TIPOFF: Big 12 Power Rankings: Cyclones gain firm hold of conference

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1. No. 9 Iowa State (14-3, 4-1)

Sitting tied atop of conference, the Cyclones already own a victory against the top-seeded Jayhawks.

The Cyclones do one thing exceedingly well: score. Averaging 80.1 points per game, Iowa State is not only the best scoring team in the Big 12, but also one of the best scoring teams in the nation.

Iowa State has an abundance of scorers. They also know how to get the ball into the hands of the right people at the right time, being the top team in the country in assists per game (18.4).

2. No. 11 Kansas (15-3, 4-1)

The Jayhawks entered the season favorites to win at least a share of their 11th-straight Big 12 title. Chances are they’ll still be in the race come late February. The Jayhawks simply have too much talent to slip far in the standings.

The Jayhawks rebound and shoot better than most teams in the conference. However, problems with turnovers could cause them issues down the road.

3. No. 17 Texas (14-4, 3-2)

The Longhorns came into the season with a highly touted front court. After a slow start, the front court has finally started to wake up.

Texas’ posts allow them to rebound and punish teams near the basket. This size, paired with their phenomenal ability to score at the point of attack, will allow the Longhorns to remain near the top of the conference.

4. K-State (11-8, 4-2)

After a dreadful nonconference season, the Wildcats have stormed out of the gate at the start of conference play, surprising more and more people along the way.

K-State’s issues have come late in games, including problems with extending leads. While wins by close margins are still wins, they could easily be losses. Take Texas Southern, for example.

5. No. 18 West Virginia (15-3, 3-2)

Talk about flying under the radar; the Mountaineers have cemented themselves in the top 25; however, they are just 1-2 against ranked Big 12 teams through five conference games. That mark will have to improve if West Virginia wishes to be in the title hunt.

6. No. 19 Oklahoma (12-6, 3-3)

After starting the season with a high-ceiling, Oklahoma has slipped up in conference play. The Sooners beat Baylor and Texas, but have now lost three of their last four to move to .500 in the conference.

Oklahoma has a huge upside and can climb back into title contention, but it will need its supporting cast to rally around junior guard Buddy Heild, who’s the conference’s leading scorer.

7. No. 21 Baylor (14-4, 2-3)

For some, it’s hard to fathom why a ranked team is so far down its own conference’s power ranking. But a temporary ranking cannot make up for a poor start to the conference. Also, playing a NAIA team like Huston-Tilloston midway through the Big 12 season doesn’t help gain respect.

8. Oklahoma State (13-5, 3-3)

After starting their conference schedule 2-1, the Cowboys lost their last two games by a combined 27 points to Kansas and Oklahoma.

Oklahoma State has two of the best scorers in the conference in senior guard Le’Bryan Nash and junior guard Phil Forte III, who are the second (17.7 ppg) and third best (17.4 ppg) scorers in the conference, respectively. But consistency will be needed in Stillwater if the Cowboys hope to contend.

9. TCU (14-4, 1-4)

Undefeated described the Horned Frogs up until the Big 12 season started. Since then,TCU has seemingly been battered and beaten throughout the first part of their conference slate.

To make matters worse, TCU’s schedule doesn’t get any easier, having nine of its remaining 13 games against ranked opponents. Such is the life of a Big 12 team.

10. Texas Tech (10-9, 0-6)

Under head coach Tubby Smith, the Red Raiders are a combined 6-17 the past two conference seasons. In Big 12 play this season, the Red Raiders have a scoring margin of -15.8 points per game, a mark that shows just how south Texas Tech’s season has gone since the New Year.

Emilio Rivera is a sophomore in mass communications.

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