Big 12 Rankings thru games on February 23rd: (last week's ranking in parentheses)
KU moves up one spot after Oklahoma's loss at Missouri. The Jayhawks will be without Wayne Simian the rest of the year, but Nick Collison and Kirk Heinrich may be good enough to lead this team deep into the NCAA tourney by themselves. The Aggies were destroyed last week and then the Cowboys were overwhelmed by Senior Day at the Phog. The Jayhawks finish up the regular season with a Big Monday matchup in Lubbock and then on the road against Mizzou.
The ‘Horns have been steady all year long and their depth could take them to the Final Four in New Orleans. They handled the Bears and Raiders last week like they should have. This final week will not be as easy though. Well, Kansas State at home will be easy, but it does not get any harder than playing Oklahoma in Norman to wrap up the season.
3. Oklahoma (1): 20-5, 11-3; lost to Missouri then beat Texas A&M
If OU wants to make a run for a national championship, they need to do one of two things: 1) play much better on the road or 2) lobby to have all of their games in the NCAA tournament in Norman. Missouri took it right at Oklahoma and won easily in Columbia. That is not a good sign at this point in the season. The Sooners finish with two at home. Nebraska will be a cakewalk before the previously mentioned Texas game ends the season. Hollis Price might receive a game-long standing ovation on Senior Day.
4. Missouri (6): 17-7, 9-5; beat Oklahoma and Kansas State
Here come the Tigers again! The late season push from Mizzou has shown up once again and has put them in a position to make an NCAA run like last year. If Ricky Clemons can shoot well, then this team could make a lot of noise. A trip to Ames should be a win before they return to the Hearnes Center for a "Senior Day" matchup with Kansas. Those seniors are Ryan Kiernan and Jake Jackson, so nobody is lost for next year unless Rickey Paulding makes the NBA leap.
5. Oklahoma St. (4): 20-7, 9-5; lost to Texas Tech and Kansas
The momentum from the Texas victory was stopped dead when Tech came into Stillwater and pulled the upset on Big Monday. It was a game that OSU needed to win to be considered a legit contender in the NCAA tourney. They followed that up with a lackluster performance in Lawrence. The Cowboys have a trip to Boulder this week, which will probably result in a loss. That will be followed by a very likely win over A&M in the last game of the year. The Cowboys will miss Victor Williams, Melvin Sanders, and Andre Williams next year.
The Buffs needed both road games last week, but only managed to beat Baylor. CU is nearly impossible to figure out because they can beat Kansas, Texas, and Missouri at home, but then they can lose at Iowa State by 24! Wins over Oklahoma State and Nebraska at home this week should secure an NCAA bid for Colorado, but nothing is for sure right now. Two wins at the Big 12 tourney would really help their cause.
7. Texas Tech (8): 16-9, 6-8; beat Oklahoma State and then lost to Texas
The Red Raiders came up with a huge comeback W against OSU, but could not pull off the upset of Texas last week. A trip to the NCAAs hinges on the Big Monday game against Kansas. If Tech can win that game and then beat Baylor on the road this week then they have a very good chance to go "Dancin'"
8. Texas A&M (7): 13-12, 5-9; lost to Kansas and Oklahoma
The poor Aggies might not even make the NIT now. It was unreasonable to expect a win last week, but because of those losses A&M is on the brink of not finishing with the required .500 record for the NIT. They should beat Baylor at home this week before traveling to OSU for the regular season finale. If they go 1-1 this week, then they are in the postseason. If not, then two wins at the Big 12 tournament are a must.
9. Iowa St. (10): 14-11, 4-10; beat Colorado then lost to Nebraska
The ‘Clones still cannot win on the road, but they move up with their unbelievable blowout of Colorado at home. Another chance to pull the upset comes this week when Missouri comes to Ames. A win in that game would be a huge boost going into the Big 12 tournament and next year. ISU finishes up their season at Kansas State and might pick up their first road win, but it is unlikely.
10. Baylor (9): 13-12, 4-10; lost to Texas and Colorado
The hot streak is over and Baylor drops a spot because of that. Colorado picked up their first road win at the expense of the Bears. Lawrence Roberts should receive some mention for First Team All-Big 12 because he has been excellent during the conference season. Two possible wins remain, but they will not be easy. A trip to College Station is followed by Texas Tech coming to Waco. Baylor fans will show up to celebrate Steve Othoro's stellar career on Senior Day.
11. Nebraska (12): 11-16, 3-11; beat Kansas State and Iowa State
Wait a second!! Did Nebraska really win a game last week?!? Two games?!? The Huskers did indeed win two games last week although they were over two of the worst teams in the conference and at home. It has been a very long season in Huskerville, but this young team is finally showing some signs of improvement. Two road games are ahead this week and will probably result in two blowout losses. Those contests are in Norman and Boulder where OU and CU respectively have yet to lose in Big 12 play.
12. Kansas State (11): 12-15, 3-11; lost to Nebraska and Missouri
Welcome back Wildcats! The cellar missed you. KSU has lost 9 of its last 10 games after losing to Nebraska and Mizzou this week. Another loss is ahead at Texas this week, but the ‘Cats will probably finish the season with a win over Iowa State at home. If they win that and Nebraska losses their two games, then a move out of the cellar will happen. Gilson DeJesus, Pervis Pasco, and Matt Seibrant will be the most honored and missed of the Wildcat seniors.