It’s been a crazy week in the most competitive conference in the country. Here’s a look at the first power rankings of the season as I try to make sense out of all of the madness.
1. Oklahoma (15-2, 4-2)
Apparently even Oklahoma star Buddy Hield is no match for Hilton Magic. The Sooners, even though they will most likely lose their No. 1 ranking in the poll, still hang on to the top spot in the power rankings after a close loss in Ames, Iowa, to the Iowa State Cyclones. A big bounce-back game is set for Saturday against Baylor in Waco, Texas.
2. West Virginia (15-3, 4-2)
Less than a week ago, the Mountaineers were very close to being on top of the world after upsetting No. 1 Kansas paired with a matchup with No. 2 Oklahoma later that week. The ‘Eers lost a squeaker to the Sooners and then laid an egg at home five days later versus Texas. You could have had it all Huggs… you could have had it all…
3. Baylor (15-3, 5-1)
The Bears are probably the hottest team in the conference right now as they sit atop the Big 12 standings after beating K-State in double overtime. But with four of their wins coming against the bottom tier of the conference, the Bears’ very nice come-from-behind win against Iowa State stands as their only victory over a currently ranked team. Legitimacy, thy name is Oklahoma on Saturday.
4. Iowa State (14-4, 3-3)
The Cyclones have turned a corner in conference play after their 1-3 start with a solid win over K-State and an upset victory over Oklahoma, the No. 1 team in the country. Now, the Cyclones must play two games in three days as they travel down to Ft. Worth, Texas, to take on lowly TCU before welcoming Kansas into Ames. Getting both wins would put Iowa State firmly back in the top 10.
5. Kansas (15-4, 4-2)
The Jayhawks are not playing good basketball right now, especially on the road. They got smacked around in Morgantown, West Virginia, (understandable since the Mountaineers are good) and then lost by 19 to Oklahoma State. They have a hot Texas team at home to help get their feet under them again before heading back out onto the road to face an even hotter Iowa State team. We’ve learned that counting out Bill Self’s bunch is a mistake, but it’s fly or die time for Kansas’ chance at 12 straight Big 12 titles.
6. Texas (12-6, 4-2)
After starting off conference play going 1-2 with losses to both Texas Tech and TCU, the blood pressure in Austin, Texas, skyrocketed. But, with three straight wins, including Iowa State at home and an ugly win over an angry West Virginia team in Morgantown, head coach Shaka Smart is starting to make some noise in his first year in the Big 12. Texas will be a headache to several more teams in the final two-thirds of the conference season.
7. Oklahoma State (10-8, 2-4)
The Cowboys took down native son Bill Self and Kansas, and they didn’t even need Marcus Smarts’ help to do it. Basketball has been a struggle down in Stillwater this season, but the Cowboys’ win over the Jayhawks puts their next opponent (K-State) on notice that they don’t plan to go out quietly. It’s too soon to decide if the Cowboys are legit, but if burgeoning freshman star Jawun Evans keeps having career nights, things could get interesting.
7. K-State (11-7, 1-5)
I’d like to give all K-State fans a hug, but that would require hugging myself and apparently people stare at you when you do that in public. Out of K-State’s five conference losses, four were against top-25 teams, four were by 10 points or less, two were against current top-10 teams and two were in double overtime. K-State needs to catch a break, and with Oklahoma State coming to Manhattan on Saturday, maybe they can get that win and use it as a springboard. Just please, no more overtimes; my heart is weak.
9. Texas Tech (12-5, 2-4)
Tech is better. Not significantly better, but better. Their win against TCU on Tuesday ensures that, for now, they’ll stay out of the Big 12 basement. Until then, they have to beat someone better than Texas to turn heads in this league.
10. TCU (9-9, 1-5)
What can I say TCU? You seem nice. Horned Frogs head coach Trent Johnson has become one of my favorite quotes in the Big 12. Your new stadium looks nice. Uh… Man that Alamo Bowl win was something, wasn’t it…