Big 12 Power Rankings: This League Is (Still) Off Its Rocker Edition

Posted by Nate Kotisso on January 22nd, 2016

We’re almost four weeks into league play, which typically means a select group of contenders have asserted themselves and are heading for the summit they call “Conference Champion Mountain.” It’s a grueling hike to the top, but totally worth it once you get up there. You get to look out at the rest of your conference mates with the knowledge that your better was better than their better. You think about that banner you get to hang in your arena’s rafters that will forever stamp just how good your regular season was. Then, all of a sudden, you realize that you’re up really high. You struggle to breathe. Now, you can’t breathe AT ALL. After fighting for breath, you fall off the mountain, not because of the altitude. No. You fall off the mountain because a scrappy No. 14 seed has ended your quest for a national championship before you had a chance to get out of the Tournament’s first weekend.

Or, at least that’s usually how it goes in the Big 12. This season, though, has brought a special kind of craziness – one none of us could have imagined even a few short weeks ago.

Womp womp. (Screengrab via

Womp womp. (Screengrab via

This is where we are now, so expect a wild and crazy edition of our Big 12 Power Rankings. Here we go.

Power Rankings

1. Oklahoma — 3 points (All voted 1st). Comment: “The Sooners have two losses in Big 12 play, but both of them came on the road against upper echelon competition. Buddy Hield is continuing to play like a National Player of the Year and he has Oklahoma in position to be KenPom’s favorite in the Big 12.” – Chris Stone (@cstonehoops)

2. Kansas — 6 points (All voted 2nd). Comment: “Defensive struggles were at the heart of Tuesday’s upset at the hands of Oklahoma State, but the Jayhawks have been in a bit of a rut offensively, too, averaging only an even 1.00 point per possession over their last four games. One of the biggest factors has been the regression of Wayne Selden, who is scoring just 9.5 points per contest on 37.8% shooting since opening conference play with 24 and 21-point outbursts. The Jayhawk’s depth, along with Bill Self‘s coaching ability, is strong enough that I trust Kansas to get back on track sooner rather than later.” – Brian Goodman (@BSGoodman)

3. West Virginia (tie) — 12 points (Brian & Chris — 3rd, Nate — 6th). Comment: “One thing I am really sold on with West Virginia is their ability to press any team — great, good, average or bad — into oblivion. What continues to plague them is the offense that isn’t generated by forcing turnovers. They grabbed 18 more offensive rebounds than the Longhorns and somehow only scored 10 more second chance points than Texas on Wednesday night. At home. You can press all you want, but if you can’t knock down shots, it’s unlikely you’ll make a deep tournament run, much less win a league like the Big 12.” – Nate Kotisso (@natekotisso)

With a revamped press philosophy, Bob Huggins and West Virginia are climbing their way up the college basketball mountain. (USA TODAY Sports)

Me? No, you. Regardless of who they are playing, Bob Huggins and West Virginia will press anyone, anytime, anywhere to much success. (USA TODAY Sports)

3. Baylor (tie) — 12 points (Nate — 3rd, Chris — 4th, Brian — 5th). Comment: “Weeks after Kansas brought the hammer down on the Bears in The Phog, Baylor finds themselves in sole possession of first place in the Big 12 with a one-game advantage on the Jayhawks. The weird part is the next five conference games for BU are all very winnable (Oklahoma and Texas at home; Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Kansas State on the road). Let’s see how long Baylor keeps the weirdness going.” – NK

5. Iowa State — 13 points (Brian & Nate — 4th, Chris — 5th). Comment: Steve Prohm‘s team stopped the bleeding with consecutive wins over Kansas State and Oklahoma, but with three of their next four games coming against teams ranked in the top ten of KenPom, they can ill afford to let up now.” – BG

6. Texas — 17 points (Nate — 5th, Brian & Chris — 6th). Comment: Shaka Smart seems to be getting the best out of his team in big games, but the Longhorns’ losses to Texas Tech and TCU still linger. They’ve played the easiest schedule in the league to date, so things might get bumpy in the next month.” – CS

7. Oklahoma State — 22 points (Brian & Chris — 7th, Nate — 8th). Comment: “A lot has been said and written about Travis Ford in other places (including this one), but he and his team deserve all the pub in the world for their blowout win over Kansas earlier this week. They were 9-8 going in. I’m sure coaches in Ford’s position doubt their players are even listening to them when a season is going as poorly as Oklahoma State’s has. They heard Ford this time.” – NK

8. Kansas State — 23 points (Nate — 7th, Brian & Chris — 8th). Comment: “The Wildcats’ 1-5 record is a reflection of the fact that they’ve played the Big 12’s toughest conference schedule so far. They’ll get a chance to pick up a second win when Oklahoma State travels to Manhattan tomorrow.” – CS

Bruce Weber's crew had a good night in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Bruce Weber’s crew has played the toughest Big 12 schedule so far. With an easier slate coming up, will their fortunes change? (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

9. Texas Tech — 27 points (All voted 9th). Comment: “The Red Raiders find themselves in ninth place this week but they are by no means finished for an NIT or possible NCAA at-large bid. They’ve pulled all of their weight at home, garnering wins over Big West favorite Hawaii, Big South favorite High Point, Sun Belt favorite Arkansas-Little Rock and suddenly surging Texas. Their RPI stands at 30 ( and strength of schedule is nine ( as of Jan. 21. As a famous songstress once said, ‘The rest is still unwritten.'” – NK

10. Texas Christian — 30 points (All voted 10th). Comment: “The Horned Frogs are a Chris Washburn block and defensive heave away from being 0-6 in Big 12 play. But that renovated arena, though!” – BG

Big 12 Video/GIF of the Week

A game that seemed to get lost in the Big 12 consciousness this week was the sensational Big Monday showdown where the Cyclones knocked the Sooners off 82-77. This will almost assuredly mean a new No. 1 will be crowned in both polls next Monday. Here is point guard Monte Morris celebrating after his jumper gave ISU a two point lead with 24 seconds to play. The young man is “lit”, as the kids would say. (h/t to @cjzero)


Five Big 12 Games You Better Watch This Week

  • Saturday: Oklahoma at Baylor (11 a.m. CT, ESPN)
  • Saturday: West Virginia at Texas Tech (Noon CT, ESPNews)
  • Saturday: Texas at Kansas (1 p.m. CT, ESPN)
  • Monday: Kansas at Iowa State (8 p.m. CT, ESPN)
  • Tuesday: Texas Tech at Oklahoma (6 p.m. CT, ESPN2)
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