Other Big 12 squads ranked this week are Oklahoma State (No. 7 in both polls), No. 20/21 Kansas and No. 22/23 Texas Tech. The Jayhawks, 74-55 losers at Nebraska Sunday, have now dropped consecutive conference games by double-digits for the first time in 21 years and trail the Horns by a game for second in the conference standings.
The Iowa State loss dropped Texas all the way from No. 9 to No. 15 in the simulated RPI rankings at collegerpi.com and, consequently, from a third-seed to the No. 4 in ESPN.com's weekly Bracketology. At No. 11, OSU comes as this week's Big 12 RPI leader and the climbin' Cowboys are up to a No. 2 seed in the projected NCAA brackets. For the Horns, the primary advantage to snagging a No. 2 or 3 seed when the official NCAA Tournament selections are announced next month is that No. 4 is bracketed with the top seed should both advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
Head coach Rick Barnes said if he had Saturday's loss to do over again, he would have "played (guards) Kenny Taylor and Sydmill Harris more and (senior F) Brian Boddicker less." His statement had more to do with going with a smaller, quicker lineup than it did with the fact that Boddicker (an 81 percent FT shooter) badly bricked a pair from the charity stripe with 5.3 seconds remaining.
Barnes also knows there are no gimmes when you hit the road in Big 12 play.
"I don't go into these games expecting a blowout," Barnes said Monday. "I know they're going to play us physical at (their) home. They're going to make a run, and they (ISU) did. I go into all these games expecting them to be close."
Consider this Rival Week for Texas. The Horns host Texas A&M (7-14, 0-10 in Big 12) at 8 p.m. (CST) Wednesday in a Fox Sports Southwest broadcast before traveling to Oklahoma on Saturday (16-6, 6-5 in Big 12) in an ESPN televised game (8 p.m. CST). Two wins and the Horns will keep within striking distance no worse than one game behind league leader Oklahoma State (20-2, 10-1), which beat the Sooners in Norman 65-52 Monday night before Saturday's home contest with Nebraska.