Final Big 12 Basketball Power Rankings
The Big 12 basketball season came to an end on Friday night after Iowa State lost to UConn in the round of 16.
We haven’t updated the Big 12 Power Rankings since before the league tourney, and it’s time to tie a bow on the season before the Final Four heats up in Big 12 country this week.
Let’s take a closer look.
1. Iowa State 28-8, last ranking: 3. Thanks to a Friday night tipoff, the Cyclones were the last Big 12 team standing. Even after losing Georges Niang to a broken foot, ISU was playing some of the best basketball in the Big 12. Fred Hoiberg’s team steals the top spot from KU after beating the Jayhawks head to head, winning the Big 12 Tournament and reaching the Sweet 16.
2. Kansas 25-10, last ranking: 1. With Joel Embiid in the lineup, KU’s the best team in the Big 12, but considering he missed the final six games of the season, you have to make this ranking with that under consideration. The Jayhawks fell victim to an opponent seeded 9th or lower for the fifth time since 2005 and finished the season in underwhelming fashion (3-4 in final seven games) after clinching their 10th consecutive Big 12 regular season title. Losing Embiid was a big reason for that late slide, but there’s no excuse for allowing Stanford to end your season.
3. Baylor 26-12, last ranking: 4. The Bears got hot late and reached the Big 12 title game. That continued into the NCAA Tourney, where they advanced to the Sweet 16 with routs of Nebraska and Creighton, who boasted the national player of the year in Doug McDermott. Isaiah Austin’s NBA decision now awaits. The Bears will be much better off if he returns, but the biggest hole it needs to fill this offseason is a suitable backup point guard behind Kenny Chery.
5. Oklahoma 23-10, last ranking: 2. As soon as the bracket was revealed, the Sooners got put on upset alert against an experienced, underrated North Dakota State team. OU responded by being outplayed for almost 40 minutes and becoming the latest Big 12 team to fall victim to a herd of Bis(z)on. K-State feels your pain, Sooners. When teams 2-7 are this tight, it doesn’t take much to slide, and Oklahoma’s 0-2 performance in the postseason was enough to cause a tumble.
6. Oklahoma State 21-13, last ranking: 5. The Pokes finished the regular season with a flash, but didn’t record a quality win in the postseason after being bounced in the Big 12 quarters by Kansas and losing their NCAA Tourney opener to Gonzaga. The solid finish to the regular season may have saved Travis Ford’s job, but that won’t stop plenty of OSU folk from clamoring for a new man in charge in the next month.
7. Kansas State 20-13, last ranking: 6. Were the Wildcats satisfied after beating KU at home back on Feb. 10? The Wildcats fell victim to a horrible matchup by drawing Final Four participant Kentucky in the first round of the tournament, but after the emotional upset of the Jayhawks, K-State looked like a below average team, aside from an upset of Iowa State. The Wildcats beat TCU and Texas Tech, but suffered six losses in their final nine games and went 0-2 in the postseason. You fall to the bottom of the "Good Big 12 Teams" power rankings with results like that.
8. West Virginia 17-16, last ranking: 8. The Mountaineers’ midseason run provided brief NCAA Tournament hopes and hope for a bright future, but it’s hard to feel very optimistic now after the team’s top shooter and No. 2 scorer, Eron Harris, transferred after the season. At least Juwan Staten returns, and will be a strong candidate for Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year in 2014-15. The Mountaineers didn’t manage a postseason win in double-digit losses to Texas and Georgetown in the NIT, but they did play the game in what resembled a large closet.
So they’ve got that going for them.
9. Texas Tech 14-18, last ranking: 9. The Red Raiders had a handful of bright spots this year, but Tubby Smith’s rebuilding project is going to be a lot harder without Jordan Tolbert, who transferred after finishing the year as Tech’s No. 2 scorer. Tech seemed to run out of gas after winning five of eight games in the middle of the season. The Red Raiders followed that stretch with a six-game skid before upsetting Texas in its final game of the regular season.