BearsIllustrated Big 12 Rankings – January 30

BearsIllustrated takes it turn at ranking the Big 12 teams in its weekly rankings debut.

With the Big 12 schedule right around a third of the way done, Big 12 fans are starting to get a better look at how the teams stack up. While there is still plenty of time for movement up or down, there is definite grouping going on in terms of how teams stack up with each other.

1. Kansas Jayhawks

Overall Record - 19-1

Big 12 Record – 7-0

KenPom – 8

RPI – 2

There is no argument for who is #1 right now in the Big 12. Kansas is making a case for being #1 in the nation, so the top spot in the conference is theirs. They are one of the most experienced teams in the country, with 4 senior starters flanking a freshman all-American in Ben McLemore. They play some of the best defense in the nation and have one of the best floor generals on the bench.

2. Kansas State Wildcats

Overall Record – 15-4

Big 12 Record – 4-2

KenPom -43

RPI – 35

Last week, this would have been an easy choice, with the Wildcats 4-0 in conference play, but an 0-2 week took a bit of luster off of their profile. Both losses are understandable, as losing to Kansas at home and then falling to Iowa State in Ames is never a terrible loss. That is why they are still in the second spot, despite the losing streak. They have one of the best players in the Big 12 leading them in Rodney McGruder and a bunch of really good role players around him.

3. Baylor Bears

Overall Record – 14-5

Big 12 Record – 5-1

KenPom -25

RPI – 33

The Bears have the talent to be #2 on this list or maybe even higher. Led by conference pre-season player of the year Pierre Jackson, the Bears have the senior leadership as well as the all-out talent in the front court headlined by Isaiah Austin. However, the Bears have struggled offensively at times, and that showed in losses to Colorado and College of Charleston early in the year. They then couldn't beat a red-hot Northwestern team at home as well, and fell out of the rankings. However, the Bears have taken care of business so far in Big 12 play, but 3 of their wins are against the bottom two teams in the Big 12. They have a big 10 days coming up playing three teams right behind them.

4. Oklahoma Sooners

Overall Record – 13-5

Big 12 Record – 5-2

KenPom – 54

RPI – 24

The Sooners are one of the more surprising teams in the Big 12, after being picked to finish 7th in the Big 12. They already have wins against Oklahoma State and Texas, while both of their losses are to the teams from Kansas. Second year Coach Lon Kruger has his buys playing well so far in 2013.

5. Iowa State Cyclones

Overall Record – 14-5

Big 12 Record – 4-2

KenPom -44

RPI – 38

Iowa State has two losses in Big 12 play so far, one to Kansas and the other to Texas Tech. However, three of their four wins have come against the bottom of the conference as well, with West Virginia, TCU and Texas already beaten. They do have one of the best wins in conference so far, beating Kansas State at home though. They have also lost to ranked teams in UNLV and Cincinnati and a good Iowa team on the road. The Tech loss though is the puzzler. The middle of the pack will be decided by who can take care of business against the worst in the league and steal a road game. So far Iowa State is down one of those wins, so they move down, but keep an eye out for the Cyclones.

6. Oklahoma State Cowboys

Overall Record - 13-5

Big 12 Record – 3-3

KenPom -21

RPI – 43

The Cowboys have the talent to be much higher on this list, but three losses push it down to 6th place and out of the Top half of the conference. They have already lost to Baylor and Oklahoma (both on the road though) along with Kansas State. They still have two games against Kansas and a home game against Kansas State, plus their schedule is more home-oriented against the mass of teams in the 2-6 range of the Big 12, so they could move up.

7. West Virginia Mountaineers

Overall Record – 9-11

Big 12 Record – 2-6

KenPom -104

RPI – 96

The Mountaineers in their first year in the Big 12 have struggled to do much of anything good. They are 2-6 after their Big Monday loss to Kansas this week. They have lost 5 of their last 6 games, with the only win being against TCU. They have one of the worst offenses in the country, with really no shooters on the team. They play good defense though and should be able to do well against the teams below them, and possibly pull off an upset at home.

8. Texas Longhorns

Overall Record – 9-10

Big 12 Record – 1-5

KenPom -84

RPI – 140

Texas finally got on the board with its first win of the Big 12 season beating Texas Tech soundly in Austin this weekend, but the 0-5 start has them more than likely ending a long postseason streak for Rick Barnes and his staff. UT had been to 13 NCAA tournaments in a row, but with the loss of Myck Kabongo due to NCAA infractions, the Longhorns will probably need a Big 12 tournament miracle to get into the dance this year.

9. Texas Tech Red Raiders

Overall Record – 2-5

Big 12 Record – 9-9

KenPom -240

RPI – 189

Texas Tech has been pretty bad this year, but still managed to upset Iowa State in a low-scoring battle. The Red Raiders under Interim Head Coach Chris Walker are off to a terrible start in Big 12 play, but at least they won't be in last. They played one of the weakest non-conference schedules in the nation this year, highlighted by Northern Kentucky and McNeese State (who they lost too).

10. TCU Horned Frogs

Overall Record – 9-11

Big 12 Record – 0-7

KenPom -274

RPI – 216

The Horned Frogs are not only bad this year, they are historically bad. You can make a good argument that they are the worst Power-6 conference team in the country, and possibly the worst Big 12 team since the winless 2004 Texas A&M Aggies. According to KenPom, that 2004 Aggie squad had a rating of 167. The lowest Big 12 ranking is 190 by Baylor in 2005. TCU is 84 spots LOWER than that. The Big 12 newcomers have gotten off to a dreadful start in Big 12 play, and have yet to play Kansas. This could be the first 0-18 team in the Big 12.

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