1. Baylor (14-0, 2-0)
The Bears finally looked halfway human in a razor-close victory over Iowa State in Waco. Eventually somebody will send Baylor to the deck, but until they do it’s difficult not to regard the Bears as the most powerful team in the Big 12.
2. Kansas (13-1, 2-0)
Svi Mykhailiuk didn’t merely travel but took the Ukraine train en route to his game-winning layup against Kansas State on Tuesday. It was a classic case of Ma’ Phog’s home cookin’, but a win is still a win, no matter how grubbily attained. Should Texas Tech knock off KU on Saturday the Red Raiders will be the sweethearts of the college hoops world.
3. West Virginia (12-2, 1-1)
Mountaineer boss Bob Huggins appeared utterly desolated after a tough loss at Texas Tech, but he has no real reason to cry. WVU remains one heck of a salty outfit, and they will find themselves comfortably in the field of 68 and with a comfy seed when the selections are revealed in March.
4. Iowa State (9-4, 1-1)
Iowa State’s record may not look too sparkly, but there are signs that this teams is beginning to put it together. It started with an impressive comeback win over Texas Tech and continued with a narrow loss to Baylor in Nineveh-on-the-Brazos. Next up is a home tilt against Texas. Don’t be surprised if the Cyclones mash the Horns by 15 or more.
5. Texas Tech (12-2, 1-1)
A laughably soft non-conference schedule and a late collapse in Ames produced many doubts about whether the Red Raiders were anywhere near as good as their record. But the win over West Virginia, a team fully capable of winning the Big 12, erases many of those doubts. It seems Tech is for real after all.
6. Kansas State (12-2, 1-1)
The Wildcats are five points and three blind zebras away from being 14-0. Bruce Weber is doing a great job with this club, and if what goes around really does come around, the breaks may begin falling K-State’s way before too long.
7. TCU (12-2, 1-1)
The other purple team is no slouch either. The Horned Frogs pushed Kansas to the very limit in Fort Worth, and then took out the woozy OU Sooners on Tuesday. TCU next travels to Morgantown to take on an angry Mountaineers unit. If the Frogs manage to hang in that one, I will be mightily impressed.
8. Oklahoma State (10-4, 0-2)
Every year it seems one Big 12 team with a shiny non-conference slate gets brought rudely back down to earth once conference play begins. This year it looks like Brad Underwood’s troops get to play that role. The Cowboys knocked off Connecticut, Georgetown and Wichita State in non-conference, but have lost to West Virginia (badly and at home) and Texas (on the road) to start Big 12 play. OSU needs a win in the worst possible play, but their next opportunity is on the road against Baylor. Things are suddenly looking dismal in Stillwater.
9. Texas (7-7. 1-1)
Everybody is waiting for Shaka Smart’s young guns to finally begin blazing, but time is beginning to run a bit short. A .500 record as mid-season approaches certainly isn’t what most hoops observers expected, and it isn’t making UT brass happy either. The Horns did spring a minor upset by beating Oklahoma State in their last outing, so perhaps that will prove the turning point. The upcoming clash at Iowa State will be most interesting.
10. Oklahoma (6-7, 0-2)
The Sooners have gone from a dream season to Nightmareland lickety-split. Oklahoma has now dropped six straight and travels to Kansas State on Saturday. It will take all of Lon Kruger’s considerable experience and coaching acumen to keep the wheels from completely coming off as his young and struggling team inches its way through the Big 12 meat-grinder.