Big 12 Power Rankings: Week EightPosted by KoryCarpenter on December 31st, 2012
With schools on Christmas break and a lot of teams giving players a few days off to travel home for the holidays, it was a slow week in the Big 12. There were only eight games this week, highlighted by Baylor’s 94-87 loss at Gonzaga Friday night. The rest of the schedule was the usual end-of-December no-name games against teams like American and UMKC as teams prepare for the conference season’s start on Saturday. Kansas remains on top of the power rankings for another week after dismantling an overmatched American squad in Allen Fieldhouse Saturday night. The Big 12 microsite staff couldn’t agree on Oklahoma State and Kansas State at No. 2, and the trio of Texas, Oklahoma, and Iowa State were tied for fifth place, so we went to KenPom to settle the score. To reiterate the ranking process, I can’t speak for Danny and Nate but my vote isn’t like a Top 25 ballot where teams are almost automatically moved up or down each week with a win or loss. So Baylor lost to Gonzaga in Spokane. Do I think Iowa State or Oklahoma would have fared any better? If the answer is yes, I vote accordingly. If not, then the Bears might not slip because of the loss. With that out of the way, here is where we stand in week eight:
1) Kansas (11-1, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 1
Last Week: W 89-57 vs. American
This Week: Off
- Rundown: Kansas did what it was supposed to do against American on Saturday in a glorified scrimmage. Bill Self is notorious for vastly improving his teams over the winter break when practice times are less limited, and this year is no different. The Jayhawks have been improving steadily since the close wins over San Jose State and Oregon State at the end of November, winning their last five games by an average of 26.2 PPG.
- Interesting Stat: Jeff Withey has been so imposing defensively that teams have basically given up trying to score on him lately. In the last five games, Kansas opponents have attempted 23.6 three-pointers per game. And unless you are playing against Reggie Miller and Ray Allen on the perimeter, I think any team would gladly let its opponents shoot that often from deep.
2) Oklahoma State (8-1, 0-0) (KenPom No. 27)
Previous Ranking: 2
Last Week: Off
This Week: Today vs. Gonzaga, 5:00 PM ESPN, Saturday at Kansas State, 12:30 PM
- Rundown: Gonzaga is 4-0 against the Big 12 this season, looking to make it five wins tonight in Stillwater. Gallagher-Iba Arena should be jumping tonight with the Bulldogs in town, and a Cowboys win would create a definite gap between themselves, Kansas, then everyone else in the conference.
- Interesting Stat: Even with the talented duo of LeBryan Nash and Marcus Page, the Cowboys have not shot the ball well this year (44.2%), but they are the No.3 adjusted defensive team on KenPom.com. Their 81-71 loss to Virginia Tech on December 1 was the only time an opponent has scored over 65 points against them this season. Five teams have failed to reach 50 points against the Cowboys.
3) Kansas State (10-2, 0-0) (KenPom No. 48)
Previous Ranking: 3
Last Week: W 52-44 vs. UMKC
This Week: Today vs. South Dakota State, 1:oo PM, Saturday vs. Oklahoma State, 12:30 PM
- Rundown: Kansas State struggled against UMKC last week, eventually winning by just 12 points. The Wildcats shot 32.1 % from the field against the Kangaroos, but I will consider it a letdown after beating then No. 8 Florida in Kansas City the week prior.
- Interesting Stat: Like Oklahoma State, Kansas State does not shoot the ball well (41.4% on the season) but they still have Frank Martin’s identity. They have grabbed 206 offensive rebounds this season (17.1 ORPG).
4) Baylor (8-4, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 4
Last Week: L 94-87 at Gonzaga
This Week: Saturday vs. Texas, 1:00 PM
- Rundown: The Bears do not have much of an identity right now. They have lost low scoring games (60-58 to Colorado, 63-60 to Charleston) and a high scoring game (94-87 to Gonzaga). They have good wins over Kentucky on the road and BYU at home, but that atrocious loss to Charleston as well as a four-point loss to Northwestern loom large in their profile as well. Their inconsistency could lead to an early exit in March.
- Interesting Stat: How does a team with a future top-10 draft pick like Isaiah Austin and an upperclassmen forward like Cory Jefferson only average 36.7 RPG (122nd nationally)?
5) Iowa State (9-3. 0-0) (KenPom No. 42)
Previous Ranking: 5
Last Week: Off
This Week: Tomorrow vs. Yale, 12:00 PM
- Rundown: Iowa State will have four chances against Kansas and Oklahoma State to get a signature win to show the NCAA Tournament committee, and “Hilton Magic” will probably will them to at least one home win over one of the those teams. But until that happens, the Cyclones will need to keep beating the teams they are supposed to beat, because their best win right now is over BYU.
- Interesting Stat: The Cyclones lead the Big 12 with 82.2 PPG but have given up at least 70 points five times this season.
6) Texas (8-5, 0-0) (KenPom No. 52)
Previous Ranking: 6
Last Week: W 57-41 vs. Rice
This Week: Today vs. Florida A&M, 12:00 PM, Saturday vs. Baylor, 1:00 PM
- Rundown: Now that we know when sophomore guard Myck Kabongo will return (February 13 vs. Iowa State), we know what Texas needs to do until then: Tread water and hope Kabongo will boost their NCAA Tournament chances. They have nine more games without Kabongo and eight regular season games left when he returns. If they can go 6-3 until his return, they should be in a good spot heading into the conference tournament.
- Interesting Stat: On paper, the Longhorns probably have more talent than seven teams in the Big 12. But the loss of Kabongo is evident, as they are averaging only 63.9 PPG (259th in the country) with 11.7 APG as a team (288th in the country).
7) Oklahoma (8-3, 0-0) (KenPom No. 75)
Previous Ranking: 7
Last Week: W 74-63 vs. Ohio
This Week: Today vs. Texas A&M-CC, 2:00 PM, Saturday at West Virginia, 3:00 PM
- Rundown: After finishing 15-16 a year ago, the Sooners are on the right track up in Lon Kruger’s second season. They have nice enough wins over West Virginia and Texas A&M, and should challenge for the final NCAA Tournament berth in the Big 12 with the NIT as a good consolation prize for this team.
- Interesting Stat: If Oklahoma plays West Virginia in the Big 12 Tournament and the best-of-three championship series in the postseason CBI Tournament, the two teams will have played six times this season.
8) West Virginia (7-5, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 8
Last Week: W 74-67 vs. Eastern Kentucky
This Week: Saturday vs. Oklahoma, 3:00 PM
- Rundown: You cannot blame West Virginia’s bad season on transitioning to a new conference, not with four losses to non-Big 12 teams (they also lost to Oklahoma, 77-70, on November 25). Considering they will not get to play teams like Eastern Kentucky, Marist, Oakland, and Radford (four of their seven wins) in the Big 12, it looks like Bob Huggins will have hist worst season since finishing 17-12 at Cincinnati in 2002-03.
- Interesting Stat: Except for big wins over Marist and VMI, the Mountaineers have won by an average of only 4.7 PPG this season. And they weren’t exactly against great teams either: Marshall (10 points), Virginia Tech (one points), Oakland (five points), Radford (10 points), and Eastern Kentucky (seven points).
9) Texas Tech (6-4, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 9
Last Week: W 85-74 vs. North Carolina A&T
This Week: Saturday at. TCU, 5:00 PM
- Rundown: Just in case Texas Tech fans wanted to know if they are the worst team in the Big 12, they will get their chance to find out on Saturday. The Red Raiders travel to TCU in a game that might be entertaining for all the wrong reasons.
- Interesting Stat: For being awful, Texas Tech hasn’t had trouble scoring this season. They are averaging 77.1 PPG (41st nationally). Don’t be surprised, however, to see that number free fall when their powder-soft non-conference schedule is over this week.
10) TCU (9-4, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 10
Last Week: W 67-64 vs. Mississippi Valley State
This Week: Saturday vs. Texas Tech 5:00 PM
- Rundown: TCU has lost to SMU, Northwestern, Houston, and Tulsa this season. They beat Mississippi Valley State by three yesterday. What else is there to say, really?
- Interesting Stat: If there is one team more different than Baylor than anyone else in the country, it has to be TCU. Besides the obvious reasons, like talent, you know exactly what you will get in a TCU game. They have scored over 75 points against a Division I opponent only once this season (76 against UAB) and have reached the 70 point mark only once, as well (73, also against UAB).