Big 12 Basketball Power Rankings: Sunflower Schools Rolling
The Kansas Jayhawks remain No. 1 in the Heartland College Sports Big 12 men’s basketball power rankings after the eighth full week of Big 12 Conference action. Our Power Rankings appear every Monday.
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1. KANSAS (24-5, 12-4: Last Week — 1)
The Jayhawks are on a six-game winning streak and now have a one-game lead in the Big 12 regular-season title chase. There’s no dispute about the best team in the league right now. It doesn’t mean Kansas is not beatable or can’t be beaten in the Big 12 Tournament. But no team is playing better right now.
2. KANSAS STATE (22-7, 10-6: Last Week — 4)
I think you have to respect the head-to-head this late in the season. That’s why Kansas State takes a two-spot vault this week over Texas and Baylor. Kansas State has a 3-1 record against that pair and is on a three-game winning streak. The Wildcats seem to have emerged from that valley in late January and early February.
3. BAYLOR (21-8, 10-6: Last Week — 2)
The Bears lost to Kansas State on Tuesday but took care of Texas rather handily on Saturday. Almost strangely so, given the Baylor guard Keyonte George missed most of the game due to an injury. The guards are firing away. Even Dale Bonner is getting in on the action. But more games like Saturday from Flo Thamba (12 points, 12 rebounds) and this team gets really dangerous.
4. TEXAS (22-7, 11-5: Last Week — 3)
The win over Iowa State was solid enough. But the Longhorns’ general lack of competitiveness against Baylor at this stage of the season — and a share of the Big 12 lead at stake — almost feels inexcusable. Dylan Disu was the best Longhorn on the floor for 35 minutes and that won’t win Texas a lot of NCAA Tournament games.
5. TCU (19-10, 8-8: Last Week — 6)
From here? Throw up your hands because it feels like the rest of the conference is just kind of bunched together. The Horned Frogs lost to Kansas at home by five and then went on the road to Texas Tech, in front of a sold-out crowd, and withstood the Red Raiders because the WHOLE team stepped up, starting with Mike Miles. TCU plays like that moving forward and it will move up another seed line in Bracketology. Also, Eddie Lampkin Jr. should probably stop touching opponents heads’ from the bench. Just a thought.
6. TEXAS TECH (16-13, 5-11: Last Week — 8)
I know, I know. You’re looking at the record. Look at the eye test. The Red Raiders have won four of their last five and six of their last nine. Jaylon Tyson is playing out of his mind. For that matter, so are De’Vion Harmon and Fardaws Aimaq. I don’t know if they can make it to the NCAA Tournament. But the NIT is firmly in the Red Raiders’ future. Tech could do a lot of damage there.
7. IOWA STATE (17-11, 8-8: Last Week — 5)
This is such a perplexing team right now. Losing on the road to Texas was what I expected, but not by that margin. The Saturday loss to Oklahoma at home? Well, something needs to come around in Ames. Now the Cyclones did this exact same thing last season and reached the Sweet 16. But Iowa State isn’t sneaking up on anyone this year.
8. WEST VIRGINIA (16-13, 5-11: Last Week — 9)
Despite a 1-1 week, I’m moving West Virginia up. The Mountaineers beat Oklahoma State with plenty of authority. At some point, before Bob Huggins retires, WVU is going to beat Kansas in Lawrence. That was a huge opportunity on Saturday, one that could have solidified the Mountaineers in the NCAA field. Now? Two more ranked teams to end league play and a split feels necessary. Watch the K-State game at home on Saturday.
9. OKLAHOMA (14-15, 4-12: Last Week — 10)
I found an NIT Bracketology (yep, I’m that weird) that had Oklahoma in the NIT field as an at-large team despite its losing record. I dunno if the NIT committee will go for that. But, the Sooners keep teasing us with just enough good basketball to keep us interested, don’t they? That Iowa State win was needed. Can OU sweep the week? Against Kansas State and TCU? Well …
10. OKLAHOMA STATE (16-13, 7-9: Last Week — 7)
It was unavoidable at this point. The Cowboys have lost four straight and as hot as they were three weeks ago, the Cowboys have gone cold. The injury to Avery Anderson III exposed just how little margin for error these Cowboys had with him, must less without him. The Cowboys still have a chance at the NCAA Tournament bubble. Can OSU split with Baylor and Texas Tech? The last has just as much to play for as the Cowboys.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.