With the 2019-20 Big 12 Men’s Basketball season now in Big 12 play, here are the HeartlandCollegeSports.com power rankings as of Jan. 13.
1. Baylor (Last rankings: 1)
The Bears are undefeated in league action and beat nationally-ranked Texas Tech and Kansas on the road in back-to-back games. Any questions?
Next: The Bears host Iowa State on Wednesday and travel to Oklahoma State on Saturday.
2. West Virginia (Last rankings: 4)
Gotta move them up, right? Beating Oklahoma State on Monday was the easy part. Beating Texas Tech at home on Saturday was the hard part. Head coach Bob Huggins is running 10 or 11 players out there every night, and the rise of Miles McBride has the potential to adjust the dynamic of this team profoundly. When I compare them to Kansas, right now, the Mountaineers are playing better, especially defensively.
Next: The Mountaineers host TCU on Tuesday and travel to Kansas State on Saturday.
3. Kansas (Last rankings: 2)
Kansas drops a spot after the loss to Baylor. Udoka Azubuike’s dunks grab the highlight reels, but Devon Doston is the team’s most important player and he can’t score just 9 points against a ranked team and expect the Jayhawks to win. But Kansas has had early losses each of the last two league seasons and bounced back.
Next: Kansas is at Oklahoma on Tuesday and at Texas on Saturday.
4. Texas Tech (Last rankings: 3)
I wrote quite a bit in my Good, Bad and Ugly piece on Tech and why I think they went 0-2 last week. This is still a very talented team that has the potential to challenge everyone in this league, make the NCAA Tournament and win a couple of tournament games. But they’re in a lull right now, that’s for certain.
Next: Texas Tech is at Kansas State on Tuesday and hosts Iowa State on Saturday.
5. TCU (Last rankings: 7)
In two weeks TCU has done from No. 10 to No. 5 in our Power Rankings. Are they the No. 5 team for the long haul? Hard to say. They have a great core of three vets in Desmond Bane, Kevin Samuel and R.J. Nembhard. They’re developing some solid young players and they’ve taken on a more defensive mentality. All are good things to have for the long haul. As the only other undefeated team in league action, for now, they deserve this spot. But the road ahead is bumpy.
Next: TCU is at West Virginia on Tuesday and at Oklahoma on Saturday.
6. Oklahoma (Last rankings: 5)
The Sooners drop to No. 6 more because of TCU than because of its loss to Iowa State, though to be honest that was a bad loss on the road. Based on watching them the first three games I don’t see them as a team that will dip too far down into the league standings. They’re consistent, have depth and play with great effort.
Next: The Sooners host Kansas on Tuesday and host TCU on Saturday.
7. Texas (Last rankings: 6)
The loss to OU on the home floor was the first of the Shaka Smart era. The win over Kansas State was much needed. I talked in my Wednesday postgame Periscope about what I thought was Texas’ strategic blunder in the loss to OU — too many 3-pointers taken. Well, the Longhorns took just as many against Kansas State. They just made more. If that’s going to be their identity, they have to be more accurate. Starting Courtney Ramey on Saturday certainly helped.
Next: Texas is at Oklahoma State on Wednesday and hosts Kansas on Saturday.
8. Iowa State (Last rankings: 8)
Iowa State will hold steady here, even if the 0-2 start doesn’t look great on the resume. As a team they’re in better shape than the final two teams on this list. Rasir Bolton’s rise has been nice to watch, as has the consistent play of George Conditt IV. Conditt was rewarded with a start in place of Solomon Young in Saturday’s win. Let’s see if head coach Steve Prohm keeps it that way.
Next: Iowa State travels to Baylor on Wednesday and Texas Tech on Saturday.
9. Kansas State (Last rankings: 9)
I made my points about Kansas State’s lack of player development the past two seasons in my Good, Bad and Ugly piece. There’s a reason two true freshmen are making significant contributions at this point in the season. But, even with that, they’re playing better than No. 10 on this list.
Next: The Wildcats host Texas Tech on Tuesday and West Virginia on Saturday.
10. Oklahoma State (Last rankings: 10)
I saw Oklahoma State in person on Saturday. They’re shooting less than 30 percent in Big 12 action. Against TCU Lindy Waters III and Thomas Dziagwa failed to score. This is a team that, at the moment, isn’t headed much of anywhere. Even at that there’s hope, because the team has talent. But head coach Mike Boynton needs to start maximizing it.
Next: The Cowboys host Texas on Wednesday and Baylor on Saturday.
Note: Our next update will come on Jan. 20.
**We now have FREE Big 12 Forums here at Heartland College Sports. Go sign up here and join our conversation! **