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Big 12 Basketball Power Rankings

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Who’s hot and who’s not in Big 12 Basketball.

Iowa State v Kansas Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Greetings, friends, and welcome to SEC/Big 12 Challenge week. Two conference games (Texas-TCU, Oklahoma-Oklahoma State) stand between us and some premier college basketball match-ups. The Big 12/SEC Challenge will be telling for a few reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the Big 12 has cannibalized itself for three weeks, with good teams taking bad losses left and right. Kansas and Kansas State sit tied at the top of the league at 5-2, with Baylor only a half game back. Texas Tech, a favorite to upend Kansas’s Big 12 Championship streak, has taken now three consecutive losses, and long-range contenders like TCU, Texas, and OU have struggled due to injuries (and to some extent, talent). Below, I’ll lay out the resumes of each Big 12 team as I rank them in order of strength headed into the big weekend.
(Author’s note: these rankings are objective, scientific, and infallible. Do not @ me, nerds.)

THE DEFINITIVE BIG 12 POWER RANKINGS

1. Kansas Jayhawks 16-3 (9th KenPom, 9th AP, 19th NET): Warm

Last 5:
W vs #13 Iowa State 80-76
L at #85 West Virginia 65-64
W vs #29 Texas 80-78
W at #43 Baylor 75-68
W vs #22 TCU 77-68

vs Top 100 KP teams: (12-3)
vs Top 50: (10-2)
Best Wins: neut vs. #3 Michigan State 92-87, neut. vs #5 Tennessee 87-81
Worst Loss: at #85 West Virginia 65-64

The Jayhawks have been cruising in their last five, aside from an understandable one point road loss in Morgantown, just another of the Big 12’s patented “Places Dreams go to Die”. Dedric Lawson has an offensive rating of 107.8 (25th in the nation) in conference play alone, and despite injuries in the starting rotation, KU has proved they will adapt. The prohibitive favorite for the conference championship.

2. Kansas State Wildcats 15-4 (35th, — 91 votes, 35th) : Burning Hot

Last 6:

W vs #14 Texas Tech 58-45
W vs #20 TCU 65-55
W at #28 Oklahoma 74-61
W at #12 Iowa State 58-57
W vs #85 West Virginia 71-69
L at #14 Texas Tech 63-57

vs Top 100 KP teams: (5-3)
vs Top 50: (3-3)
Best Win: at #13 Iowa State 58-57, vs #10 Texas Tech
Worst Loss: at #133 Tulsa 47-46

Don’t look now, but Bruce Weber’s boring team has become a grinding death machine. The Nation’s 4th most efficient defense has held teams to comically low point totals (they haven’t allowed 75 points in a game since December 1st), and the now-healthy Dean Wade at times has looked nigh un-guard-able. Also, the Cats don’t get Kansas until February 5th, giving themselves some time to stash some wins before what looks to be the showdown for the conference. Weird tournament resume, with some ugly losses, but Big 12 wins cure all wounds.

3. Iowa State Cyclones 14-5 (12th, 24th, 18th): Warm

Last 5:
L vs #9 Kansas 80-76
W vs #72 Oklahoma State 72-59
W at #10 Texas Tech 68-64
L vs #41 Kansas State 58-57
L at #43 Baylor 73-70

vs Top 100 KP teams: (6-5)
Top 50: (2-4)
Best Wins: at #10 Texas Tech 68-64
Worst Loss: neut. vs #51 Arizona 71-66

Iowa State is here mostly by taking care of business. The Cyclones lost a home game to Kansas State, but stole a road game from Texas Tech, and look mostly to be keeping serve. They have four sub-Top 25 KP teams before hosting #20 TCU in their next real test.

4. Texas Tech Red Raiders 15-3 (14th, 14th, 11th): Getting Chilly

Last 5:
L at #35 Kansas State 58-45
L at #43 Baylor 73-62
L vs #13 Iowa State 68-64
W at #29 Texas 68-62
W vs #28 Oklahoma 66-59
W vs #41 Kansas State 63-57

vs Top 100 KP teams: (7-3)
vs Top 50: (3-2)
Best Win: neut. vs #16 Nebraska 70-52
Worst Loss: at #42 Baylor 73-62

There are bad weeks, and then there is Texas Tech’s terrible, horrible, no-good very-bad week. The Raiders have floundered in three games, falling victim to the Big 12’s road environments in two of them, but Chris Beard needs to right the ship if Texas Tech is going to fulfill their destiny of dethroning Kansas. Fortunately for the Raiders, some win opportunities lie ahead: Tech still has two vs TCU, Oklahoma State, and a chance to prove it on the court against Kansas, both home and away.

5. Baylor Bears 12-6 (44th, —, 54th): Heating Up

Last 5:
W at #85 West Virginia 85-73
W vs #10 Texas Tech 73-62
W at #72 Oklahoma State 73-69
L vs #9 Kansas 73-68
W vs #13 Iowa State 73-70

vs Top 100 KP teams: (6-3)
vs Top 50: (2-3)
Best Wins: vs #13 Iowa State 73-70, vs #10 Texas Tech 73-62
Worst Loss: vs #248 Stephen F. Austin 59-58

Baylor wins the award for “Biggest Rollercoaster of a Team” (although Texas is definitely on the podium). The Bears might be the only team in the nation with two top 15 wins and three sub - 120 losses. As of late, the Bears have capitalized on games against inferior opponents (WVU, OK State) on the road, which in the Big 12, is a huge boost. Stealing games against Tech and Iowa State at home, the Bears are quietly riding some home-court mojo to Big 12 contention.

6. Oklahoma Sooners 13-5 (28th, — 16 votes, 30th) : Cooling Off

Last 5:
L at #29 Texas 75-72
L vs #41 Kansas State 74-61
W vs #22 TCU 76-74
L at #10 Texas Tech 66-59
W vs. #72 Oklahoma State 74-64

vs Top 100 KP teams: (9-5)
vs Top 50: (3-5)
Best Win: neut. vs #23 Florida 65-60
Worst Loss: vs #41 Kansas State 74-61

The Sooners have not won a game they shouldn’t have, and have lost two they shouldn’t have, in Big 12 play. They somehow managed to fend off a TCU team (which says more about their depth than anything else), but the luster is wearing off the “OU is better without Trae Young train)” - the Sooners have yet to play Iowa State and Baylor, and still have trips to Morgantown, Fort Worth, and Manhattan left on the slate.

7. TCU Horned Frogs 13-4 (20th, — 1 Vote, 31st): Cooling Off

Last 5:
L at #41 Kansas State 65-55
W vs #85 West Virginia 98-67
L at #28 Oklahoma 76-74
L at #9 Kansas 77-68
W vs #43 Baylor 85-81

vs Top 100 KP teams: (4-4)
vs Top 50: (1-4)
Best Win: vs #43 Baylor 85-81
Worst Loss: vs #49 Lipscomb 73-64

Four transfers, and the Horned Frogs’ depth and versatility is looking a little thin. TCU has lost three of four, and it’s hard not to think that at full strength, TCU could easily be 3-1 instead of 1-3. Especially painful is a loss to Kansas State without the services of Kouat Noi. TCU has two games with Tech, Texas, and Iowa State, and with the current depth situation, seems to be out of the race for the Big 12 Championship.

8. Texas Longhorns 11-7 (29th, —, 45th): Colder

Last 5:
W vs #28 Oklahoma 75-72
L at #9 Kansas 80-78
L vs #10 Texas Tech 68-62
L at #72 Oklahoma State 61-58
W vs #85 West Virginia 61-54

vs Top 100 KP teams: (7-6)
vs Top 50: (4-3)
Best Wins: vs #8 Purdue 72-68, neut. vs #7 North Carolina 92-89
Worst Loss: vs #124 Radford 62-59

Our other “rollercoaster team” is Shaka Smart’s Texas Longhorns. The Longhorns have some ugly losses - Radford, VCU, and Providence at home, Oklahoma State in Stillwater - and some solid wins - at Kansas State looks particularly shiny, given the Wildcats’ recent fire. Texas has two games against TCU, Baylor and Iowa State on the schedule, with a trip to Morgantown and Norman lurking in between.

9. West Virginia Mountaineers 9-10 (85th,—, 86th): It’s Freezing in here

Last 5:
L vs #43 Baylor 85-73
W vs #9 Kansas 65-64
L at #22 TCU 98-67
L vs #72 Oklahoma State 85-77
L at #41 Kansas State 71-69

vs Top 100 KP teams: (2-8)
vs Top 50: 1-7
Best Win: vs #9 Kansas 65-64
Worst Loss: neut. vs #117 Rhode Island 83-70

An awful start to the season turned into an awful start in conference play - WVU went 0-5 before squeaking out a win against #9 Kansas. Not much to look forward to in Morgantown this season except to try and ruin some seasons. Huggins and the gang look to miss the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2014.

10. Oklahoma State Cowboys 8-10 (72nd, —, 69th): Sub-Zero Temps Ahead

Last 5:
L at #13 Iowa State 72-59
L vs #43 Baylor 73-69
W at #85 West Virginia 85-77
W vs #29 Texas 61-59
L at #28 Oklahoma 74-64

vs Top 100 KP teams: (4-8)
vs Top 50: (2-7)
Best Win: neut. vs #24 LSU 90-77
Worst Loss: at #266 Charlotte 66-64

Stillwater just doesn’t have the magic. In the second season since Brad Underwood fled to Illinois, the Pokes are struggling. Lindy Waters has been fun, and its nice to steal a non-conference win against a solid LSU squad, but this year, the pokes are just playing for their 5 underclassmen to develop.