Big 12 Rankings thru games on January 2nd: (last week's ranking in parentheses)
This is quite a jump for the Red Raiders, but they are playing as well as anybody else in the league. They technically upset Minnesota on the road and dominated an outmanned Cougar team. The first test in the Big 12 will be at Oklahoma on January 20th.
The Jayhawks are putting things back together just in time for the Big 12 regular season, which has been the time KU usually rolls through their schedule. An interesting test at Hilton Coliseum against the Cyclones opens the Big 12 for Kansas on January 6th. If the Jayhawks are truly back in form, they should run all over Iowa St.
3. Oklahoma St. (5): 9-1; beat Arkansas
Okie St. simply had to move up after annihilating the Arkansas Razorbacks. Victor Williams finally played very well in a game after a mediocre start to the season. He had 22 points in the game and the ‘Boys could be very dangerous if Victor continues to play well.
4. Oklahoma (1): 7-2; lost to Mississippi St. and then beat UNC-Ashville
Sampson's boys were ice cold against the Bulldogs and lost again to a ranked team. They have failed the only two tests they have had this year, so something needs to turn this team around. They did hand Ashville a behind-the-woodshed beating to finish out the year on a nice note.
5. Missouri (2): 7-1; beat Valparaiso
Mizzou slips three spots simply because they only played one game during this time and it was against a nobody in Valpo. Bryce Drew is no longer on that team, so an upset was not very likely. A tricky non-conference game at Syracuse still looms on the schedule January 13th.
The Longhorns have gone from the best team in the league to middle-of-the-road after losing a couple games and struggling against a bad Tech team. Like Oklahoma, this team has not fared very well thus far in the big games, but is still very dangerous. The balance of the Big 12 is shown with Texas all the way down to sixth.
7. Iowa St. (7): 10-1; beat Northern Iowa and Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Only Cyclone fans can be excited about the 10-1 start because it is not impressive to anybody else. The have yet to play any ranked teams, but that will change in a hurry with their Big 12 schedule starting next week. Kansas visits Ames on January 6th and could post a blowout win on the ‘Clones.
K-State heads up the bottom section of the league, but this is a major step forward after such a horrid start to the season. Those two wins are not very good, but St. Louis could wind up being a decent mid-major team. It should be very interesting when Texas Tech comes to Manhatten on January 11th.
Although the Buffaloes did not play that well the past four games, they move out of the cellar and all the way up to this spot because four wins is still four wins. An in-state battle with Colorado St. remains before opening the Big 12 season at Oklahoma.
10. Baylor (11): 7-2; beat North Texas
Throw a parade Baylor!! You moved up one spot after taking out the Mean Green of North Texas. Looking at their first six games in the Big 12, the Bears could come surging out of the gate at 0-6. It's a really tough stretch to say the least.
11. Nebraska (8): 6-5; beat UC-Santa Barbara, lost to Arizona St., then beat Eastern Washington
The Huskers are struggling right now, especially on offense. Two cupcakes remain on the schedule with Denver and Lipscomb, but a potential rout by Kansas is around the corner on the 11th. If Nate Johnson steps up his game and everyone else fills in their roles, Andrew Drevo could lead this team up the rankings and maybe the NIT, but that appears unlikely at this point.
12. Texas A&M (9): 8-3; lost to Princeton and then beat Mississippi Valley St. and Centenary
I said in the last rankings that Princeton would give this team fits and they did indeed as they beat the Aggies, 76-62. The potential for a jump back up the rankings is there for A&M because they have Oklahoma State at home on the 11th. That is a possible upset win for this team.