We have officially passed the halfway point of the Big 12 season and are now entering the final sprint toward March Madness. After five weeks of conference play, West Virginia sits alone at the top of the Big 12 standings with an 8-2 league record. The Mountaineers, who were picked to finish sixth in the Big 12 preseason poll, have surged to the top of the leaderboard after winning four of their last five games. However, WVU is far from safe as the next five teams in the standings are all within two games of each other. Another big week of conference play begins tonight, so let's get right into our Power Rankings!
#1 West Virginia Mountaineers: 19-4 (8-2), 10th in AP Poll
Last Week: at #13 Iowa State W 81-76, vs #15 Baylor W 80-69
This Week: 2/9 at #6 Kansas, 2/13 vs TCU
West Virginia had undoubtedly the best week of any Big 12 team. The Mountaineers kicked things off by traveling to Ames and knocking off the 13th-ranked Cyclones. The win bumped WVU to a very impressive 4-1 on the road in league play. Bob Huggins' encore consisted of a return trip home in which his team dismantled a top-15 Baylor team. With the pair of big wins, West Virginia improved to 8-2 in Big 12 play, good enough for sole possession of first place in the league. The Mountaineers can make a major statement on Tuesday night as the team travels to Allen Fieldhouse for a top-ten matchup with the Jayhawks.
#2 Kansas Jayhawks: 19-4 (7-3), 6th in AP Poll
Last Week: vs Kansas State W 77-59, at TCU W 75-56
This Week: 2/9 vs #10 West Virginia, 2/13 at #3 Oklahoma
Kansas' hopes of winning the Big 12 title for the 12th consecutive year received a pretty significant boost last week as the Jayhawks compiled a 2-0 record while Oklahoma suffered their third conference loss of the season. KU surged ahead late to blowout their in-state rivals on Tuesday night, defeating Kansas State 77-59. The Jayhawks then put together their best road performance of the year in a 75-56 win over TCU. Kansas can jump back into first place with a home win over West Virginia on Tuesday. However, KU faces another major test this weekend as the team travels to Norman for a rematch with the Sooners.
#3 Oklahoma Sooners: 19-3 (7-3), 3rd in AP Poll
Last Week: vs TCU W 96-72, at Kansas State L 80-69
This Week: 2/8 vs #24 Texas, 2/13 vs #6 Kansas
As mentioned above, Oklahoma's odds of capturing the Big 12 title took a bit of a hit last week as the Sooners dropped their third league game of the year. Oklahoma started on the right foot, taking care of business against a vastly undermanned TCU team at home, prevailing 96-72 on Tuesday night. However, OU's high-powered offense stalled over the weekend as Kansas State blew past the top-ranked Sooners 80-69. Oklahoma can jump right back into the top spot in the league with home wins over Texas and Kansas this week.
#4 Texas Longhorns: 16-7 (7-3), 24th in AP Poll
Last Week: at #15 Baylor W 67-59, vs Texas Tech W 69-59
This Week: 2/8 at #3 Oklahoma, 2/13 at #14 Iowa State
The Longhorns put together another very impressive week, picking up two big wins to jump into a tie for second place in the Big 12. UT first traveled to Waco and pulled off a big road upset of over the 15th-ranked Bears. Texas then avoided a letdown by taking care of business at home against the Red Raiders. Shaka Smart's group has finally figured out how to win games without star center Cameron Ridley. The Horns have won seven of their last eight games, including four in a row to suddenly put their name in the race for the Big 12 title. Texas will need a big week to keep their hot streak alive as the Longhorns travel to #3 Oklahoma before visiting #14 Iowa State.
#5 Baylor Bears: 17-6 (6-4), 21st in AP Poll
Last Week: vs Texas L 67-59, at #14 West Virginia L 80-69
This Week: 2/10 at Kansas State, 2/13 vs Texas Tech
The Bears had possibly the worst week of any team in the Big 12. After a home upset at the hands of their in-state rivals, Baylor never really looked competitive in an 80-69 road loss to #14 West Virginia. The back-to-back defeats moved the Bears from alone in first place to a two-way tie for fifth place in the Big 12. With eight league games remaining, there is plenty of time for BU to make a push back to the top, and that starts this week with contests against Kansas State and Texas Tech.
#6 Iowa State Cyclones: 17-6 (6-4), 14th in AP Poll
Last Week: vs #14 West Virginia L 81-76, at Oklahoma State W 64-59
This Week: 2/10 at Texas Tech, 2/13 vs #24 Texas
Iowa State rounds out the group of six teams that still have a legitimate shot to win the Big 12 title, however the Cyclones have some work to do. ISU failed to hold serve earlier last week, blowing a late lead to fall at home to West Virginia, 81-76. The team rebounded with a gritty road win over an Oklahoma State team that has looked much better as of late. The Cyclones have two more winnable games this week, first traveling to Texas Tech before hosting #24 Texas. A pair of wins would reassert the Cyclones as one of the top teams in the league.
#7 Kansas State Wildcats: 14-9 (3-7)
Last Week: at #7 Kansas L 77-59, vs #1 Oklahoma W 80-69
This Week: 2/10 vs #21 Baylor, 2/13 at Oklahoma State
Kansas State picked up their best win of the year on Saturday, knocking off #1 Oklahoma 80-69 at the Octagon of Doom. Prior to the massive upset win, the Wildcats went blow-to-blow with the Jayhawks for much of the first half on the road, eventually faltering late in an 18-point defeat. The team's win over Oklahoma put a renewed spark into the Wildcats, who still have an outside shot at earning an NCAA Tournament bid despite a sluggish start to Big 12 play. K-State can record their second straight home upset win on Wednesday as the Wildcats host #21 Baylor.
#8 Texas Tech Red Raiders: 13-9 (3-7)
Last Week: vs Oklahoma State W 63-61 (OT), at Texas L 69-59
This Week: 2/10 vs #14 Iowa State, 2/13 at #21 Baylor
Texas Tech went par for the course last week, posting a 1-1 record in their two games. The Red Raiders mounted a major second half comeback to top Oklahoma State in overtime before falling on the road to the Texas Longhorns. Much like K-State, Texas Tech can still make a run at a tournament bid, but the team needs to add some signature wins to their resume. The Red Raiders can do just that this week as they host #14 Iowa State before traveling to #21 Baylor.
#9 Oklahoma State Cowboys: 11-12 (2-8)
Last Week: at Texas Tech L 63-61 (OT), vs #13 Iowa State L 64-59
This Week: 2/8 at TCU, 2/13 vs Kansas State
Oklahoma State failed to retain any momentum from their monumental upset win over #1 Kansas two weeks ago, as the Cowboys have dropped all four league games since. The Pokes began the week by blowing a late lead in Lubbock, eventually falling to the Red Raiders by two in overtime. After returning home, Oklahoma State blew another lead, this time in a narrow six-point loss to Iowa State. Perhaps more concerning to Travis Ford and his squad is the loss of superstar freshman Jawun Evans to an apparent shoulder injury suffered against Texas Tech. OSU will get two decent chances to snap their recent skid this week, first at TCU on Monday, then against Kansas State on Saturday.
#10 TCU Horned Frogs: 10-13 (1-9)
Last Week: at #1 Oklahoma L 95-72, vs #7 Kansas L 75-56
This Week: 2/8 vs Oklahoma State, 2/13 at #10 West Virginia
Finally, the Frogs remain 10th in our Power Rankings this week. TCU had arguably their worst week of the season, dropping both of their games by a combined 42 points. The Frogs suffered a 95-72 loss on the road to the top-ranked Sooners before returning home to fall to Kansas 75-56. The losses dropped TCU to 1-9 in Big 12 play, keeping the team alone in last place in the league. The Frogs will all but cement their status as the 10 seed in the upcoming Big 12 Tournament unless they can find a way to win at least one of their two games this week.