With the Big 12-SEC Challenge coming up, teams are looking to build on their success or attempt to regain confidence heading into the second half of conference play.
1. Oklahoma (17-2, 6-2) Last week: 1
It was another big week for the nation-leading Sooners. Oklahoma rebounded strong after their loss to Iowa State in Ames, Iowa. They soundly defeated Baylor in Waco, Texas, before blowing out Texas Tech at home. A very interesting test awaits the Sooners on Saturday, as they head down to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to take on Ben Simmons and LSU.
2. Iowa State (16-4, 5-3) Last week: 4
After taking down TCU in Fort Worth, Texas, (a road win is a road win) and a landmark win versus Kansas at home, the Cyclones continue to be the hottest team in the Big 12. The Cyclones will attempt to continue their streak and take down their second top five team in a week when they head down to College Station, Texas, to play No. 5 Texas A&M. A win will most likely propel them near the top five in the NCAA Rankings.
3. West Virginia (17-3, 6-2) Last week: 2
The Mountaineers have won two in a row after dropping two games to Oklahoma and Texas. Unfortunately for West Virginia, those two wins were against two of the bottom teams in the conference. Iowa State’s wins were more impressive, so they moved up. West Virginia has the Gators in Florida before heading to Ames, Iowa, to play Iowa State.
4. Baylor (16-4, 6-2) Last week: 3
Scott Drew’s team had a real chance to take sole control of the conference when they had Oklahoma at home, but the Sooners proved to be too much. The conference is too competitive to drop home games if you want to stay on top.
5. Kansas (16-4, 5-3) Last week: 5
Do not count out the Jayhawks. This is not the first time in the past decade of dominance where all has seemed lost. Time, however, is running out for KU to figure out how to win a road game. Confidence and spirits, of both fans and players, would be raised with a win versus Kentucky on Saturday.
6. Texas (13-7, 5-3) Last week: 6
Shaka Smart’s team is heading in the right direction. They put up a good fight versus the Jayhawks in Lawrence, but Allen Fieldhouse still comes with one of the best home-court advantages in the country. As of now, they’re definitely a tournament team with the talent to maybe make some noise come March.
7. K-State (12-8, 2-6) Last week: 8
One step forward and two steps back is a cliché. It’s a cliché, however, that K-State is embodying. After soundly beating Oklahoma State in a must-win game, the Wildcats looked awful on the road against West Virginia, playing what was possibly their worst game of the season. The Wildcats must find consistency soon if they want to make it back to the postseason. A win over Ole Miss would be a good resume win toward that end.
8. Oklahoma State (10-10, 2-6) Last week: 7
Things do not look good in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Fans were very upset with their team’s effort against K-State last Saturday. A loss against Baylor at home is just another foible for team looking to really tun the corner. A win over Bruce Pearl’s Auburn team on the road on Saturday wouldn’t be too bad either.
9. Texas Tech (12-8, 2-6) Last week: 9
After their win against TCU in Fort Worth, Texas, the Red Raiders seemingly took a step in the right direction when they took West Virginia to the wire at home. They lost that game, but when you are at the point Tech is at, you have to count every moral victory. Then the Red Raiders got thumped by the Sooners in Norman, Oklahoma. Big 12 life is hard, especially when you don’t have a player-of-the-year candidate. They have a big opportunity against a struggling Arkansas team on Saturday to gain a little more confidence.
10. TCU (9-11, 1-7) Last week: 10
I don’t know how Texas lost to TCU earlier in the season. I also don’t know how TCU is going to win another game in this conference. A win on Saturday against a struggling Tennessee team would at least guarantee the Horned Frogs 10 wins.