Big 12 Basketball Power Rankings
FEB 16, 2014 10:37p ET
It seemed like half the Big 12 had a big win and a crushing loss last week, which can serve to complicate the power rankings quite a bit.
Here's how the Big 12 looks heading into the season's final few weeks.
1. Kansas 19-6, 10-2 Big 12. Last week: 1. Losing at your rival, a borderline top 25 team playing in a crazed atmosphere? There's no shame in KU dropping an overtime game at Kansas State, and the Jayhawks took care of business at home against TCU on Saturday. Texas is looming, but the only real drama left for the Jayhawks is if they can win their way to a 1-seed.
2. Texas 20-5, 9-3 Big 12. Last week: 3. The Longhorns were the better team in both games they played this week, and showed it with convincing wins against Oklahoma State and West Virginia. Jonathan Holmes' knee is something to keep an eye on down the stretch (he missed Tuesday's game and played 21 minutes vs. WVU), but the Longhorns have won 9 of 10 games with their only loss coming on the road at K-State. With 20 wins, Texas already has four more than it did all last season.
3. Iowa State 19-5, 7-5 Big 12. Last week: 2. Texas Tech put a scare into the Cyclones a few days after ISU was routed in Morgantown. Beating Tech keeps Fred Hoiberg's team in the top 3 this week, and the heavyweights are behind this squad, which should finish strong. Over its final six games, Iowa State plays just two opponents (vs. Texas on Tuesday, at K-State March 1) in the top half of this week's power rankings.
4. Kansas State 17-8, 7-5 Big 12. Last week: 6. The Wildcats managed to beat KU for the fourth time in, uh, 52 tries. The court-storming came and went with no players or fans producing headline-worthy incidents, which is nice in the wake of the incident in Lubbock last week. I'm torn on what to take away from Saturday's loss at Baylor, though. On the one hand, the Bears have looked hopeless at times this year. On the other, Baylor is a very hungry, very talented team, despite its record. Time will tell. The Wildcats are playing good basketball and have a solid inside-outside balance with Marcus Foster and Thomas Gibson. They need Shane Southwell to get healthy and back on the floor.
5. West Virginia 15-11, 7-6 Big 12. Last week: 4. When Juwan Staten and Eron Harris combine to shoot 11-of-31, WVU's going to have problems. That's what we saw against Texas, but WVU validated its recent run by routing Iowa State 102-77. The duo shot 13-of-27 in that game. WVU is the most interesting bubble team in the league, considering how out-of-nowhere its midseason rally has been. More tests are coming in the final five games of the season, with a trip to Ames and a home game against KU.
6. Oklahoma 19-7, 8-5 Big 12. Last week: 5. Even when your opponent's down to what's really a five-man rotation, rivalry games on their home floor are never easy. OU survived and bounced back from a tough mid-week loss to Texas Tech. Ryan Spangler turned in his 10th double-double of the season against the Cowboys with 12 points and 13 boards. With WVU and K-State's big wins last week, I had to drop Oklahoma for two unimpressive results. It's tight in the middle of the league.
7. Texas Tech 13-12, 5-7 Big 12. Last week: 7. The Red Raiders won three Big 12 games last season. They equaled that total in 11 days with three consecutive wins capped by Wednesday's upset of Oklahoma. Tech's far from the most talented team in the Big 12, but as Tubby Smith recruits and his players become more indoctrinated into the way he runs his program, you're going to see more results like we saw the last couple weeks in Lubbock. This team loves playing for Smith, and it shows. The energy is there, and this team hasn't rolled over once in Big 12 play.
8. Baylor 16-9, 4-8 Big 12. Last week: 9. The Bears beat TCU and Kansas State, but is that sign of things to come or a bright spot in a dark, dark season? Brady Heslip provided a miracle three at the buzzer to take K-State into the first of two overtimes. The Bears wouldn't be in the NCAA Tourney if it began today, but with games against Iowa State and Texas ahead, they could play their way in. They need to start by beating an undermanned Oklahoma State squad on Monday night.
9. Oklahoma State 16-9, 4-8 Big 12. Last week: 8. Marcus Smart watched Saturday's loss from the locker room, and you'd assume he'll do the same on Monday night against Baylor at Gallagher-Iba Arena. The three-game suspension will end on Monday, and we haven't seen a win for OSU during that stretch. It hasn't been for a lack of effort. Markel Brown played outstanding (26 points on 16 shots, nine rebounds) against the Sooners, and I love that OSU discovered walk-on Mason Cox as a future contributor last week. Still, for those keeping count, OSU's losing streak has now reached seven games.
10. TCU 9-15, 0-12 Big 12. Last week: 10. The Frogs' two losses this week came by 33 and 30 points. Just four of TCU's losses in Big 12 play have come by single digits. "Itâs nice being in Lawrence," coach Trent Johnson said as he left his postgame press conference. "Hopefully, Iâll be able to come back next year if I donât kill myself in the meantime." Welcome to Fort Worth!