For the third season in a row, the Big 12 topped the SEC in the annual Big 12/SEC Challenge, winning seven of the 10 contests in the event. Oklahoma and Kansas each picked up significant wins while the bottom half of the conference all looked impressive against fairly evenly-matched opponents from the SEC. Prior to this weekend's event, five conference games did nothing to solve the logjam of teams at the top of the league standings. Six teams are either tied for or just one game out of first place with five weeks remaining in the regular season. The same goes for the bottom of the league as the four remaining teams are all within one game of each other. Our Big 12 Power Rankings for this week attempts to break the congestion!
#1 Oklahoma Sooners: 18-2 (6-2), 1st in AP Poll
Last Week: vs Texas Tech W 91-67, at LSU W 77-75
This Week: 2/2 vs TCU, 2/6 at Kansas State
The top-ranked Sooners were one of just three Big 12 teams to post a perfect 2-0 mark last week. Oklahoma opened the week by routing Texas Tech in Norman behind 30 points from Buddy Hield. OU then defended their #1 ranking by traveling to Baton Rouge and outlasting Ben Simmons and the LSU Tigers. Again, Hield dropped 32 points in the victory. Thanks to a dominant week of play, Oklahoma gets to keep their #1 ranking in the AP Poll, as well as the top spot in our Power Rankings. The Sooners should have no problem maintaining their position next week, as the team faces bottom-dwellers TCU and Kansas State.
#2 Kansas Jayhawks: 17-4 (5-3), 7th in AP Poll
Last Week: at #14 Iowa State L 85-72, vs #20 Kentucky W 90-84 (OT)
This Week: 2/3 vs Kansas State, 2/6 at TCU
The Jayhawks took a big step backward before taking a big step forward last week. Kansas first traveled to Ames, where the team blew a seven-point halftime lead to the Cyclones, eventually falling by 13. While a loss to a top-15 Iowa State team isn't a major cause for concern, what is alarming for the Jayhawks is that the team now has three conference losses. With games remaining in Norman, Austin, and Manhattan, Kansas fans have to wonder if four or maybe even five losses could potentially still win the Big 12 Conference. At this point, it's fair to say that the team's streak of 11 consecutive league championships is in jeopardy. Despite the early loss, Kansas bounced back with an exciting overtime victory over Kentucky on Saturday. Wayne Selden dropped 32 points in the win, breathing life into a KU offense that had remained somewhat inconsistent as of late. Kansas can jump right back into the thick of things this week with big wins over TCU and Kansas State.
#3 Baylor Bears: 17-4 (6-2), 15th in AP Poll
Last Week: at Oklahoma State W 69-65, vs Georgia W 83-73
This Week: 2/1 vs Texas, 2/6 at #14 West Virginia
Another 2-0 week for Scott Drew and the Baylor Bears is helping prove that the team has what it takes to contend for the league title this season. Baylor opened the week with a narrow four-point victory in Stillwater before taking care of business against a deceptively competitive Georgia team on Saturday. With the wins, the Bears have jumped back into the three-way tie for the top spot in the Big 12. The Bears have a big week ahead of them, hosting a surging Texas team before traveling to West Virginia. Two more wins this week would likely cement Baylor's status as a legitimate threat.
#4 West Virginia Mountaineers: 17-4 (6-2), 14th in AP Poll
Last Week: vs Kansas State W 70-55, at Florida L 88-71
This Week: 2/2 at #13 Iowa State, 2/6 vs #15 Baylor
All things considered, one would conclude that this was a fairly disappointing week for West Virginia. After taking care of business against a vastly under-manned Kansas State team at home on Tuesday, the Mountaineers traveled to Gainesville and got demolished by the Florida Gators. In a game where WVU was never really in it, the Gators jumped out of the gate and led by double-digits for most of the afternoon. The loss marked just the second time in 45 attempts this season that a ranked Big 12 team fell to an unranked non-conference foe. The Mountaineers will have a great chance to reassert their dominance this week with contests against #13 Iowa State and #15 Baylor looming.
#5 Iowa State Cyclones: 16-5 (5-3), 13th in AP Poll
Last Week: vs #4 Kansas W 85-72, at #5 Texas A&M L 72-62
This Week: 2/2 vs #14 West Virginia, 2/6 at Oklahoma State
The Cyclones managed to mostly survive a difficult week against two top-five opponents. Iowa State used a big second half comeback to top the Jayhawks, pulling the team back into the conversation for the Big 12 title. ISU was in the game late against the 5th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday, eventually faltering late and falling by 10 on the road. Much like Baylor, Iowa State can prove that they still belong in the running for the league championship with a pair of wins this week. The Cyclones first welcome #14 West Virginia to experience Hilton Magic before traveling to Stillwater to face Oklahoma State.
#6 Texas Longhorns: 14-7 (5-3)
Last Week: vs TCU W 71-54, vs Vanderbilt W 72-58
This Week: 2/1 at #15 Baylor, 2/6 vs Texas Tech
The Longhorns have jumped into a tie for fourth place in the Big 12 thanks to winning five of their last six games, including both contests last week. Texas dominated an inferior TCU team at home on Tuesday, avenging an earlier loss to the Frogs in Fort Worth. The ‘Horns were led in that game by Prince Ibeh, who had a career night with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocked shots. Texas continued their hot streak on Saturday, routing Vanderbilt to help their league clinch the Big 12/SEC Challenge. After a somewhat rocky start, the Longhorns are suddenly 14-7 on the year and gunning for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Things won't be easy for Shaka Smart's team this week as they travel to Waco before hosting a Texas Tech team that beat them earlier this season in Lubbock.
#7 Oklahoma State Cowboys: 11-10 (2-6)
Last Week: vs #17 Baylor L 69-65, at Auburn W 74-63
This Week: 2/3 at Texas Tech, 2/6 vs #13 Iowa State
Oklahoma State was par for the course last week, posting a 1-1 record after two tough challenges. First, the Cowboys dropped a close four-point contest to 17th-ranked Baylor in Stillwater after keeping things relatively competitive throughout much of the game. The loss dropped the Pokes to 2-6 in league play. Following the defeat, Oklahoma State traveled to Auburn, where OSU dismantled a Tigers team on their home floor. The Cowboys controlled things for much of the game, en route to picking up a much-needed road win. OSU will have an opportunity to make some moves this week as the team travels to Texas Tech before returning home to face #13 Iowa State.
#8 Kansas State Wildcats: 13-8 (2-6)
Last Week: at #9 West Virginia L 70-55, vs Mississippi W 69-64
This Week: 2/3 at #7 Kansas, 2/6 vs #1 Oklahoma
Kansas State suffered a tough 15-point loss to #9 West Virginia to open the week. After taking the Mountaineers to double-overtime in the first meeting between the teams, the Wildcats struggled to score consistently enough to keep things close in the rematch. The loss kept KSU locked in a three-way tie for seventh place in the conference. K-State rebounded from their early defeat with a thin five-point victory over Mississippi on Saturday. The Wildcats took control of what was a back-and-forth affair late in the second half to improve to 3-1 against SEC opponents this season. Bruce Weber and his team are facing an incredibly difficult week as the team travels to #7 Kansas before hosting #1 Oklahoma.
#9 Texas Tech Red Raiders: 12-8 (2-6)
Last Week: at #1 Oklahoma L 91-67, at Arkansas L 75-68 (OT)
This Week: 2/3 vs Oklahoma State, 2/6 at Texas
The Red Raiders finished the week as the only conference team to post an 0-2 record. After a difficult 24-point road loss to the top-ranked Sooners, Texas Tech couldn't solve the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday afternoon. After forcing overtime thanks to a late rally, the Red Raiders let things slip away, eventually falling by seven. With a 12-8 record on the year, TTU needs to start racking up wins if they want to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive. Tech will have a decent opportunity to do just that this week with games against Oklahoma State and Texas.
#10 TCU Horned Frogs: 10-11 (1-7)
Last Week: at Texas L 71-54, vs Tennessee W 75-63
This Week: 2/2 at #1 Oklahoma, 2/6 vs #7 Kansas
Finally, the Horned Frogs remain at #10 in this week's Power Rankings, but TCU is closing the gap. The Frogs opened the week with a 17-point loss at the hands of the Texas Longhorns. In a game where TCU looked lost on both ends of the floor, Texas built a big lead early before closing it out in the second half. The Frogs snapped their five-game losing streak on Saturday thanks to a huge second half rally that gave the team a 75-63 win over Tennessee. After the Vols opened a 14-point halftime lead, TCU came storming back, flipping the script to capture a 12-point win. The victory breathed some life into the Frogs, however that momentum will likely be short-lived as the team travels to #1 Oklahoma before hosting #7 Kansas this week.