Back in December we started these rankings by asking a simple question, can anyone knock off Kansas? Kansas opened up as the leader and odds on favorite to win their 14th consecutive Big 12 regular season title. Through the early season we saw both West Virginia and Oklahoma take the top spot in these rankings with Kansas dropping as far down as fifth after a double digit home loss. However the usual Kansas run through conference made it seem like lucky #14 was on its way to happening until the depth of the Big 12 reared its ugly head.
After suffering a crushing home loss to Oklahoma State, many wanted Kansas to be knocked off their pedestal last week, however for the reigning champions to be knocked off there cannot be an inkling of doubt who the top team is. After another Kansas loss and a certain team in Lubbock streaking, I think there’s no doubt who the top team in the Big 12 is right now......
1. Texas Tech (+1)
The Red Raiders have made the United Supermarkets arena a place noone wants to play in. Keepers of the fourth longest home winning streak in the nation and longest among power conference teams, Tech has made it nearly impossible for anyone to try to steal a road victory. Currently on a seven game winning streak, what has been more impressive are the recent road victories Tech has been able to win. Tech has now won three straight road victories including a 19-point road victory over tournament hopeful K-State. So much for Texas Tech being void of talent.
2. Kansas (-1)
After four straight weeks at the top, it was time for Kansas’ reign on these rankings to end, but is it time for their reign atop the conference to end? The streak will continue even if the Jayhawks are co-champions and despite their crushing blow against Baylor on Saturday, they still have a great opportunity to not only end Texas Tech’s home streak but also get back into that top spot. With the way both teams are playing currently, that is much easier said than done.
3. West Virginia (-)
The Mountaineers got bit by the upset against Oklahoma State on Saturday, but was able to rebound with a dominating victory versus TCU. Jevon Carter and company are finally seeing how hungry the rest of the conference is and are beginning to match that intensity. Though WVU is likely in the tournament, they need to still play like they are on the bubble, especially since they are only two games out of the top spot in the conference. With a matchup at Kansas this Saturday and then Texas Tech towards the end, Bob Huggins group has everything right in front of them.
4. Kansas State (-)
The Wildcats had a backwards week. They played a home game against Texas Tech and got smacked around then went to Stillwater and did some smacking themselves beating Oklahoma State. If K-State can go 3-2 with their remaining conference games, they should be comfortably in the tournament but any slip up further than that and they’ll be biting their nails come selection sunday.
5. Baylor (+3)
Welcome to the show Baylor Bears. It took the Bears all conference season but they’ve finally showed their ability. Manu Lecomte might’ve sealed his spot on the Big 12 all conference first team with his performance lately and with their win over Kansas last Saturday, they are moving up these rankings and onto people’s brackets. Baylor is currently on a four game winning streak and play a home game against Texas Tech who’s on a seven game winning streak. Something’s got to give but if Baylor can pull that off, eight Big 12 teams in the NCAA tournament becomes more likely.
6. Oklahoma (-1)
It’s a good thing Oklahoma racked up all those early season victories while they could, because there’s not a team in the conference that looks as bad as the Sooners right now. The Sooners have lost seven of their last nine and much of it has to do with the media attention surrounding Trae Young and the intensity opposing teams bring to them because of it. OU will have the opportunity to get back on track and avenge their loss to their rivals UT this Saturday in Norman.
7. TCU (-)
TCU will continue to just beat who they’re supposed to beat. I do not expect this team to have anymore upsets nor do I expect them to be upset. The Horned Frogs beat down a Texas team they were superior to at home and then went to West Virginia and promptly got flattened. This is the life of the Horned Frogs and one that will lead them to the NCAA tournament so I cannot say it’s a bad one, especially with a very favorable schedule coming up.
8. Texas (-2)
Over two weeks ago, the Viva twitter account posted this in regards to College Gameday making a poor choice in choosing Texas-Oklahoma game as their featured game.
Very good chance that TCU and K-State get ranked with wins today, so instead of featuring top 25 matchups between Tech-TCU or WVU-KSU, @CollegeGameDay has decided to feature Trae Young and a Texas team that probably won’t make the tourney........— Viva the Matadors (@vivathematadors) January 27, 2018
After that tweet, there was a bombardment of Texas fans that called us salty, and made claims like “Texas def makes the tourney.” Well I hate to break it to tweeter Jacob but right now Texas is barely holding on. Since that tweet, the Longhorns have lost three of four basketball games including a double-overtime home loss to Baylor. So much for the Frank Erwin Center being one of the toughest places to play.
9. Oklahoma State (-)
Oklahoma State head coach Mike Boynton must be the most confused man on the planet. Only his team could go to Lawrence and beat seventh ranked Kansas and also go to Morgantown and beat 19th ranked West Virginia yet struggle at home against Baylor and Kansas State. This team has so many signature wins but it’s ll for not as they have so many bad losses. There’s still plenty of opportunity for this team to move up as they have both Texas Tech and Kansas still on their remaining schedule but they may need to figure out how to beat TCU, Texas, and Iowa State instead.
10. Iowa State (-)
Speaking of Iowa State, they are actually building something special up there in Ames. The fruits of head coach Steve Prohm’s labor won’t be recognized till a year or so, but the foundation is definitely being set now. Lindell Wigginton and Cameron Lard are absolute monsters as freshman and are unlikely to enter the NBA draft just yet. An NIT berth could do wonders for this team in terms of development, but they still need to find a way to win away from home.