Big 12 Power Rankings

This week marks the halfway point of Big 12 Conference play, and Aggie Websider's Dallas Shipp takes a look at where teams stand so far this season. Who has punched their ticket for the Big Dance? Who's on the bubble? Who's NIT bound and who is cleaning the basement?

1. Kansas (21-1, 6-1) – The Jayhawks fell to Kansas State in front of the most hostile environment that they'll face all season, so don't expect their losing ways to continue. Darnell Jackson and Darrell Arthur are both among the top six shooters in the Big 12 and they're not going to disappear anytime soon. Kansas is still the team to beat in the Big 12, but losing to Kansas State does give teams from the Big 12 South a glimmer of hope at chasing the Big 12 title, albeit a small glimmer. Even if Kansas does lose one or two more games, Kansas State gets to play against weaker north teams for the rest of the way as well. One of those schools should win the Big 12 Championship this year.
Postseason projection: NCAA TOURNAMENT; 1-3 seed

2. Kansas State (15-5, 5-1) – They pulled off the biggest win in decades on Wednesday night against Kansas, but then went and laid an egg on the road at Missouri against a team that was one injury away from starting their own "6th Man" tradition by calling students out of the stands to play. They'll need to bounce back quickly unless they want their season to be remembered for one regular season win over their arch rival. I think they've got the best shot at claiming the Big 12 title other than Kansas, but that loss to Missouri is going to come back to haunt them when it comes time to pass out championship hats and t-shirts in March.
Postseason projection: NCAA TOURNAMENT; 3-5 seed

3. Texas A&M (18-4, 4-3) – A little over a week ago, fans in College Station weren't too sure about the Aggies. They lost three straight—two in blowout fashion on the road—and seemed to be heading for a disastrous season after reaching the Sweet 16 a year ago. But a 17-point win over rival Texas later, and the Aggies are back in the thick of the Big 12 standings. They've got back to back road games this week, and if they're able to win both games, they've got a good shot at being 7-3 headed into a rematch with arch-rival Texas in Austin. If they're able to win that game, they've got a reasonable shot at running the table all the way to the season finale against Kansas. As improbable as it seems, with the talent the Aggies have this season, it's more plausible than the eight-game winning streak this same team put together in 2005-2006 to punch their ticket to the Big Dance.
Postseason projection: NCAA TOURNAMENT; 4-7 seed

4. Texas (17-4, 4-2) – The Longhorns were crushed by the Aggies on Wednesday night in front of a nationally televised audience, which won't help their ranking. However, they're still a very good team, and should still make the tournament unless depth becomes an even bigger factor as the season wears on. Point guard D.J. Augustin and A.J. Abrams are No. 2 and No. 3 scorers in the Big 12 which should help get them into postseason play. But the Aggies may have given teams the blue print for shutting down the duo. Augustin is averaging 20.4 and Abrams has posted 17.2 per game so far, but A&M's stingy defense held the duo to just 22 points combined.
Postseason projection: NCAA TOURNAMENT; 4-7 seed

5. Baylor (16-4, 4-2) – After an impressive five overtime victory at Reed Arena, the Bears have returned to reality, losing back to back games against Oklahoma at home and on the road to Texas. They've still got one of the best groups of guards in the country and will be one of the teams looking for a ticket to the NCAA Tournament at the end of the year. Scariest part for A&M fans to worry about? The Aggies have to travel to Waco for a nationally televised game on March 5 that is sandwiched between a game at Oklahoma and the season finale against Kansas. It should be another battle but is a scary game for the Aggies if Baylor needs another "signature win" to earn a trip to the Big Dance. If the season ended today, they would be in, but they've got a brutal stretch ahead that includes a trip to Lawrence, KS. We'll see how they handle adversity over the next few games after consecutive losses.
Postseason projection: NCAA TOURNAMENT; 7-9 seed

6. Oklahoma (15-6, 3-3) – The Aggies took care of the Griffin Brothers and Longar Longar this weekend at Reed Arena in a game that was as "must-win" as any game in the first week of February can be, but OU isn't going anywhere. They beat Baylor on the road last weekend and have played every game extremely close. They've got a key game with Texas coming up on Wednesday that could help pad their resume for the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee. The Horns aren't as impressive as they were a week ago before losing in blowout fashion to A&M, but it would still be a notch on the Sooners' belt, and puts them in the middle of the NCAA Tournament talk.
Postseason projection: NCAA TOURNAMENT; 9-11 seed

7. Texas Tech (12-8, 3-3) – Knight became the first ever coach to reach the 900-win plateau, but that's not going help him get back to the NCAA Tournament (where he loves to go home early). Texas Tech will likely be invited to play a game or two in the NIT, but unless the Big 12 is rewarded for a tough conference RPI, Knight won't be adding any more NCAA Tournament victories to his resume this year.
Postseason projection: NIT

8. Iowa State (13-9, 3-4) – Much like Texas Tech, Iowa State will win some games at home because of the atmosphere at Hilton Coliseum—which should be a concern for A&M fans tomorrow night. But I don't see the Cyclones winning many games on the road, which will land then in the NIT, or allow them to check out the site of the movie Field of Dreams a little earlier.
Postseason projection: NIT

9. Missouri (13-9, 3-4) – Missouri seemed like a bubble team before half of their team was suspended, and they were able to pull off the improbably win against a hungover Kansas State team, but I think that was a bit of a fluke. However, if they're able to sustain that play, the Aggies had better watch out for a little Melvin Watkins magic on Saturday in Colombia.
Postseason projection: At least it's not a very long drive to the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City

10. Nebraska (13-6, 2-4) – The Huskers are going to be fed to Kansas State and Kansas four times this year, plus they've got to make trips south to face A&M and Texas later this season after getting off to a 2-4 start. It's safe to say that Nebraska students can go ahead and start making spring break plans that don't involve the NCAA Tournament.
Postseason projection: What do people do for fun in Nebraska?

11. Oklahoma State (10-11, 1-6) – What a disaster the Cowboys have turned into. Once a proud basketball school, Gallagher Iba is now half empty for Big 12 Conference games and Sean Sutton seems to continually find ways to lose games at home and away. Perhaps if Eddie Sutton had waited a few more weeks, he could have gotten win No. 800 on the bench in Stillwater.
Postseason projection: Let the Baby Sutton farewell tour begin

12. Colorado (9-12, 1-6) – The Buffs are the only other team in the Big 12 with a losing record, and short of a Rocky Mountain miracle, that's not going to change. Richard Roby will end his career much like it began.
Postseason projection: Maybe they'll have time to hit the slopes one last time




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