For the first time this season, a team has seized a multiple-game lead in the Big 12 standings, and it's exactly who you think it is. Bill Self and the Jayhawks have built a two-game lead with just four to go, meaning that Kansas is just about finished wrapping up their 12th consecutive league title. From there, things get interesting as Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Baylor find themselves deadlocked in a three-way tie for second place. Iowa State and Texas are jockeying for position in the five-spot, while Texas Tech is just one game behind, looking to avoid the dreaded play-in game in Kansas City. Things are heating up down the stretch, so let's get to our Power Rankings!
#1 Kansas Jayhawks: 23-4 (11-3), 2nd in AP Poll
Last Week: vs Oklahoma State W 94-67, at Kansas State W 72-63
This Week: 2/23 at #19 Baylor, 2/27 vs Texas Tech
Don't look now, but the Jayhawks are on the verge of clinching their 12th-consecutive Big 12 title, extending the longest consecutive conference championships streak in NCAA basketball history. After exacting revenge on Oklahoma State at home on Tuesday, the Jayhawks survived a late Kansas State rally to knock off the Wildcats in Manhattan. The pair of wins, combined with stumbles from West Virginia and Oklahoma, gave the Jayhawks a seemingly insurmountable two-game lead in the standings with just four to go. A road win over #19 Baylor and a home defeat of Texas Tech could give Kansas the trophy by the end of the week.
#2 Oklahoma Sooners: 21-5 (9-5), 3rd in AP Poll
Last Week: at Texas Tech L 65-63, at #10 West Virginia W 76-62
This Week: 2/24 vs Oklahoma State, 2/27 at #25 Texas
The Sooners probably have the best chance of any team to catch the Jayhawks for the top spot in the league, but they would need a lot of help. After falling to Texas Tech in Lubbock to begin the week, the Sooners faced a must-win in Morgantown, at least as far as the league title was concerned. Buddy Hield and his teammates came through, securing a convincing 14-point win over West Virginia, keeping OU's championship hopes alive for another day. Oklahoma will likely need to win out just to have a shot, and that quest continues this week with a home Bedlam showdown and a trip to Austin to face the Longhorns.
#3 West Virginia Mountaineers: 20-7 (9-5), 14th in AP Poll
Last Week: at #24 Texas L 85-78, vs #3 Oklahoma L 76-62
This Week: 2/22 vs #17 Iowa State, 2/27 at Oklahoma State
West Virginia's Big 12 title hopes took a major blow last week as the Mountaineers dropped both of their games to ranked opponents. The 0-fer moved Bob Huggins' team from alone atop the standings to a three-way tie for second place. Much like the Sooners, West Virginia will likely have to win out in order to have a chance to reclaim the top spot in the league. After failing to hold serve at home last week, the ‘Eers face a must-win against #17 Iowa State on Big Monday before traveling to Oklahoma State on Saturday.
#4 Baylor Bears: 20-7 (9-5), 19th in AP Poll
Last Week: vs #13 Iowa State W 100-91 (OT), at #24 Texas W 78-64
This Week: 2/23 vs #2 Kansas, 2/27 at TCU
The Bears kept their Big 12 title hopes alive with a pair of convincing wins over ranked foes last week. After a thrilling overtime home win over #13 Iowa State, Baylor kept their hot streak rolling by dismantling a 24th-ranked Texas team on their home floor. BU jumped out to a big first half lead and never looked back, eventually claiming a 14-point win at the Erwin Center. Scott Drew and his team can take a major step toward dethroning the Jayhawks by knocking off KU in Waco on Wednesday. From there, the Bears travel to Fort Worth looking to sweep the season series with TCU.
#5 Texas Longhorns: 17-10 (8-6), 25th in AP Poll
Last Week: vs #10 West Virginia W 85-78, vs #25 Baylor L 78-64
This Week: 2/22 at Kansas State, 2/27 vs #3 Oklahoma
The Longhorns jumped a spot to #5 in Power Rankings after posting a 1-1 record in two home games against ranked foes. Texas' climb in the standings continued with a win over 10th-ranked West Virginia early in the week. However, the ‘Horns came back down to earth with a humbling 14-point loss at the hands of Baylor on Saturday. Shaka Smart's group looks to remain in the top six to earn an automatic spot in the Quarterfinals of next month's Big 12 Tournament. Texas opens the week with Kansas State before hosting #3 Oklahoma.
#6 Texas Tech Red Raiders: 17-9 (7-7), RV in AP Poll
Last Week: vs #3 Oklahoma W 65-63, at Oklahoma State W 71-61
This Week: 2/23 vs TCU, 2/27 at #2 Kansas
The Red Raiders are the hottest team in the Big 12, and one of the hottest in the nation after a four-game winning streak that saw the team knock off three ranked opponents. Texas Tech's signature win of the season came on Wednesday night as the team beat #3 Oklahoma in Lubbock. Not long after the court storming concluded, the Red Raiders picked up a big road win over Oklahoma State to complete their mini sweep over Sooner state foes. TTU can all but lock up an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament with one more win, which will likely come on Tuesday night against TCU.
#7 Iowa State Cyclones: 19-8 (8-6), 17th in AP Poll
Last Week: at #25 Baylor L 100-91 (OT), vs TCU W 92-83
This Week: 2/22 at #14 West Virginia, 2/27 vs Kansas State
Iowa State played themselves out of contention for the Big 12 title after falling to Baylor in overtime last week. Unless the Cyclones get hot at the right time, what looked to be a promising season in Ames will likely see the team finish in the bottom half of the league when all is said and done. The road for ISU doesn't get any easier this week as the team travels to Morgantown before turning around to host Kansas State. ISU has plenty to play for, as the team looks to avoid falling into a play-in game in the Big 12 Tourney.
#8 Kansas State Wildcats: 15-12 (4-10)
Last Week: at TCU W 63-49, vs #2 Kansas L 72-63
This Week: 2/22 vs #25 Texas, 2/27 at #17 Iowa State
The bottom third of the Big 12 is significantly easier to decipher as there is a pretty clear gap between the 7th and 8th place teams in the league. Kansas State tops the bottom-dwellers after posting a 1-1 record last week. The Wildcats snapped a long road losing streak by knocking off TCU before a late rally fell short at home against the 2nd-ranked Jayhawks. Kansas State will be playing on the opening day of the Big 12 Tournament, so all that's left to sort out is seeding and matchups. The Wildcats enter their second-to-last week of play on Monday night with a showdown against #24 Texas before traveling to #17 Iowa State on Saturday.
#9 Oklahoma State Cowboys: 12-15 (3-11)
Last Week: at #2 Kansas L 94-67, vs Texas Tech L 71-61
This Week: 2/24 at #3 Oklahoma, 2/27 vs #14 West Virginia
The Pokes suffered yet another 0-2 week to drop to 3-11 in Big 12 play. After a 27-point thrashing at the hands of KU, Oklahoma State dropped a tight game to Texas Tech on Saturday night. The Cowboys will get two decent opportunities to pick up a signature win this week as the team travels to #3 Oklahoma before hosting #14 West Virginia.
#10 TCU Horned Frogs: 11-16 (2-12)
Last Week: vs Kansas State L 63-49, at #13 Iowa State L 92-83
This Week: 2/23 at Texas Tech, 2/27 vs #19 Baylor
TCU remains at the bottom of our Power Rankings after a pair of losses last week. The Frogs couldn't get things together fast enough to overcome a slow start to Kansas State at home on Tuesday. However, TCU put together one of their most complete games of the year on Saturday, remaining within striking distance of #13 Iowa State for much of the contest before eventually falling by nine. It will take a miracle for the Frogs to enter the Big 12 Tournament as anything other than the 10-seed. Another tough week of conference play begins on Tuesday night as TCU travels to Texas Tech before hosting #19 Baylor on Saturday.