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Jayhawks No. 1; Huskies No. 14

Fri., Oct. 30, 2009

For the second time in its storied basketball history, Kansas is No. 1 in The Associated Press’ preseason Top 25.

The Jayhawks of coach Bill Self (pictured above) were a runaway choice Thursday, receiving 55 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel to easily outdistance Michigan State, which was No. 1 on five ballots.

Washington is ranked 14th. Gonzaga received votes but did not make the Top 25. GU is replacing four starters off last season’s team.

There was little suspense as to which team would top the preseason poll. Kansas has all five starters and the top nine scorers back from last season’s team that reached the third round of the NCAA tournament.

Texas, Kentucky and Villanova rounded out the top five, while North Carolina, , was sixth. Kentucky received three first-place votes and Texas and North Carolina got one each. Purdue, West Virginia, Duke and Tennessee completed the top 10.

The coaches poll was also released. The top five teams are Kansas, Michigan State, Texas, UNC and Kentucky.

Washington was 13th and Gonzaga was not ranked but received votes.

See polls, B4

Cowen, Koper to play Russians

Hockey: Spokane Chiefs Jared Cowen and Levko Koper have been selected to represent the Western Hockey League in the Subway Series against Russia.

Each of the three leagues that comprise the Canadian Hockey League plays two games against the Russians. For the WHL, it’s Nov. 25 in Victoria and Nov. 26 at Kelowna.

The two Chiefs are skating in the first game. They will be joined by three players from the Brandon team that upended them 5-4 Wednesday night – forwards Brayden Schenn and Scott Glennie and defenseman Colby Robak. All five players have been drafted by NHL teams, with Cowen and the forwards all top 10 picks in June.

The series starts with games Nov. 16 and 18 at Quebec league sites, and Nov. 19 and 23 in Ontario.

Vandals gear up for next test

College football: The emphasis is on tackling.

After giving up 70 points last week against Nevada, the University of Idaho defense is attempting to shore up tackling issues in preparation for its home game Saturday against Louisiana Tech.

See WAC notebook, B3

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