Baylor Bears

Baylor No. 1 in Big 12 Men’s Basketball Power Rankings

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Second Round-North Carolina vs Baylor

The Baylor Bears are No. 1 in the first Heartland College Sports Big 12 men’s basketball power rankings After Week 1 of the 2022-23 season. Our Power Rankings will appear every Monday.

1. BAYLOR (2-0)

The Bears rolled with two relatively easy wins in Week 1. Guard Keyonte George looked the part of an impact freshman that will probably only be in Waco for one season before heading to the NBA. The chemistry between holdovers and newcomers looked great. The tests get bigger later this week in Vegas when Baylor plays Virginia, followed by either Illinois or UCLA.

 

2. KANSAS (2-0)

Gradey Dick, like George, played like an impact freshman. Forward Jalen Wilson played like someone that took the NBA’s feedback to heart and wants to be drafted next June. Transfer Kevin McCullar Jr. spent the first two games hitting all five core spots of the box score in both games. Here comes Duke on Tuesday night.

3. TEXAS (2-0)

Texas looked free and easy in two lopsided outings. The transfers — Tyrese Hunter and Sir’Jabari Rice — along with freshman Dillon Mitchell — came to play. We’ll see what Gonzaga has to say about that on Wednesday in the Longhorns’ first real litmus test game of the season.

4. TEXAS TECH (2-0)

Tech looked sharp in both outings and, frankly, was never challenged. Kevin Obanor produced but played less than 20 minutes in both games as he took a back seat to finding chemistry with the team’s plethora of new talent. Guard De’Vion Harmon and forward Jaylon Tyson made the early impacts. Tech won’t get a serious challenge until it faces Creighton in a week.

 

5. TCU (2-0)

The Horned Frogs nearly blew the opener against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, which is No. 355 in Ken Pom. TCU bounced back nicely against Lamar as Mike Miles Jr. had 26 points. Remember Shahada Wells, who transferred in last year but redshirted? He put up 8.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.5 steals in two games. There’s a reason coach Jamie Dixon likes him.

6. WEST VIRGINIA (2-0)

The next three spots, to me, are splitting hairs. All three won two games and two of them won a road game against a Power 5 team. The Mountaineers looked better early than I was expecting. Their performance against Pitt showed me something. This team looks like it has more balance and, overall, could be a better shooting team than a year ago.

7. KANSAS STATE (2-0)

An impressive week for the Wildcats. A relatively easy win at home. A close win over Cal on the road. And Jerome Yang — I mean Tang (C’mon Pac-12 Network? Seriously?) is off to a solid start in his first head-coaching job. And Keyontae Johnson is going to play like this (14.5 points in two games), well, woof.

 

8. IOWA STATE (2-0)

This is really more of a function of ‘someone’s gotta be No. 8.’ I gave West Virginia and Kansas State a little bump for challenging themselves with a game against a Power 5 conference team. Iowa State scored easy wins over IUPUI and North Carolina A&T. The big games are coming, though. Villanova, St. John’s and Iowa are in the Cyclones’ next five scheduled games.

9. OKLAHOMA STATE (2-1)

The Cowboys fell to Southern Illinois, a one-point loss after winning their opener. The caveat is that SIU is a Top 100 Ken Pom team, so it was relatively even matchup. The Cowboys claimed wins in their other two games and Moussa Cisse looks like the type of forward that has the potential to make interior play awfully hard for other Big 12 teams. 

10. OKLAHOMA (1-1)

The loss to Sam Houston was jarring. The Bearkats were No. 143 in KenPom as of Saturday. Yes, a good team. But a team Oklahoma should have beaten. The win over UAPB (yep, same team that nearly beat TCU) allowed them to bounce back. But just two Sooners are averaging double figures after two games. Early chemistry is elusive.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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