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Big 12 Basketball Winners and Losers for Week 4

We’re into the fourth week of the college basketball season and we have more Big 12 winners and some losers to talk about.

We’re past the holiday tournaments. Athletes are starting to gear up for exams and the holiday break. We’re nearly 30 days away from the start of the Big 12 women’s basketball season on Dec. 30. The men follow the next weekend.

Every Thursday I’ll break down the biggest winners and the biggest losers for the first half of the week. Every weekend, we’ll hit the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in Big 12 basketball.

 

Here we go.

Winner: Big 12 NET Ratings

With the Big 12 men’s basketball schedule dark on Wednesday, it’s a good time to check in on the conference’s Ken Pom ratings for each team. While not one of the primary tools that the NCAA Tournament committee will use to determine the 68-team field, it’s a good barometer for where we are after nearly a month.

It’s a lot of good news for the Big 12.

Houston is No. 1, but Baylor is No. 6, Kansas is No. 8 and BYU is No. 10. That’s four teams in the Top 10 and two of the four new teams.

From there, you get to Oklahoma at No. 22, Iowa State at No. 26, TCU at No. 30, Texas at No. 31, Cincinnati at No. 36, Texas Tech at No. 45, and Kansas State at No. 47. That’s 11 of the Big 12 teams in the Top 50.

After that, you’ll find UCF at No. 78, Oklahoma State at No. 90, and West Virginia at No. 109.

 

Eleven teams in the Top 50 after nearly a month. The Big 12 remains the best basketball conference in the land.

Loser: Big 12 Basketball Fans (through Wednesday)

The Big 12 teams came back from their Thanksgiving tournaments and gave us leftovers — or at least that’s what the schedule felt like. Not a single ranked game or a contest of consequence for the first three days of the week. Ugh. I guess the schedule can’t be great every week.

Winner: Big 12 Basketball Fans (starting Thursday)

If you like compelling matchups, well the rest of this week is for you. On the men’s side, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech tip off the Big 12-Big EAST Battle with games against Creighton and Butler, respectively. Students are already lining up for Friday’s UConn-Kansas game at Allen Fieldhouse. The same night, Houston is at Xavier, West Virginia faces its old Big East rival St. John’s and Iowa State is in DePaul.

Get to the weekend and the women take over. BYU is at No. 12 Utah on Saturday. Then, on Sunday, No. 13 Baylor hosts Oregon, No. 11 UConn is at No. 10 Texas and Kansas is at Texas A&M.

Plenty of good games are coming soon.

Loser: Big 12 Women’s Bracketology

It’s early, not even quite a month into the season, but every once in a while I peek into ESPN’s Bracketology and this week’s peek wasn’t great.

 

Charlie Crème had just five Big 12 teams in the 68-team field — Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas, and TCU. The Horned Frogs, who are off to their best start under a first-year coach in program history, slipped into the field as one of the Last Four In.

The only other Big 12 bubble team was Texas Tech, which was one of the Next Four Out.

There are at least four other teams, in addition to the five teams in the field and bubble team Texas Tech, that I believe have a chance to slip into the tournament as the season unfolds:

BYU — the Cougars are undefeated and they have a team built around forward Lauren Gustin and some exceptional 3-point shooters;

Kansas — the Jayhawks have played a difficult schedule with an 0-3 record against Power 6/ranked teams;

Oklahoma State — I wouldn’t count the Cowgirls out, who surged at the end of last season to claim a berth;

West Virginia — the Mountaineers are undefeated and the style of defense they’ll play is going to give teams fits.

All isn’t lost at this point. But these teams need some big wins, either in non-conference or Big 12 play, to burnish their credentials.  

Winner: West Virginia’s Travel Agent

The invitations for next year’s Battle 4 Atlantis in The Bahamas are in and, guess what WVU fans? You won the lottery.

Now the only question — will interim coach Josh Eilert make the trip? Too soon? Probably.

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You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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