Iowa State Cyclones No. 1 in Big 12 Men’s Basketball Power Rankings
The Iowa State Cyclones are No. 1 in the Heartland College Sports Big 12 men’s basketball power rankings after the fourth full week of Big 12 Conference action. Our Power Rankings appear every Monday.
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This week included the Big 12-SEC Challenge, where the Big 12 won, 7-3.
1. IOWA STATE (15-5, 6-2: Last Week — 3)
I struggled here, I admit. I told our Pete Mundo on his podcast/radio show that I thought Iowa State was playing the best basketball in the Big 12 after the Cyclones’ win over Kansas State. And I believed that then. Yes, the Cyclones went to Missouri and were blown out. But, as you’ll see below, I’m putting more emphasis on the Big 12 games last week than the SEC Challenge games. Plus, Iowa State didn’t have Caleb Grill for the Missouri game, a player the Cyclones rested so he could play on Monday. I still believe the Cyclones are playing the best basketball in the league, so, for now, they must be No. 1.
2. KANSAS STATE (18-3, 6-2: Last Week — 1)
So, how far should Kansas State drop after losing to Iowa State? One spot, I say. Now, I dropped Kansas well down the list after losing to Kansas State. But that week also included one of the worst home losses of the Bill Self era against TCU. No shame in Kansas State losing a one-possession game in Ames. The bounce-back win over Florida was nice. Now, it’s off to Allen Fieldhouse on Tuesday to face Kansas.
3. TCU (16-5, 5-3: Last Week — 2)
TCU drops a spot here in spite of beating Oklahoma (actually the Horned Frogs kind of thumped them) at home. The Horned Frogs lost on the road at Mississippi State and may have lost guard Mike Miles Jr. for an undetermined amount of time to a hyperextended knee. With center Eddie Lampkin Jr. also out at the moment, TCU is under-manned going into the final 10 games of Big 12 player.
4. TEXAS (17-4, 6-2: Last Week — 4)
Texas has basically the same week as TCU. The Longhorns beat Oklahoma State at home and then went on the road and lost to Tennessee. So I’m holding Texas steady here. Had it beaten Tennessee on the road, I might have nudged Texas up a spot. But I feel comfortable with them at No. 4.
5. BAYLOR (16-5, 5-3: Last Week — 6)
Baylor has now won six straight games, including the win over Arkansas on Saturday. The Bears have only beaten one ranked opponent in that span, though (Kansas). Still, after an 0-3 start in Big 12 play the Bears have things going in the right direction. And they can earn another road win and a Top 25 win if they beat Texas on Monday. Watch LJ Cryer to see if he can emulate the hot starts he’s had in the last two home games when Baylor hits the road.
6. KANSAS (17-4, 5-3: Last Week — 5)
Kansas in sixth in the power rankings? I’m not sure that’s happened in my history of doing these power rankings. The one-spot drop is built on the loss to Baylor on Monday. Yes, beating Kentucky ended the Jayhawks’ three-game losing streak. But one can’t disregard Kansas’ three straight losses to ranked Big 12 teams, nor that the last one came to Baylor. I sense Kansas may be coming back around, though. We will see on Tuesday.
7. WEST VIRGINIA (13-8, 2-6: Last Week — 8)
Suddenly, one has to feel pretty good about the Mountaineers. They’ve won three of their last four games, beaten a ranked Big 12 team at home (TCU) and a Big 12 team on the road (Texas Tech). Plus, that incredible win at home against Auburn. Erik Stevenson may finally be coming back around offensively.
8. OKLAHOMA STATE (12-9, 3-5: Last Week — 7)
The Cowboys got a nice win at home over Ole Miss. But in Big 12 play you have look back at the Cowboys’ loss to Texas. OSU hasn’t won a Big 12 road game yet, and the Cowboys are barely holding serve at home. The Cowboys go to Norman on Wednesday to face the Sooners, a game they ended up winning handily in Stillwater. It’s a critical game for both teams.
9. OKLAHOMA (12-9, 2-6: Last Week — 9)
That huge win over Alabama aside, we’re going to keep the Sooners where they are right now because they’ve lost four of their last five Big 12 games. Now, the performance against the Crimson Tide is encouraging. The question is whether the Sooners can replicate that consistently in February? That may be the difference between the NCAA Tournament and the NIT.
10. TEXAS TECH (11-10, 0-8: Last Week — 10)
Texas Tech scored a good win over LSU (a team that lost to Alabama by 40 points earlier this season). The Red Raiders won that game without Fardaws Aimaq and Richard ‘Pop’ Isaacs. But, the fact remains that the Red Raiders are the only team without a Big 12 win and lost at home to West Virginia last Wednesday.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.