A few conference games into the season, we have a little bit of clarity at the top and bottom of the conference. The middle is still jam packed with parity.
1. Baylor (15-0): Last week’s ranking, 1. Not only is Baylor sitting atop the Big 12 right now, they’re about to earn the number one ranking in the entire nation. It doesn’t mean a whole lot yet since they haven’t played West Virginia or Kansas, but it’s still noteworthy and well-deserved considering their non-conference wins.
2. Kansas (14-1): Last week’s ranking, 3. Kansas survived against Kansas State thanks to a no-call on a four-step buzzer-beating layup. Then they pulled away late from Texas Tech to remain unbeaten in Big 12 play.
3. West Virginia (13-2): Last week’s ranking, 2. With a loss to Texas Tech, “Press Virginia” falls a bit, though they’re still a great basketball team and should have every chance to compete for a Big 12 title.
4. Kansas State (13-2): Last week’s ranking, 4. Kansas State barely beat Texas, arguably the worst team in the conference, then barely lost to Kansas, arguably the best team in the conference. They seem very similar to Texas Tech right now in that they can compete with anyone but are also vulnerable to pretty much anyone in the league.
5. Iowa State (10-4): Last week’s ranking, 5. The Cyclones suffered a 2-point loss in Waco, which would have been huge for their tournament prospects. They also beat Texas by 9. Apart from a bad first half against Texas Tech, Iowa State has looked very solid in Big 12 play.
6. Texas Tech (12-3): Last week’s ranking, 7. Schedule wise, it was a brutal week for the Red Raiders. They played the two top teams in the Big 12 and managed a 1-1 split by upsetting West Virginia at home and hanging tough in Lawrence for the majority of the game against Kansas. They can prove a lot by winning tomorrow night at home against Kansas State.
7. TCU (12-3): Last week’s ranking, 6. Just like Texas Tech and Kansas State, TCU looks like they have a legitimate chance to win or lose any given conference game. They barely snuck past Oklahoma, a Big 12 bottom-feeder so far this year right after hanging tough with Kansas. But a 12-point loss to West Virginia lands the Frogs just below Tech this week, who managed to beat the Mountaineers.
8. Oklahoma State (10-5): Last week’s ranking, 8. In Big 12 terms, a loss to Texas is about as bad as it gets. The Cowboys followed that by playing Baylor very tight in Waco but fell just short. The Pokes very well could be an NCAA Tournament caliber team, so putting them at No. 8 is tough but it just speaks to the depth of the Big 12. They need to start winning to have a shot though.
9. Texas (7-8): Last week’s ranking, 10. Notching their first Big 12 win against Oklahoma State nearly had me screaming “Texas is back, folks!” But seriously, it was a good win for a team in need of one, and it’s enough to get the Horns out of the cellar in this week’s power rankings.
10. Oklahoma (6-8): Last week’s ranking, 9. The Sooners are pretty much in rebuild mode. They went 0-2 in Big 12 play last week and have the worst overall record in the conference.
Here are the Big 12 standings heading into this week, courtesy of ESPN: