prepare for top-10 tilt of consecutive national champions

Allen Fieldhouse will host this early season nonconference heavyweight between a pair of blue bloods

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Fridays eventually become mostly uninteresting days as every college basketball season progresses. But for now, the final weekday still provides some good stuff, and the best of the best on this Friday is a showdown between the school that won the 2022 NCAA Tournament (Kansas) and the school that won the 2023 NCAA Tournament (UConn).

It’s Jayhawks vs. Huskies inside Allen Fieldhouse. The two historically strong programs will enter at No. 4 (Kansas) and No. 6 (UConn) in Friday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings, where Purdue remains No. 1 for the 10th consecutive day.

“[UConn has} all of the pieces,” said Kansas coach Bill Self, whose Jayhawks are 6-1 with the lone loss coming to Marquette. “They’ve got perimeter shooting … and they’ve got size and they’ve got length and they’ve got experience and toughness. I mean, they’re a complete team. They could win [the national championship] again.”

They certainly could.

The Huskies’ streak of 24 consecutive non-league wins by double digits will be in jeopardy here considering they’re 2.5-point underdogs on the road. Regardless, again, Self is clearly correct when he suggests UConn is good enough to become the first back-to-back national champion since Florida in 2006 and 2007. Dan Hurley’s team is great defensively, even better offensively and being led by All-American candidate Tristen Newton, a 6-foot-5 point guard who is averaging 15.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 6.9 assists in 31.1 minutes per game. His counterpart will be Kansas standout Dajuan Harris, which means this non-league contest will feature the starting point guards for the past two national champions.

Tip is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

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