Monday’s Bedlam matchup might introduce some intrigue into these rankings, but I sense the last two weeks will be a trend in the Big 12 for the rest of the season: KU… trailed by a complete train wreck.
Let’s try and piece this league together in this week’s power rankings.
1. Kansas 15-4, 6-0 Big 12. Last week: 1. The Jayhawks just keep getting better and better. They’ll slip up on the road a few times in conference play, but two games is a gigantic lead this early in the regular season title race for this team.
2. Oklahoma State 16-3, 4-2 Big 12. Last week: 2. OSU finding ways to win conference games when Marcus Smart plays poorly is a very, very good sign. Also, Markel Brown makes me a little weak in the knees. If Oklahoma State doesn’t make the Final Four, I hope we see him in North Texas for the college dunk contest. Don’t hurt ’em, Markel.
There may not have been a more reckless 360 dunk attempt in college hoops history. Remember, that was to tie the game in the second half. I feel like its lack of necessity and brashness made it that much better, and it certainly ignited the crowd. Oh yeah, and cemented Brown’s status as a legendary dunker. Love it.
3. Texas 16-4, 5-2 Big 12. Last week: 7. Besides Kansas, Texas is the Big 12’s hottest team. Its five-game winning streak includes three consecutive wins over ranked teams for the first time in school history entering this week. Its reward? It hosts Kansas at home next Saturday for a huge game that could thrust Texas into Big 12 contender status.
4. Iowa State 15-3, 3-3 Big 12. Last week: 4. The Cyclones ended their three-game losing streak with a nice home win on Saturday against top 25 Kansas State. For all the attention paid DeAndre Kane, Melvin Ejim is still ISU’s leading scorer and hung a nice stat line against the Wildcats with 20 points, nine boards, three steals and three blocks.
5. Kansas State 14-6, 4-3 Big 12. Last week: 3. It’s going to be tough for K-State to win games when Thomas Gipson has just four points. Marcus Foster was decent in the Iowa State loss, but it feels like K-State is playing above its head quite a bit over the last month. It needs at least two-thirds of Gipson, Foster and Shane Southwell to be on most nights to keep this run going.
6. Oklahoma 16-4, 5-2 Big 12. Last week: 5. The Sooners own a three-game winning streak, including a road win at Baylor. OU also knocked off Iowa State at home, and should have a strong whiteout crowd for Bedlam on Monday night and OSU hasn’t won in Norman in nine tries. Road wins in the Big 12 are never easy, so OU should feel good about grabbing a solid win in Lubbock. Three OU guards topped 15 points out in west Texas.
7. Baylor 13-6, 1-5 Big 12. Last week: 6. I sat and watched Baylor beat Kentucky in person a little over a month ago. The Bears looked legit, and challenged Iowa State for the most impressive nonconference performance of any team in the Big 12. The recent slide has been shocking, and the Bears will have to rely on that nonconference slate that included wins over UK, Colorado and South Carolina to get them in the tournament if they can’t get it fixed in the second half of the conference slate.
8. Texas Tech 10-10, 2-5 Big 12. Last week: 8. The Red Raiders are probably playing like an NIT team right now (for this team, that’s a compliment, by the way), but early losses in nonconference play may make it difficult to get there. Tech is improving, but the depth of the Big 12 is going to make cracking .500 difficult.
9. West Virginia 11-9, 3-4 Big 12. Last week: 9. WVU has lost a pair of heartbreakers to Oklahoma State, and still has yet to log a solid win this season.
10. TCU 9-10, 0-7 Big 12. Last week: 10. Trent Johnson was pretty happy with his team’s effort and the way it played against Kansas. The Jayhawks won the game on TCU’s home floor by 22 points. TCU’s fighting for relevance, but the gap between the Frogs and the rest of the league is still pretty wide.