The Baylor Bears remained No. 1 in the Heartland College Sports Big 12 men’s basketball power rankings after Week 8 of the 2021-22 season. Two games were postponed due to COVID, and another was impacted by players out due to COVID. Our Power Rankings will appear every Monday.
1. BAYLOR (13-0, 1-0 in Big 12) (Last Week: 1)
The Bears remained undefeated and went into Iowa State and won their Big 12 opener in what had to be the most hostile environment they’ve experienced to this point. How did the Bears do it? Balance, baby. Balance.
2. KANSAS (11-1) (Last Week: 3)
Kansas threw together two games at the last minute with Nevada and George Mason so the Jayhawks could stay in rhythm after COVID cancellations. Kansas will play its Big 12 opener this week. One thing to monitor — Remy Martin didn’t play on Saturday. Bill Self said that Martin tweaked his knee in the Nevada win and sat him out against George Mason as a precaution.
3. IOWA STATE (12-1, 0-1) (Last Week: 2)
How much should we drop the Cyclones after their loss to Baylor? I think Iowa State has to drop one spot but make no mistake — the Cyclones are going to be in the Top 5 of these power rankings throughout conference play, if how they played against Baylor is any indication. If the Cyclones get THAT Tristan Enaruna the rest of conference play, look out.
4. OKLAHOMA (11-2, 1-0) (Last Week: 5)
Give the Sooners some credit for gutting out a two-point win over Kansas State without Tanner Groves. With COVID protocols and return-to-play rules, games like this are going to happen. The Sooners were able to withstand a terrific run by Kansas State to win their Big 12 opener.
5. TEXAS (10-2, 1-0) (Last Week: 6)
A full-strength Texas team faced off with a West Virginia team that wasn’t full strength due to COVID. The reality is Texas should have won that game, and the Longhorns did. The takeaway is that Courtney Ramey had the kind of game Texas hopes he has every game.
6. WEST VIRGINIA (11-2, 0-1) (Last Week: 4)
There wasn’t much the Mountaineers could do after losing Taz Sherman and Gabe Osabuohein before game time due to COVID. Jalen Bridges stepped up … in the second half, after the game was out of reach. The good news is the TCU postponement gives the Mountaineers a week to get healthy.
7. TEXAS TECH (10-2) (Last Week: 7)
Texas Tech won its final non-conference game of December, but the Big 12 opener with Oklahoma State was postponed to Jan. 13. Texas Tech is scheduled to play its conference opener on Jan. 5 at Iowa State.
8. TCU (10-1) (Last Week: 8)
TCU has postponed its first two Big 12 games due to COVID-19, so at some point the Horned Frogs are going to have to play a serious stretch of basketball. For now, the Horned Frogs remain No. 8 and are scheduled to open Big 12 play at home against Baylor on Jan. 8.
9. KANSAS STATE (8-4, 0-1) (Last Week: 9)
The Wildcats nearly stole one on the road at a short-handed Oklahoma (and the Wildcats were short-handed themselves without Markquis Nowell). Mark Smith had an enormous game in defeat — 25 points and 16 rebounds. Don’t mess around with the Wildcats.
10. OKLAHOMA STATE (7-4) (Last Week: 10)
The Cowboys didn’t play this week due to COVID-19. So, OSU remains in the cellar for now. If there’s good news, the Cowboys practiced this weekend, so they’re building toward getting back to the floor this week. OSU is scheduled to host Kansas on Jan. 4.
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