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Big 12 Power Rankings: February 15

Two-thirds of the way through conference play, a familiar face has risen to the top of the Big 12 standings.

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Stop me if you've heard this before... Kansas is in the driver's seat to win the Big 12. After knocking off #10 West Virginia and #3 Oklahoma last week, the Jayhawks are in prime position to capture an unprecedented 12th consecutive league championship. However, West Virginia might have something to say about that, as the Mountaineers are currently tied with KU for the top spot in the league. From there, four more teams find themselves within a game of each other. Let's sort it out in this week's Big 12 Power Rankings!

#1 Kansas Jayhawks: 21-4 (9-3), 2nd in AP Poll

Previously: #2

Last Week: vs #10 West Virginia W 75-65, at #3 Oklahoma W 76-72
This Week: 2/15 vs Oklahoma State, 2/20 at Kansas State

After a brief bout of uncertainty as to whether or not the Jayhawks could win the Big 12 for the 12th consecutive season, Kansas has reasserted itself as the frontrunner in this deep basketball conference. KU avenged an earlier loss to West Virginia with a rather decisive 10-point victory over the Mountaineers at Allen Fieldhouse. Bill Self's encore came in what was perhaps the best win of the year in all of college basketball. With their epic triple-overtime contest from January still fresh in everyone's minds, the Jayhawks traveled to Norman and knocked off the Sooners 76-72. The big win pushed KU back to the top of the league standings and sent the message that the road to the Big 12 title still runs through Lawrence. With two games against unranked opponents this week, the Jayhawks are likely well on their way to hoisting the trophy once again.

#2 West Virginia Mountaineers: 20-5 (9-3), 10th in AP Poll

Previously: #1

Last Week: at #6 Kansas L 75-65, vs TCU W 73-42
This Week: 2/16 at #24 Texas, 2/20 vs #3 Oklahoma

The Mountaineers remain locked in a tie for first place in the league with the aforementioned Kansas Jayhawks. Following their 75-65 loss at Allen Fieldhouse, West Virginia returned home to thoroughly dismantle a significantly undermanned TCU team, 73-42 in what was one of WVU's largest wins of the season. It will be tough for the Mountaineers to keep their spot tied atop the league standings this week with a pair of difficult games on the horizon. WVU travels to Austin to face the 24th-ranked Longhorns before returning home to host #3 Oklahoma.

#3 Oklahoma Sooners: 20-4 (8-4), 3rd in AP Poll

Previously: #3

Last Week: vs #24 Texas W 63-60, vs #6 Kansas L 76-72
This Week: 2/17 at Texas Tech, 2/20 at #10 West Virginia

The Sooners find themselves 3rd in the AP poll, 3rd in the Big 12 standings, and 3rd in our Power Rankings this week. Oklahoma began the week with a less-than-convincing win over Texas that required a last-second three-pointer from Buddy Hield to come to fruition. The Sooners couldn't come through in what was their biggest game of the year, falling to the Jayhawks 76-72 on their home floor. The loss put OU in a tough position as far as the Big 12 title is concerned, because the Sooners will have to make up two games on the Jayhawks with just six left to play. Oklahoma will begin that quest this week, first on the road against Texas Tech before traveling to #10 West Virginia.

#4 Iowa State Cyclones: 18-7 (7-5), 13th in AP Poll

Previously: #6

Last Week: at Texas Tech L 85-82 (OT), vs #24 Texas W 85-75
This Week: 2/16 at #25 Baylor, 2/20 vs TCU

The Cyclones lead a trio of Big 12 teams deadlocked with 7-5 records in league play. With star forward Jameel McKay suspended from the team, Iowa State fell on the road to Texas Tech, 85-82 in overtime to begin the week. ISU rebounded, with a reinstated McKay, on Saturday against the Longhorns. After going blow-to-blow for much of the game, the Cyclones pulled away late to top Texas by 10. Iowa State will get two chances to move up in our Power Rankings this week, first against #25 Baylor, then against TCU.

#5 Baylor Bears: 18-7 (7-5), 25th in AP Poll

Previously: #5

Last Week: at Kansas State W 82-72, vs Texas Tech L 84-66
This Week: 2/16 vs #13 Iowa State, 2/20 at #24 Texas

Baylor had an interesting week, to say the least. The Bears got off on the right foot, traveling to Manhattan to pick up a convincing 10-point win over Kansas State. Riding the high of a big road win, Baylor returned home, only to lay a huge egg against an inferior Texas Tech team. After a back-and-forth first half, the Red Raiders rolled to an 18-point win thanks to a huge second half. The loss knocked Baylor to 7-5 in league play and has left Scott Drew with more questions than answers. Things won't get any easier for BU this week with contests against #13 Iowa State and #24 Texas coming up.

#6 Texas Longhorns: 16-9 (7-5), 24th in AP Poll

Previously: #4

Last Week: at #3 Oklahoma L 63-60, at #14 Iowa State L 85-75
This Week: 2/16 vs #10 West Virginia, 2/20 vs #25 Baylor

Despite a pair of losses, the Longhorns actually had a pretty solid week. Facing a rather significant talent disparity, Texas took Oklahoma to the wire, eventually falling 63-60 after a late Buddy Hield three-pointer that sealed the win for OU. The Longhorns then traveled to Ames and found themselves within just one possession with less than two minutes left. A late Iowa State run eventually gave the Cyclones a double-digit win, but the statement had already been made. The Longhorns are ready and able to go blow-to-blow with any team in this league. UT will have two more chances to prove it this week with big home games against #10 West Virginia and #25 Baylor.

#7 Texas Tech Red Raiders: 15-9 (5-7)

Previously: #8

Last Week: vs #14 Iowa State W 85-82 (OT), at #21 Baylor W 84-66
This Week: 2/17 vs #3 Oklahoma, 2/20 at Oklahoma State

The Red Raiders had arguably the best week of any Big 12 team. Seeing a major opportunity against an Iowa State team without Jameel McKay, Texas Tech battled ISU for 45 minutes, eventually capturing a three-point overtime win. For their encore performance, TTU traveled across the state and used a huge second half run to knock off #21 Baylor, 84-66 in Waco. The pair of wins bumped the Red Raiders to 5-7 in the league, putting the team in a good position to fight for one of the coveted first-round byes in the upcoming Big 12 Tournament.

#8 Kansas State Wildcats: 14-11 (3-9)

Previously: #7

Last Week: vs #21 Baylor L 82-72, at Oklahoma State L 58-55 (OT)
This Week: 2/16 at TCU, 2/20 vs #2 Kansas

Kansas State suffered a pretty big setback this week, dropping both of their league games to fall to 3-9 in Big 12 play. After taking the Bears to triple overtime in Waco earlier this season, the Wildcats missed an opportunity to pick up a signature win, falling to the Bears by 10 on their home floor. K-State's NCAA Tournament hopes then took a significant blow as the team fell to Oklahoma State 58-55 in overtime. The Wildcats can claw their way back onto the bubble this week if they can find a way to pick up both a road win over TCU and a home win over the Jayhawks.

#9 Oklahoma State Cowboys: 12-13 (3-9)

Previously: #9

Last Week: at TCU L 63-56, vs Kansas State W 58-55 (OT)
This Week: 2/15 at #2 Kansas, 2/20 vs Texas Tech

After a 1-1 mark last week, Oklahoma State remains 9th in our Power Rankings. The Pokes suffered another bad road loss, falling to TCU by seven in Fort Worth to begin the week. OSU then returned home to knock off Kansas State 58-55 in overtime. With just six games left in the regular season, the Cowboys are running out of time to make a run at the NIT. OSU will look to sweep Kansas this week before hosting Texas Tech.

#10 TCU Horned Frogs: 11-14 (2-10)

Previously: #10

Last Week: vs Oklahoma State W 63-56, at #10 West Virginia L 73-42
This Week: 2/16 vs Kansas State, 2/20 at #13 Iowa State

Despite doubling their number of league wins last week, TCU remains 10th in our Power Rankings. The Frogs picked up a big win over Oklahoma State at home on Monday, knocking off the Pokes by seven thanks to a late second half run. Things would unravel quickly for TCU as the team suffered one of their worst conference losses since joining the league in 2012, falling by 31 on the road against #10 West Virginia. With a team regressing faster than imagined, the Frogs seem to have more questions than answers entering another big week of conference play. TCU hosts Kansas State on Tuesday night before visiting Ames for a showdown with #13 Iowa State.