Surprise, surprise the Big 12 is once again loaded with talent. The top 6 teams in the conference are a combined 61-5 at the moment. The conference's last place team is Texas who sits at 5-5 and have struggled this year without having a true point guard to lead the team. Today, I'm going to look at the different tiers of teams as everyone gets prepped for Big 12 play.
#3 Kansas (10-1)
#4 Baylor (11-0)
#11 West Virginia (10-1)
Kansas is always great and have rattled off 10 straight wins after its opening loss to Indiana. The 103-99 loss to the Hoosiers isn't that bad either, Indiana currently is #16 and sit at 9-2 on the year. Kansas' best win on the season was a 2-point win over #1 Duke earlier in the season.
Baylor is a bit of a surprise but look to be the real deal so far. The Bears are 11-0 and have beat some tough competition. They've beat Oregon, Michigan State, Louisville and Xavier. When Baylor faced those teams, they were all ranked in the top 25. As we move into conference play everyone needs to keep their eyes on the Bears.
West Virginia, like Kansas, is always towards the top in the Big 12 standing. Bob Huggins and his press defense causes nightmares throughout the conference. He always finds some way to have his guys ready to play at an elite level. Look for the Mountaineers to again finish in the top 3 of the Big 12.
Iowa State (8-3)
Oklahoma State (9-2)
Texas Tech (10-1)
Iowa State lost some talent, but they're still a solid basketball team. They're usually a tier 1 type of program but I think this year they'll be right on the fringe of tier 1/tier 2.
Oklahoma State could be a darkhorse in the conference this season. They have only 2 losses on the season. One was a blowout loss to powerhouse North Carolina and the other was just a 1-point loss to Maryland. Watch out for the Cowboys.
Texas Tech dominated non-conference play, but the schedule was pretty weak. Along with that, a 2-point loss to Auburn won't help if Tech is a bubble team. The Red Raiders first true test of the year will be 12/30 at Iowa State.
Oklahoma looks to be having a down year so far. The Sooners have lost to Northern Iowa, Wisconsin, Wichita State and Memphis. While those schools are solid basketball programs, Oklahoma could've/should've won at least 2 or 3 of those games. Once Big 12 play gets started we'll really see who the Sooners are.
Kansas State (10-1)
While the Longhorns are 5-5, Texas is a blue blood program. The lack of a true point guard has hurt them this season. Shaka Smart will have his guys ready for conference play, so don't let the rough start fool you. If they can get the point guard position locked down they can make some noise in conference play.
Kansas State finished 16-15 (5-13) last season, but did pick up a Big 12 tournament win against Oklahoma State. The Wildcats one loss on the season came at the hands of Maryland, but it was a close one that ended 69-68. K-State's non-conference schedule was decent and we'll have a better idea of what the Wildcats really are once Big 12 play gets under way.
TCU is a bit of a surprise. The Horned Frogs have only lost one game so far and that was to SMU, who is a pretty solid basketball team. TCU has beaten Washington twice so far this season and are looking much improved. While they do look improved, we have to remember the Horned Frogs finished 11-20 (2-16) last season. So let's temper expectations a little.