Big 12 Power Rankings: Week SevenPosted by KoryCarpenter on December 24th, 2012
Don’t look now, but the Big 12 might not be as awful as we thought. Big wins by Kansas, Kansas State, and Texas this week helped improve the conference’s reputation, for now at least. The biggest surprise came Saturday night as Kansas State entered as 11-point underdogs to Florida in nearby Kansas City. The Wildcats won the game by six over the much-hyped Gators to improve to 9-2 on the year. Kansas was a rare five-point underdog as well on Saturday afternoon in Columbus against Ohio State, but the Jayhawks eventually won, 74-66. And then there was Texas, who has struggled most of the year without point guard Myck Kabongo in the lineup. The Longhorns beat North Carolina at home last Wednesday in a game that was not close. Yes, the Tar Heels are overrated, but it was a nice win for a Texas team that badly needed one.
1) Kansas (10-1, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 1
Last Week: W 87-59 vs. Richmond, W 74-66 vs. Ohio State
This Week: Saturday vs. American, 7:00 PM
- Rundown: Last week, Bill Self said his team’s season would start Saturday against Ohio State. The Jayhawks beat the Buckeyes for the third time in 13 months and left Columbus as legitimate national championship contenders.
- Feather in the Cap: If Ohio State keeps winning, Saturday’s road win over the Buckeyes will look great for Kansas on Selection Sunday. The Jayhawks’ defense was nearly unstoppable, thanks in large part to center Jeff Withey. His shot-blocking ability kept the OSU players on the perimeter most of the game, where they took bad shots repeatedly and finished with just 66 points.
2) Oklahoma State (10-1, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 2
Last Week: W 69-44 vs. Texas-Arlington, W 78-42 vs. Tennessee Tech
This Week: Off
- Rundown: I kept the Cowboys at No. 2 this week because of their overall resume to date (certainly not because of wins over Texas-Arlington and Tennessee Tech), but Danny had Kansas State in this spot. When tied, we turn to KenPom for the final verdict, and his ratings have Oklahoma State at 18th in the country. The Cowboys are third in the country in adjusted defense, behind only Kansas and Louisville.
- Feather in the Cap: North Carolina State is not the top 10 team that the Cowboys beat last month, but it was still an impressive win for head coach Travis Ford. Oklahoma State will have another chance at a resume-building win this week on New Year’s Eve, as No. 14 Gonzaga comes to Stillwater.
3) Kansas State (9-2, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 4
Last Week: W 78-69 vs. Texas Southern, W 67-61 vs. Florida
This Week: Saturday vs. UMKC, 6:00 PM
- Rundown: Junior guard Will Spradling had 17 points, six rebounds, five assists, and zero turnovers in 39 minutes in Saturday’s win over Florida. The Wildcats had 11 offensive rebounds and outrebounded the Gators by 10 caroms in the win. With two easy non-conference games upcoming (UMKC and South Dakota), an NCAA Tournament bid suddenly looks inevitable.
- Feather in the Cap: It certainly isn’t the unimpressive wins over Lamar, North Florida or Texas Southern. There won’t be many opportunities for marquee wins in the Big 12 this season, so Saturday’s win over Florida was huge for this team’s resume.
4) Baylor (8-3, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 3
Last Week: W 73-57 vs. South Carolina-Upstate, W 79-64 vs. BYU
This Week: Friday At Gonzaga, 7:00 PM
- Rundown: Is Baylor the team that beat Kentucky in Rupp Arena or the one that lost to the College of Charleston and Northwestern? There is too much talent on the roster to have to ask that question, but alas, Scott Drew never ceases to amaze. Point guard Pierre Jackson is playing as well as almost anybody in the conference, with 19 PPG and 6.3 APG this season.
- Feather in the Cap: Kentucky is not nearly as good as it was last season, and it isn’t nearly as good as people thought the Wildcats would be this season. But the 64-55 win in Rupp Arena earlier this month is all Baylor has going for them right now. Their only hope is that the Wildcats keep winning games so people forget those other losses to the College of Charleston and Northwestern (an entirely possible scenario).
5) Iowa State (9-3, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 5
Last Week: W 76-61 At UMKC
This Week: Off
- Rundown: The Cylones had a rare road game against UMKC last week, winning by 15 points. The offense has continued to impress, ranking seventh in the nation in PPG (82.5) and 14th in APG (17.2). They’ve scored at least 80 points in eight of their nine wins this season.
- Feather in the Cap: They don’t have any big wins yet. They are 0-2 against power conference schools and could use a win or two against Kansas and Oklahoma State in the four tries they get, beginning with the Jayhawks in Lawrence on January 9.
6) Texas (7-5, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 7
Last Week: W 85-67 vs. North Carolina, L 67-56 At Michigan State
This Week: Saturday vs. Rice, 1:00 PM
- Rundown: Texas fans would tell you last week’s 18-point win over North Carolina is a sign of what the Longhorns are capable of this season. I’d say the Tar Heels are overrated. Their best win might be over an abysmal Mississippi State team. I think Saturday’s loss to Michigan State is more indicative of Texas this season, especially without Myck Kabongo in the lineup.
- Feather in the Cap: North Carolina may be overrated, but barring another season in the NIT, people will still see that win on the Longhorns schedule and be impressed.
7) Oklahoma (7-3, 0-0 Big 12)
Previous Ranking: 6
Last Week: L 56-55 vs. Stephen F. Austin
This Week: Saturday vs. Ohio, 7:00 PM
- Rundown: Last week’s loss to the Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin all but killed any dreams Oklahoma fans had of receiving an at-large bid this season, but head coach Lon Kruger seems to be pushing the program in the right direction for the long term. With his reputation and at a football school like OU, he will have plenty of time to prove himself again.
- Feather in the Cap: It would have been Gonzaga, but that wasn’t to be. The Sooners will get four chances against Kansas and Oklahoma State with the Big 12′s round robin schedule, however.
8) West Virginia (6-5, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 8
Last Week: W 76-71 vs. Oakland, W 72-62 vs. Radford
This Week: Sunday vs. Eastern Kentucky, 3:00 PM
- Rundown: What a disappointing season for the Mountaineers. Losses have been ugly (Hello, Davidson and Duquesne), and wins haven’t been much prettier (beating Oakland and Radford last week by a combined 15 points). Transitioning to a new league is one thing, but this would have been a disastrous season if they were playing the in Big 12, Big East, or a local YMCA Over-30 league.
- Feather in the Cap: Beating Gonzaga and/or Michigan earlier this season could have done wonders for the Mountaineers. They lost those two games by a combined 49 points.
9) Texas Tech (5-4, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 9
Last Week: L 66-62 vs. Alabama, L 77-62 vs. Arizona State
This Week: Friday vs. North Carolina A&T, 7:00 PM
- Rundown: Texas Tech is not the worst team in the Big 12 right now because of that football school from the Mountain West that joined the league not too long ago. And even then, I’m not sure I can keep putting the Red Raiders as high as ninth on this list.
- Feather in the Cap: Grambling?
10) TCU (8-4, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 10
Last Week: W 68-57 vs. Southern, W 65-63 vs. Rice
- Rundown: I’ll admit it, I think we have been putting TCU in this spot because they are a bad team whose basketball program isn’t ready for a conference like the Big 12. But the Horned Frogs probably have the edge over Texas Tech in a blind resume look. Things might change next week.
- Feather in the Cap: As of today, TCU’s best win is probably over Rice or Navy, but it will probably be Texas Tech after next week.