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Kansas Moves To No. 1 in Big 12 Men’s Basketball Power Rankings

NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Kansas

The Kansas Jayhawks are No. 1 in the Heartland College Sports Big 12 men’s basketball power rankings after the seventh full week of Big 12 Conference action. Our Power Rankings appear every Monday.

Check out Heartland College Sports for men’s and women’s basketball coverage every day, including our thoughts on big games, the previous week’s action, our weekly schedules, and daily fantasy lineups as we march toward, well, March.


1. KANSAS (22-5, 10-4: Last Week — 3)

I guess it has to be Kansas now, right? The Jayhawks beat Baylor on Saturday to split the season series and own a win over Texas. The three-game losing streak is nothing more than a memory now. Kansas has now won six of its last seven. But the No. 1 seed in Kansas City isn’t secured yet, not with two more games against ranked teams, both of which are on the road.

2. BAYLOR (20-7, 9-6: Last Week — 2)

This is where I’ll look at the losses more than the wins. A loss to Kansas on the road, to me, is better than a loss on the road to an unranked team. The Bears were red-hot going into Lawrence and Kansas cooled them off, albeit after Baylor took a sizeable halftime lead. The value of Baylor’s guards, led by Adam Flagler, cannot be overstated. They’ll determine how far Baylor goes in March.

3. TEXAS (21-6, 10-4: Last Week — 1)

Losing in Lubbock was enough for me to drop the Longhorns from the No. 1 perch this week. If you’re ranked and you go on the road to a team with two league wins, that’s a game you should win, honestly. Beating Oklahoma at home, albeit in overtime, kept the Longhorns in a first-place tie for the moment. But I need convincing that they’re playing better than Baylor, even with the win in hand. The two will settle it on Saturday in Waco.


4. KANSAS STATE (20-7, 8-6: Last Week — 6)

Kansas State and Iowa State are kind of in the same neighborhood right now — the leaders of the second tier of teams in the Big 12. The Wildcats could certainly win the Big 12 Tournament (I’m just about convinced anyone could at this point). The Wildcats get the nudge up thanks to the head-to-head win over Iowa State on Sunday. Nothing more.

5. IOWA STATE (17-9, 8-6: Last Week — 5)

Iowa State and Kansas State flip this week, thanks to the Cyclones’ loss to the Wildcats. But we should point out that the Cyclones handled TCU just fine in the mid-week game. It’s also worth noting that guard Caleb Grill didn’t play on Saturday against K-State. He’s turning out to be just as important a player to the Cyclones as guard Mike Miles is to the Horned Frogs.

6. TCU (18-9, 7-7: Last Week — 8)

I couldn’t justify moving the Horned Frogs up any more than this after a week in which it split. The loss to Iowa State may well have been TCU’s nadir, because the jolt it received from the return of Miles made the Horned Frogs look special again. Miles can’t get hurt again. If he’s around, the Horned Frogs are a team you won’t want to mess with in March.


7. OKLAHOMA STATE (16-11, 7-7: Last Week — 4)

As quickly as Oklahoma State rose up, the Cowboys took a tumble. Losses at home to Kansas and on the road to TCU kept the Cowboys from solidifying their NCAA Tournament bona fides. Coach Mike Boynton said the lopsided loss to TCU was more about the Horned Frogs than the Cowboys. We’ll find out if that’s the case when Oklahoma State faces a now-desperate West Virginia on the road on two days’ rest.

8. TEXAS TECH (15-12, 4-10: Last Week — 9)

The Red Raiders are such an interesting team now. They won back-to-back games over Texas and West Virginia and they now own three wins over AP Top 15 teams in the last three weeks. In fact, Texas Tech has won three in a row and it’s playing through forward Fardaws Aimaq. Plus, Jaylon Tyson is playing special basketball right now. The only questions left are how much runway does this team have left to make a run at March Madness and does it come at someone else’s expense?

9. WEST VIRGINIA (15-12, 4-10: Last Week — 7)

I suspected West Virginia would lose to Baylor on the road. But five days off and then a loss to Texas Tech at home? That’s a potential NCAA bid killer. The Mountaineers are still on the bubble and recent history says that seven Big 12 wins is a good indicator of getting into the NCAA Tournament. The Mountaineers need three in the next four. Two are at home. Is WVU tailing off at the wrong time?

10. OKLAHOMA (13-14, 3-11: Last Week — 10)

We may be looking at the only Big 12 team that finishes under-.500 for the season — and it may only be by a game or two below the mark. And, yet, last week the Sooners beat Kansas State at home and nearly beat Texas in overtime on the road. I still think a .500 Sooners team is an NIT lock.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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