KC Power Rankings: Race for Top Spot is Tight

Mar 02, 2013; Waco, TX, USA; Kansas State Wildcats head coach Bruce Weber reacts during the game against the Baylor Bears at the Ferrell Center. Kansas State won 64-61. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

It was an odd week for the power rankings as so many teams achieved significant accomplishments with some tinge of disappointment. Most specifically, Kansas, Kansas State, and Missouri all had the potential for big weeks – and to some degree they had them. The Royals are dominating…in meaningless spring training games. And the Chiefs had improved their team dramatically but only on paper.

The question now is if they were big enough to crack the top five of the Kansas City power rankings.

5) Blue Valley Northwest boys basketball

BV Northwest finished a perfect season and won the Kansas 6A state title last Friday over Derby. Northwest scored 32 of the game’s first 37 points and didn’t look back winning 73-36. Junior Clayton Custer had 25 points and Kyle Harrison, also a junior, added 14 more. The team hit 11 of their first 13 shots, including seven three-pointers.

“That was crazy, but it was really fun,” Harrison told the Topeka Capital-Journal. “I just went with the flow.”

The Huskies have appeared in four straight state title games but had lost the previous three to Perry Ellis led Wichita Heights. Ellis may be matching up against Custer soon as he is oral committed to Iowa State’s 2014 class.

Mar 02, 2013; Waco, TX, USA; Kansas State Wildcats guard Rodney McGruder (22) reacts during the game against the Baylor Bears at the Ferrell Center. Kansas State won 64-61. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

4) Kansas State men’s basketball

Bruce Weber, the Big 12′s coach of the year, landed a piece of Kansas State’s first conference title in over 35 years on Saturday despite the loss at Oklahoma State.

The Wildcats trounced TCU before losing a late lead Saturday afternoon against the Cowboys. Still, the Wildcats benefited from a Jayhawks loss at Baylor to clinch the conference title. Rodney McGruder was selected first-team all-conference by the Big 12 and AP. Angel Rodriguez got a second team nod while Shane Southwell received an honorable mention.

Kansas State now moves on to the Big 12 tournament in an effort to improve on their projected four seed in the NCAA tournament. As of now both Oklahoma State and K-State are listed as four seeds, and one would assume that whomever advances the farthest in the conference tournament will get the three seed. Both are also playing for a spot in Kansas City for the first weekend of the NCAA tournament.

Mar 9, 2013; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Natalya Bartinovskya of Kansas poses on the awards podium after winning the womens pole vault at 14-7 1/4 (4.45m) in the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships at the Randal Tyson Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsA

3) Kansas Jayhawks

A national champion in the long jump and pole vault at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships plus the continuation of their conference title streak gives Kansas an edge over the Wildcats this week.

Andrea Geubelle won both the long and triple jump at the Indoor Championships. She had four jumps over 45 feet in her six attempts. That seems unreasonable. She is the third athlete to have won the long and triple jump in the same year and the first to do it since 2003.

Natalia Bartnovskaya had a career best performance in the pole vault, reaching a 14 feet, seven and quarter inches for a new KU record. The mark was also the eighth highest in NCAA indoor history.

Then there was the basketball team, who still will declared conference champions even though they were blown out 81-58 by Baylor on Saturday night.

Jeff Withey was named Defensive Player of the Year by the Big 12 and was named to the first team all-Big 12 with Ben McLemore. Marcus Smart, deservedly, beat out both Withey and McLemore for the conference player of the year. Travis Releford was selected second team all-defense and Elijah Johnson received all-league honorable mention.

Kansas now has the task to trying to regain the one seed it lost they lost in Waco during the Big 12 tournament. The Jayhawks are a lock to play in Kansas City in the first two rounds no matter what, but the seed and region will be decided this week.

Jan 14, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey (left), chairman Clark Hunt (middle) and coach Andy Reid pose for photos during the press conference at the University of Kansas Hospital Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

2) Chiefs

When we last left you the Chiefs had yet to sign Dwayne Bowe, Brandon Albert, Dustin Colquitt, or Dunta Robinson, release Eric Winston, or restructure Tyson Jackson‘s contract. All of those things have now happened.

John Dorsey and Andy Reid have not been fooling around when it comes to making decisions about who is on the roster and what should be done with them. They’ve hit home runs on the Bowe, Albert, Colquitt and Jackson signings while causing a controversy with Robinson and Winston – especially Winston. But no one is going to deny that it is clear that the Chiefs front office have a plan and they are going to see it through. And the word “rebuilding” does not appear to have a place in their plan.

Kansas City is going to be a much improved team no matter what next year simply on the basis of their coaching upgrade and the acquisition of Alex Smith. But there are still many ways the Chiefs can be better and it will be interesting to see what Kansas City does this week as free agency begins on Tuesday.

March 6, 2013; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas (8) hits a double in the third inning during a spring training game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

1) Royals

Apparently, the only way you can beat the Royals is with a King. “King” Felix Hernandez handed the Royals their first loss of Spring Training but it does not appear to have effected the way the Royals have gone about business.

The Royals have scored 30 runs in the two games since the Mariners beat the Royals and have had some excellent performances from the mound as well. Yordano Ventura was particularly impressive against San Francisco on Saturday, going a scoreless three innings while giving up no hits on two walks and three strikeouts. His fastball sat between 96 and 99 miles per hour and hitters appeared to be off balance against him all day. He still needs seasoning, but he has looked impressive this spring.

Donnie Joseph, who came over in the Jonathan Broxton trade, also gets a nod of approval. He appeared in two games, going two innings and striking out four. He’s k’d 10 batters in five innings this spring.

Eric Hosmer was chosen by Team USA to play in the World Baseball Classic and delivered Sunday night with a bases-clearing double against Canada to ensure a win for the United States and a spot in the second round. Salvador Perez will be returning to Surprise after Venezuela was eliminated in the first round.

If the Royals aren’t careful, they are going to find themselves at the top of the power rankings a lot in 2013.

Honorable Mentions: Missouri men’s basketball, Central Missouri men’s basketball, Emporia State women’s basketball, Rockhurst boys basketball, Blue Springs girls basketball.

Topics: Andy Reid, Ben McLemore, Eric Hosmer, Jeff Withey, John Dorsey, Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Missouri Tigers, Rodney McGruder, Yordano Ventura

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