Big 12 Power Rankings: We Can See Clearly Now Edition

Posted by Big 12 Team on January 13th, 2017

With four games of conference action now in the books, we have good clarity on the league’s pecking order. The unblemished Jayhawks maintain their perch at the top of the standings, followed by West Virginia after its demolition of Baylor in front of a national audience. The middle is typically where things get jumbled, but Iowa State’s 3-1 start and Texas Tech’s head-to-head win over Kansas State this week made #4-#6 a fairly easy call. Rounding out the list of NCAA Tournament-caliber teams is TCU, followed by a trio of teams with just one combined win between them. Below is how our five Big 12 microsite writers — Drew Andrews, Justin Fedich, Brian Goodman, Nate Kotisso, and Chris Stone — see the conference stacking up entering the weekend.

  1. Kansas – “Roughly halfway through the regular season, Frank Mason is shooting better on three-pointers (54.9%) than he is on two-pointers (52.3%). Combine that staggering level of shooting efficiency with his flair for the dramatic against Duke and Oklahoma (not to mention his team’s status as the likely #1 team in America on Monday afternoon) and you have a recipe for a first-team All-American. Mason will have two chances to add to his legend when he goes toe-to-toe with Oklahoma State’s Jawun Evans and Iowa State’s Monte’ Morris over the next few days.” -Brian Goodman
  2. West Virginia – When the Mountaineers’ defense is forcing turnovers like it did against Baylor (29 miscues), West Virginia is nearly impossible to beat. Unsurprisingly, Bob Huggins‘ team is ranked first nationally in both steal and turnover percentage defense, yet somehow it also lost to Temple. The Mountaineers play two of the more turnover-prone teams in the Big 12 over the next five days in what should be blowouts.” -Drew Andrews

    Could this finally be the year that a program, such as Bob Huggins’ West Virginia squad, knocks off mighty Kansas? (Getty)

  3. Baylor – “Don’t let the loss to West Virginia overwhelm your opinion of the Bears. They still have the league’s top defense in conference play — they just need the offense to eventually catch up since Baylor has only made 32.8 percent of its threes in four league games.” – Chris Stone
  4. Iowa State – “The Cyclones’ history of facing Oklahoma State on the road had been decidedly one-sided, as Iowa State lost every game in Stillwater from 1989-2013. With Wednesday night’s very nice victory at Gallagher-Iba Arena, seniors Monte’ Morris and Matt Thomas departed Oklahoma State for the final time with four wins in four years.” -Nate Kotisso
  5. Texas Tech – “The Red Raiders are a couple of narrow wins over West Virginia and Kansas State away from 0-4 in Big 12 play, but in part because of those victories, Texas Tech is still very much a part of the NCAA Tournament picture. With a road game against Oklahoma and two home games against TCU and Oklahoma State upcoming, Chris Beard‘s team has a good chance to stay in the at-large conversation for a while longer.” -Justin Fedich
  6. Kansas State – “With three close losses to NCAA Tournament-caliber teams, the Wildcats have proven unable to conquer their close-game demons. One of the many redeeming qualities of the Big 12’s depth, however, is that there’s always another great opportunity just around the corner. Kansas State needs quality wins, but it just so happens that they’ll have a chance to put a stamp on their resume when Baylor comes to Manhattan Saturday afternoon.” -BG
  7. TCU – Losses against the two best conference teams and wins against the two worst conference teams make it difficult to gauge the Horned Frogs at this point. This team has been very effective on the defensive end, but its next two games against Iowa State and Texas Tech will show whether they can compete with the meat of the conference.” -DA
  8. Oklahoma State – “The Cowboys entered Big 12 play at 10-2 but have gone 0-4 in the league so far. The big problem is that shots aren’t falling. Although they’ve made 38.1 percent of their threes this year, they’re shooting just 34.9 percent from deep in conference play.” -CS
  9. Oklahoma – “The Sooners are completely lost without Jordan Woodard, but they were struggling to close out games even with the senior guard in the lineup. Oklahoma has lost eight of its last nine games, a mark of a team that has endured the biggest fall from last season’s wild success.” -JF
  10. Texas – “It was clear from the outset that this season would be a struggle. With the losses mounting, Tevin Mack‘s indefinite suspension and a rugged upcoming schedule, it is hard to find much progress in Austin. Freshman Jarrett Allen was the McDonald’s All-American who many pundits thought would handle the Texas offense. After a disappointing start to the year (9.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.3 BPG in nine games), Allen has picked it up quite a bit over his last seven games (13.6 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 1.7 BPG).” -NK

Bonus Ball

With Georges Niang and Jameel McKay playing professionally and Steve Prohm turning Iowa State into a solid defensive team, the Cyclones have a slightly different identity but their point guard, Monte’ Morris, is as good as ever. On Wednesday night against Oklahoma State, the senior floor general became the first player this season to post 30 points, five assists, five rebounds, four steals and zero turnovers in a single game.

Five Big 12 Games To Watch

  • Saturday: Baylor at Kansas State (4:30 PM ET, ESPNU)
  • Saturday: Iowa State at TCU (5:30 PM ET, FSSW)
  • Monday: Kansas at Iowa State (9:00 PM ET, ESPN)
  • Wednesday: TCU at Texas Tech (7:30 PM ET, FSSW)
  • Wednesday: Kansas State at Oklahoma State (8:00 PM ET, ESPNU)
Brian Goodman (987 Posts)

Brian Goodman a Big 12 microsite writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BSGoodman.

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