The Baylor Bears are No. 1 in the Heartland College Sports Big 12 men’s basketball power rankings as of March 8. This will be our final power rankings going into the Big 12 Tournament, which starts on Wednesday.
1. Baylor (21-1, 13-1) (Last Week: 2)
Results this past week: def. West Virginia, 94-89 (OT); def. Oklahoma State, 81-70; def. Texas Tech, 88-73.
The Bears are back and they’re not going anywhere. After a three-game week in which they beat three ranked teams, the Bears go into the Big 12 Tournament on a wave of momentum. They now look like the team that was undefeated and No. 2 in the country before their COVID-19 pause in February. That’s bad news for the rest of the Big 12, and bad news for anyone the Bears play in the NCAA Tournament. As a bonus, the Bears made history by winning their first conference title since 1950. And they did it in Morgantown.
2. Oklahoma State (18-7, 11-7) (Last week: 4)
Results this past week: def. Oklahoma, 79-75; lost to Baylor, 81-70; def. West Virginia, 85-80.
Aside from Baylor, there isn’t a hotter team in the Big 12 than Oklahoma State. The Cowboys won six of their final seven games in conference play, including wins over four ranked teams. Their win over West Virginia on Saturday was huge, and not just because it knocked West Virginia out of the No. 2 seed in the Big 12 Tournament. The Cowboys won that game without Cade Cunningham and Isaac Likekele, their two best players. That’s a huge momentum boost going into the Big 12 tournament. I would not want to play this team in the NCAA Tournament.
3. Kansas (19-8, 12-6) (Last week: 3)
Results this past week: def. UTEP, 67-62.
That win over UTEP was supposed to be a cakewalk. Instead it turned into a red alert on Thursday night. The Jayhawks were fortunate to come back and win that game, and it probably gave head coach Bill Self plenty of talking points going into the Big 12 Tournament. Right now, Oklahoma State is playing better than Kansas. But don’t count the Jayhawks out in Kansas City and beyond. Kansas won six of its final seven conference games.
4. Texas (17-7, 11-6) (Last week: 7)
Results this past week: def. Iowa State, 81-67; def. Oklahoma, 69-65; def. TCU, 76-64.
This was EXACTLY the week the Longhorns needed. Three games, three wins, with one coming over a ranked team in Oklahoma. The Longhorns now carry momentum into the Big 12 Tournament, and thanks to some things that happened outside of their control, the Longhorns go in as a No. 3 seed. That’s not quite where I pegged them a few weeks ago. But this Longhorns team is starting to resemble that team we saw in January, a team that I thought could challenge for the Sweet 16.
5. West Virginia (18-8, 11-6) (Last Week: 1)
Results this past week: lost to Baylor, 94-89 (OT); def. TCU, 76-67; lost to Oklahoma State, 85-80.
This was not the way West Virginia wanted to go into the Big 12 Tournament. The Mountaineers lost to two ranked teams, lost their hold on the No. 2 seed, and head coach Bob Huggins lost his first chance at his 900th career victory. I’m not worried about the Mountaineers going into Kansas City, nor am I worried about them going into the NCAA Tournament (yet). But losing two of your last three conference games is not the way to impress the NCAA Tournament selection committee, or keep your place in these power rankings.
6. Texas Tech (17-9, 9-8) (Last week: 5)
Results this past week: def. TCU, 69-49; def. Iowa State, 81-54; lost to Baylor, 88-73.
It was a week in which Texas Tech beat who it was supposed to be it, and lost to who it was supposed to lose to. The loss to Baylor was lopsided, but Texas Tech played well. The issue now for the Red Raiders, going into the Big 12 Tournament, is finding some momentum going into the NCAA Tournament. I do like Tech’s opportunity in the NCAA Tournament, especially if they get a favorable draw.
7. Oklahoma (14-9, 9-8) (Last week: 7)
Results this past week: lost to Oklahoma State, 79-75; lost to Texas, 69-65.
The Sooners look like they’re plummeting. Oklahoma lost its last four regular season games. But, two were against Oklahoma State, and one was against Texas. In their last four games, the Sooners lost by five or fewer points. Brady Manek is starting to play like himself going into Kansas City, and the Sooners look like that team that could play a play-in game, but make a run to the semifinals. Don’t count them out. But they don’t have a lot of momentum right now, at least on paper.
8. Kansas State (8-19, 4-14) (Last week: 8)
Results this past week: def. Iowa State, 61-56.
The Wildcats won their only Big 12 game of last week, and they won three of their final four Big 12 games going into the Big 12 Tournament. That included their upset of ranked Oklahoma. They still have a long way to go to get back to the upper half of the Big 12, but armed with a bushel full of young talent, head coach Bruce Weber has a chance to make this team more respectable next season. As it stands, going into the Big 12 Tournament, they have a chance to beat TCU and then try and challenge one of the top two seeds.
9. TCU (12-13, 5-11) (Last week: 9)
Results this past week: lost to Texas Tech, 69-49; lost to West Virginia, 76-67; lost to Texas, 76-64.
The Horned Frogs are not in a good place going into the Big 12 Tournament. TCU lost five of its last six games going into Kansas City, including three last week, all against ranked teams. The Horned Frogs have been fighting the momentum problem all season. They’re talented, but inconsistent, and they won’t last long at the Big 12 Tournament.
10. Iowa State (2-21, 0-18) (Last week: 10)
Results this past week: lost to Texas, 81-67; lost to Texas Tech, 81-54; lost to Kansas State, 61-56.
The Cyclones finished the season in the last spot in our power rankings. The head coach said “I don’t know” when it came to his job status. And the Cyclones are poised for an early Big 12 Tournament exit. It’s going to be a long spring in Ames, whether Steve Prohm gets to stick around or not. The Cyclones are better off forgetting about their first winless conference season since before World War II.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard. Send him a tweet with your question to be included in this week’s Big 12 Basketball Mailbag, which appears each Friday during the conference season.
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