Big 12 Hoops power rankings
Big 12 play is barely underway, but we’ve already seen some big moves in the Big 12 Power Rankings. Here’s how the league sits heading into the early stages of the league schedule.
1. Iowa State 14-1, 2-1 Big 12: There’s no question Iowa State has looked like the best team in the Big 12 so far this year, and are probably the nation’s best team at Hilton Coliseum. Oklahoma proved they’re mortal away from Ames, though, handing the Cyclones their first loss of the year on Saturday. ISU’s Big 12 title hopes depend on DeAndre Kane’s ankle injury not being one that lingers. Even if he’s not back against Kansas on Monday night, a second loss might be too much for ISU to overcome and win a Big 12 regular season title.
2. Baylor 13-2, 1-1 Big 12: The Bears’ only losses this season are away from home against top 10 teams in Iowa State and Syracuse. There’s not a deeper team in the Big 12, and Taurean Prince’s 23 points off the bench in a blowout win over TCU on Saturday was a good example. BU’s second team is strong in the frontcourt and backcourt. Ageless wonder Brady Heslip is shooting 49.4 percent from three this season, the best mark in the league.
3. Kansas 11-4, 2-0 Big 12: KU was largely unimpressive in nonconference play, but does anyone else get the feeling the Jayhawks are going to choke hold the rest of the Big 12 into a 10th straight league title? Saturday’s win over K-State was dominant, and KU can make a big statement with a win at Iowa State on Monday night.
4. Oklahoma State 14-2, 2-1 Big 12: The Cowboys miss big man Michael Cobbins (torn Achilles, out for season) badly, and dodged a bullet with Markel Brown’s game-winning three at West Virginia on Saturday. Road wins are as good as gold in any conference. Freshman guard Stevie "Teflon Don" Clark remaining on the court after a November suspension and January 1 arrest is equal parts baffling and impressive.
5. Kansas State 12-4, 2-1 Big 12: Freshman Marcus Foster has been a breakout star this year, and K-State has rebounded nicely from a 2-3 start back in November. Junior Thomas Gipson gives the Wildcats a nice inside-outside attack.
6. Oklahoma 13-3, 2-1 Big 12: The Sooners knocked off the last undefeated team in the Big 12 on Saturday in Norman for their best win of the season. OU’s balance (five players average double-figure scoring) is the Sooners’ best asset. Leading scorer Cam Clark had an off day against ISU (4-of-16 shooting, five turnovers) and his teammates still picked up the slack to pull the upset.
7. Texas 12-4, 1-2 Big 12: The Longhorns’ strong nonconference performance has been marred a bit by a 1-2 start in Big 12 play, though one of those losses was on the road at Oklahoma State. Texas can’t afford to lose home games against teams like OU if it’s going to stay afloat in Big 12 play and climb into NCAA Tournament contention.
8. West Virginia 10-6, 2-1 Big 12: The OSU home loss was a heartbreaker and kept WVU from jumping out to a 3-0 start in Big 12 play, including road wins at Texas Tech and TCU. The schedule toughens up with road trips to K-State, OSU and Baylor in the next two weeks.
9. Texas Tech 8-8, 0-3 Big 12: Late game execution is to blame for Tech’s 0-3 start in Big 12 play. It led in the final minute at Texas and lost a home decision to West Virginia after leading by three in the final minute as well.
10. TCU 9-6, 0-3 Big 12: The Horned Frogs have faced two ranked teams this year, both in its last two Big 12 games. It lost them by 18 and 26 points and fell to 9-6. Oof.