A couple of huge match-ups have clarified things at the top of the Big 12 Rankings. The Big 12 is still the best conference around, leading in average efficiency by 3 points over the next best conference. West Virginia peaks at 2nd in the AP Poll, leading three top 10 Big 12 teams. The conference has 5 teams in the top 16, and six teams receiving votes. 9 of 10 Big 12 teams are in the top 55 in KenPom efficiency.
These rankings are based on a combination of talent, resume, and who has the “mojo” right now, meaning they are entirely subjective so your criticism is invalid. Additionally, I pay no mind to prior rankings when conducting this list - these are meant to reflect “right now.”
1. West Virginia Mountaineers (15-1, 12th)
Aside from a loss to Texas A&M, the ‘Neers have been impeccable this season. WVU plays an enigmatic game, oddly energetic yet reeking of Old Man Ball. They are undefeated in conference play after beating OU, which is a nice cushion, but they will at some point have to beat someone on the road eventually. Big showdown in Lubbock this weekend.
2. Oklahoma Sooners (13-2, 13th in KenPom)
Have the best win in the conference (at #13 Wichita State), but man that Arkansas loss looks worse and worse. Understandably struggled at West Virginia, but didn’t get run off the court, and they held serve against a hot Texas Tech at home. The Sooners get a winnable slate against TCU, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State before hosting Kansas.
3. Texas Tech Red Raiders (14-2, 6th)
The Red Raiders look like the real deal this year. Huge win over Kansas, and still improving. Their two losses come against top 30 teams, and both on the road. They host West Virginia on Saturday, a big opportunity to carve out their spot atop the Big 12. The Red Raiders have five top 50 wins thus far this season.
4. Kansas Jayhawks (13-3, 9th)
Well, look who it is, still hovering at fourth - the Kansas Jayhawks. Bill Self’s team avoided the two game skid and looked more like themselves on the road at TCU and hosting Iowa State (although a five point win against the Cyclones is not what it once was). They get a tune up against Kansas St. before heading to West Virginia for a game that feels like it’ll determine the conference champion (with apologies to Tech and OU).
The Big 12 title race ends with this list of four. The following teams are still scrapping for seeding, but should be in the Big Dance.
5. TCU Horned Frogs (13-3, 25nd)
What a heartbreaker for the Frogs, as it seemed they had a rally comeback sealed up in Austin last night, only to come away with a missed layup and a 2OT loss. The temptation would be to move them down in the rankings, but Texas had some emotional mojo on their side (Get Well, Andrew Jones). The Frogs probably should’ve won in Austin and picked up one of two against Kansas or OU. TCU is now 9 points away from being undefeated, losing two one point games, and one four point game. The Frogs are still in a position to take care of business at home and play themselves into a single digit seed. Another shot at OU on Saturday with a 1-4 Big 12 start on the line.
6. Texas Longhorns (11-5, 35th)
Texas has some solid wins this season, and despite some terrible news, put themselves in a position to win against a solid TCU team. The loss to Baylor was just plain bad, and the Longhorns have a tough three games ahead - in Stillwater, hosting Texas Tech, and traveling to Morgantown. The Longhorns have the resume so far, but will need to pull off a few more upsets to solidify a tournament bid.
7. Scott Drew's Basketball Team in Waco (11-5, 34th)
The Bears had a nice win against Texas, and had perhaps the most difficult slate starting out in the Big 12 - Texas Tech, TCU, and West Virginia were three of their first four opponents. The Bears can right the ship against Iowa State and Oklahoma State before a trip to Lawrence next week.
8. Oklahoma State (11-5, 54th)
That Florida State win still looks shiny, but they needed OT to get a home win against lowly Iowa State. They could really help their standing with win against short-handed Texas, but have to travel to Waco and host their in state rivals this week. The Pokes are probably on the outside of the Big 12 tournament bids, but have plenty of opportunities to work themselves into the tournament.
9. Kansas State (12-4, 46th)
The Wildcats beat the Pokes at home this week, so you might expect them to jump Oklahoma State, but their resume is inferior to Oklahoma State, so at ninth they stay. K State looked good against a bad Iowa State, which is what you expect teams to do, but outside of that and a win at Vandy (which has less shine on it than you want it to), Bruce Weber’s Wildcats have a pretty thin resume. The Cats have their work cut out for them if they want a tournament bid, but unless something crazy happens, they are probably out.
These teams still have a basketball program, darn it, and they are playing basketball.
10. Iowa State (9-6, 104th)
It is hard to find a win on their remaining schedule - KenPom has them projected to lose out, with no greater than a 37% chance of victory in any game (at home against Baylor) aside from hosting Oklahoma State. I’d expect them to fool around and win - Hilton is a weird place - but, they’re more of a football school anyway.