It may have seemed hyperbolic last year, but the Big 12 is leaving little doubt it's the best, and certainly the deepest conference in college basketball this season. Only two teams have more than one loss--one of those teams being a very impressive Oklahoma squad. TCU's undefeated, Rick Barnes may finally get a ring, and Kansas--while still great--may see an end to their ten year Big 12 title streak. Big 12 basketball is truly a beautiful thing, especially this year.
Also is that Hudson Price, or Star Lord? Can't figure it out...
1. Texas Longhorns (9-1)
Isaiah Taylor might be back for Texas’ conference opener against Texas Tech. And that’s scary. The Longhorns played some salty defense against Texas State last weekend--allowing only 27 points. Tuesday night was all offense, freshman wunderkind--yes, now we can officially declare him that--Myles Turner went off and finished with 26 points, six blocks, and nine rebounds.
2. Kansas Jayhawks (8-1)
The Jayhawks are starting to look Kansasy again. Perry Ellis led Kansas with 14 points and six rebounds in a 63-60 win against No. 14 Utah. With wins over Utah, Michigan State, and Florida--the Jayhawks still have the most impressive wins in the conference thus far. But getting annihilated against Kentucky, whereas Texas played the Wildcats quite well, is why I have them at No. 2.
3. Iowa State Cyclones (8-1)
The Cyclones recently blew out rival Iowa--Iowa isn’t a bad team. Like we’ve said in the previous weeks, the Cyclones aren’t a spoiler this year. They’re a straight up contender and Georges Niang and Bryce Dejean-Jones are as lethal as any combo in college basketball right now.
4. Oklahoma Sooners (7-2)
Once again, it’s Buddy Hield’s team this year--he leads the Sooners in scoring (16.0), and is averaging over five rebounds (5.4).
5. TCU Horned Frogs (10-0)
TCU could be higher and they could be lower. It sucks when you’ve performed as well as you have since, well basically 1998--the last time the Horned Frogs made the NCAA Tournament--and still aren’t getting much love. Everyone will get a much better idea of who this team is when the play West Virginia to open up their conference schedule in January. TCU doesn’t do anything particularly fancy, they’re just a perfect example of what a healthy, experienced basketball team is capable of.
6. West Virginia Mountaineers (9-1)
The Mountaineers, still, are the true darkhorse of the conference. Texas, Iowa State, Kansas, and Oklahoma are obvious contenders at this point. However, like undefeated TCU, they still have a lot to prove. Like the Red Raiders, they lost to LSU. However, unlike Tech, they have a much better win against a UConn team we know, despite a current 4-3 record, will be in the tournament come March.
7. Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-1)
The Cowboys continue to exceed expectations in a post-Marcus Smart world. At this point, Le’Bryan Nash is looking like one of the best players in the conference, averaging 17.7 points and 6.4 rebounds. Flower Mound’s Phil Forte has also been a scoring machine, averaging just over 17 point this season.
8. Baylor Bears (8-1)
The Bears defeated former Big 12 foes, Texas A&M, 77-63. Freshman forward Johnathan Motley had 22 points in the win. Like most of the Big 12, Baylor will cruise until conference play begins. Also, as a side note, it’s pretty cool that you can now play as Isaiah Austin in NBA 2K15. For those who don’t know, Austin’s basketball career tragically ended when he was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome--a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue.
9. Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-1)
The Red Raiders haven’t really played anyone. They barely beat a struggling Bruce Pearl Auburn team, and got beat by an underwhelming LSU team. They’re 7-1, but still have a lot to prove. You could say the same thing about TCU, but the Horned Frogs don’t have a loss to bring into question.
10. Kansas State Wildcats (6-4)
The Wildcats have 4 losses. However, they’re not a bad team--they’re certainly not as bad as our beloved Frogs were the past two seasons. The conference parity, however, is going to catch up with them severely in January.