The recent battle with Baylor was easily the most anticipated Big 12 game of the season, and the Jayhawks took care of business at home. The next most anticipated game will be Kansas’ trip to Nineveh-on-the-Brazos for the rematch. And it is entirely possible that home-court advantage will prove decisive in that one, too.
2. West Virginia
The Mountaineers have won three in a row with home victories over Kansas and Texas A&M, and a convincing road victory over Iowa State. The only thing keeping WVU out of serious title contention is its penchant for lapses against teams such as Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Temple. Consistent maximization of potential is elusive for the Huggins Fun Bunch.
There is hardly any shame in losing by five points in the Phog, but prior victories by only for against Texas Tech and by three at Ole Miss suggest the Bears are not as fearsome as they were earlier in the season. This is still a very good basketball team, but one wonders if it might be on a slow downward trajectory entering February.
4. Oklahoma State
Hard as it is to believe, Oklahoma State may be playing the best basketball of any team in the Big 12 right now. The Cowboys captured lightning at Texas Tech and are now on a four-game winning streak that includes a 28-point massacre of a very respectable Arkansas outfit. Their upcoming game at West Virginia could prove epic.
5. Texas Tech
The Red Raiders are not playing very well right now, but the same can be said for every team following Tech in this edition of the Power Rankings. The Big 12 is beginning to now look like a three- or four-team conference. At any rate, at least the Red Raiders play better at home than numbers six through 10.
The Froggies appeared dead in the water after a four-game losing steak that began at Texas Tech. Then TCU sprang back to life and beat Kansas State in the Octagon of Doom. Lord only knows what they have in store next.
7. Iowa State
The Clones are 5-4 in conference play, but have lost two in a row and four of their last six. Their upcoming game at Kansas could prove interesting. Will the Jayhawks overlook ISU, or perhaps come out flat after the clash with Baylor? Probably not, but there’s always a chance.
8. Kansas State
The Wildcats have dropped three straight, with road losses at Iowa State and Tennessee, and a surprising home loss to TCU. Now Bruce Weber’s charges draw Baylor, Kansas and West Virginia back to back to back. Consider the back broken.
The Longhorns appear to have revived somewhat with home wins over Oklahoma and Texas Tech sandwiched around a two-point road loss to Georgia. Outside of Jarrett Allen, UT doesn’t have anybody who really scares you, but the team has become competitive anyway. Perhaps this group will finish strongly enough to save Shaka Smart’s job.
After two glorious wins over Texas Tech and West Virginia, the Sooners have now dropped four straight, with one of them a 32-point pasting by Florida. It’s beginning to look like that very brief winning streak was an anomaly and that OU will go from the Final Four to the Big 12 cellar in one season.