Big 12 Basketball Power Rankings
West Virginia’s up, Baylor and Oklahoma State continue to fall and Kansas maintains its spot at the top.
Let’s get to this week’s power rankings.
1. Kansas 18-5, 9-1 Big 12. Last week: 1: Frank Mason: Ankle-breaker extraordinaire.
KU’s road loss to Texas last week seems pretty far in the rearview mirror. You can’t respond much better than Kansas did. It went on the road and soundly beat Baylor by 17 and controlled a red-hot West Virginia team for 40 minutes in a 14-point win. Expect a bigtime crowd on Monday night at Bramlage for the Sunflower Showdown. Kansas isn’t beating K-State by 26 this time.
2. Iowa State 18-4, 6-4 Big 12. Last week: 3 : We haven’t seen a performance like the one Melvin Ejim turned in on Saturday against TCU in a long, long time. His 48-point, 18-rebound day was the most ever by an ISU player against a league opponent and surpassed Marcus Smart’s high of 39 for the most points by a Big 12 player this season.
According to Iowa State, he’s the only player in the country averaging 18 points, eight rebounds and shooting 50 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3-point range.
3. Texas 18-5, 7-3 Big 12. Last week: 2: The Longhorns’ seven-game winning streak was snapped, but it’s easy to overlook just how good Texas during that stretch. Four of the seven wins were by double digits, and of those four wins, three came against ranked opponents, including Kansas. The Longhorns got outplayed badly in Manhattan on Saturday, but Texas isn’t showing many other signs of slowing as it hits the conference home stretch.
4. West Virginia 14-10, 6-5 Big 12. Last week: 6: People don’t realize how well this team is playing, despite Saturday’s loss to Kansas. I’m not going to penalize anybody for losing at Allen Fieldhouse, unless it’s by 20 or more. The Mountaineers had won four out of their last five games before the KU loss, including solid home wins over Kansas State and Oklahoma.
5. Oklahoma 18-6, 7-4 Big 12. Last week: 4: The poor Sooners. Their travel woes this week were well-chronicled, and the struggles of playing a game after a trip like that and arriving at the arena 90 minutes before tip-off are more than just an excuse. OU bounced back with a nice win over Baylor, and Texas Tech comes to town on Wednesday before a Saturday game in Stillwater for Bedlam, Part II.
6. Kansas State 16-7, 6-4 Big 12. Last week: 7: Marcus Foster showed another flash of just how special he can be on Saturday, lighting up the Longhorns for 34 points on just 16 shots. I was most impressed with his shot selection, which has been an issue at times. Saturday, it was almost perfect. All his fireworks overshadowed K-State limiting Texas to just 18 points in the first half, too. If the Wildcats can figure out how to play well on the road, they could be very, very dangerous. Bruce Weber’s team is just 1-4 away from the Octagon of Doom this season, and the only win came against 0-10 TCU.
7. Texas Tech 12-11, 4-6 Big 12. Last week: 9: I feel bad for the Red Raiders, whose huge win on Saturday night was overshadowed by Marcus Smart’s Shove Heard Round The World. Tubby Smith’s Tech squad has now equaled its total Big 12 wins in the past two seasons combined, including wins over talented, albeit underachieving Oklahoma State and Baylor teams.
8. Oklahoma State 16-7, 4-6 Big 12. Last week: 5: There’s no debate over the theme song of Oklahoma State’s past month. Between Marcus Smart’s recent incidents, Stevie Clark’s dismissal last week and a four-game losing streak, OSU is dropping faster than Felix Baumgartner. The Cowboys have some time to get it together late in the season and get off the bubble, but losing Marcus Smart for three games only makes that task more difficult.
9. Baylor 14-9, 2-8 Big 12. Last week: 8: Speaking of freefalls, Baylor has now lost seven of its last eight games, with the only win since Jan. 11 coming against Oklahoma State. The Bears have plenty of talent and entered conference play as one of the hottest teams in the Big 12. Now, 10 games into league play, they lead only TCU in the Big 12 standings.
10. TCU 9-13, 0-10 Big 12. Last week: 10: Late execution cost TCU on Tuesday night against Texas in a game that was within reach. The Frogs will nab a win somewhere before the season’s over, but not on the road if they’re letting guys on top 25 teams drop 48 points on them. Yikes.