1. Kansas (27-4, 15-3) Last week: 1
Kansas has struggled as of late in postseason performance, especially the conference tournament. The Jayhawks have only been to the conference tournament championship twice in the past four years and have only won it once, despite being the top seed all four years. Winning the tournament this year will really show me how serious Bill Self’s team is to do some damage in March.
2. West Virginia (24-7, 13-5) Last week: 2
Man, for a team that was picked sixth at the start of the season, the Mountaineers aren’t hardly getting any credit for their performance this season. If they get going, they’ll be tough to beat in Kansas City, Missouri, and might be a sexy pick to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Bob Huggins didn’t get any Coach of the Year mentions, but what he has done this year in Morgantown, West Virginia, has been pretty special.
3. Oklahoma (24-6, 12-6) Last week: 3
Postseason play is where teams that have players like senior guard Buddy Hield tend to shine. The problem that arises is, did Oklahoma burn off its fuel before getting out of the atmosphere of the Big 12? The Sooners’ play the last several weeks, including a very ho-hum 8-point win versus TCU and holding on for dear life versus Baylor after leading by a bunch, has been very uninspiring. The Sooners have the pieces, but they just need to find that magic level once again.
4. Iowa State (21-10, 10-8) Last week: 6
The Cyclones are back-to-back defending Big 12 Tournament champions. If Iowa State can avoid depth problems — which I’m sure I’ve mentioned 1,000 times in these rankings over the weeks — then there’s no reason the Cyclones can’t make it a three-peat. They have the talent and experience.
5. Texas (20-11, 11-7) Last week: 4
The Longhorns can still feel the smackdown KU laid on them at home on Senior Day. Texas recovered OK in its final game of the season, beating Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Oklahoma, but the Longhorns still need to show me they can play at that high level they were at roughly two weeks ago.
6. Texas Tech (19-11, 9-9) Last week: 7
Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith was named Coach of the Year by his peers, and I agree wholeheartedly. The Red Raiders were picked to finish dead last in the conference, and based on how bad they were last year, they had every right to be. But now Tech is NCAA Tournament bound and is a super unfortunate first-round matchup for any team.
7. Baylor (21-10, 10-8) Last week: 5
The Bears had a real chance to cement themselves in the top half of this week’s rankings before falling to the top three ranked teams in their past four games. Baylor is solidly in the tournament so there’s no worry about that, but a run in the Big 12 Tournament (which the Bears have been known to do) will improve their seeding on selection Sunday.
8. K-State (16-15, 5-13) Last week: 8
The worst K-State can do is lose on Wednesday to Oklahoma State and end the season at .500, missing postseason play for the second year in a row. That may be an improvement from last season, but Wildcat fans definitely won’t be satisfied. To calm the water, the Wildcats need to get themselves into the NIT and make a deep run. Anything less leaves a lot of discomfort and uncertainty over another long offseason for Wildcat fans.
9. Oklahoma State (12-19, 3-15) Last week: 9
You’d think Stillwater had been through enough, but this season has seen the Cowboys navigating new lows not seen in north-central Oklahoma in quite some time. I’m sure more than a few Cowboys fans are secretly hopeful for a K-State win so their nightmare can finally end.
10. TCU (11-20, 2-16) Last week: 10
I’m running out of ways to say that TCU is really bad. There’s not even the venom you get from seeing Kansas football be bad and the joy derived from that. TCU is just sad. Hopefully with a lot of talented seniors exiting the conference after this season, the Horned Frogs can get a foothold for the future.