The Kansas Jayhawks are No. 1 in the Heartland College Sports Big 12 men’s basketball power rankings after the first game of Big 12 Conference action. Our Power Rankings appear every Monday.
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1. KANSAS (12-1, 1-0: Last Week — 1)
Oklahoma State always gives Kansas fits the first time around in Big 12 action, but the Jayhawks pulled it out, 69-67, with a 17-2 run at one point and 20 points from Jalen Wilson. KJ Adams added 14 and Bill Self used all of that depth in this one. Kansas is the class of the conference but even the team at the bottom of our power rankings can push them to the limit.
But you still have to win.
2. TEXAS (12-1, 1-0: Last Week — 2)
Texas holds steady here. The Longhorns haven’t lost a game since Chris Beard was indefinitely suspended and Rodney Terry took over. Texas did have to rally, though, got get a big game from forward Timmy Allen (13 points, seven rebounds). Marcus Carr had 13, but Dylan Disu — who just came back from injury — gave Texas a key 10 points.
3. KANSAS STATE (12-1, 1-0: Last Week — 4)
Kansas State fell behind 13-1 to start its Big 12 opener with West Virginia, and it fought all the way back to win in overtime. It was a gut-check game for the Wildcats and Markquis Nowell led the way with 23 points and 10 assists. Abayomi Iyiola gave the Wildcats a great start with 14 points and eight rebounds.
4. IOWA STATE (10-2, 1-0: Last Week — 5)
For some reason, Iowa State usually catches Baylor in its Big 12 opener. Well, this time the Cyclones took care of business without Aljaz Kunc. In fact, ISU won by 15. Gabe Kalscheur led the way with 23 points. He picked up the slack left by Kunc as he and Caleb Grill (18 points) each hit five 3-pointers.
5. TCU (12-1, 1-0: Last Week — 6)
TCU looked shaky in the first half but used a trapping halfcourt defense early in the second half to jump-start its offense and beat Texas Tech, 67-61. Mike Miles got it done down the stretch with 23 points. It’s clear that TCU works best when Miles, Emanuel Miller (16 points) and Damion Baugh (14 points, five steals) are all firing. They finally did in the last 20 minutes.
6. WEST VIRGINIA (10-3, 0-1: Last Week — 8)
Honestly? Even in defeat I was impressed with West Virginia’s performance on the road. Tre Mitchell had a fantastic game (16 points, 13 rebounds), Emmitt Matthews Jr. added 12 points and Mohamed Wague (10 points, 10 rebounds) gave them quality minutes off the bench. The guards — Erik Stevenson and Kedrian Johnson — can’t got 4-for-20 like they did on Saturday.
7. BAYLOR (10-3, 0-1: Last Week — 3)
Big step back for Baylor. I expressed concern about Baylor’s frontcourt in my non-conference wrap and Baylor did nothing to assuage those concerns. Jalen Bridges (12 points) was the only one that gave Baylor a solid game at forward. The guards played well and were productive. Not having LJ Cryer didn’t help. But Baylor wasn’t as resilient as they usually are in games like this.
8. TEXAS TECH (10-3, 0-1: Last Week — 7)
Seeing Pop Issacs in person for the first time and I was impressed with the freshman. Not intimidated by the moment. But Tech committed 23 turnovers and had little interior game in the loss to TCU. I have concerns with Tech’s overall chemistry after Saturday’s game. And TCU rendered Kevin Obanor relatively inert on Saturday. Upcoming opponents will try and pick up on that.
9. OKLAHOMA (9-4, 0-1: Last Week — 9)
The Sooners let one slip away honestly. They had the lead at halftime against the Longhorns and just couldn’t hang on. Grant Sherfield (22 points), Jacob Groves (17 points) and Jalen Hill (14 points) all had solid games. But Tanner Groves (six points, seven rebounds) can’t fade into the background. OU needs his rebounding.
10. OKLAHOMA STATE (8-5, 0-1: Last Week — 10)
Bryce Thompson went off against his former team, scoring 23 points against Kansas on Saturday. John-Michael Wright added 19 points. But in games like that the ‘big dogs’ have to eat, and forward Moussa Cisse (four points, six rebounds), forward Kalib Boone (two points, seven rebounds) and guard Avery Anderson III (two points, four rebounds) didn’t eat.
bearsYou can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.