Big 12 Power Rankings: Week SixPosted by KoryCarpenter on December 18th, 2012
The top of the Big 12 is unchanged this week, as Kansas and Oklahoma State extended their winning streaks to seven and three games, respectively. The rest of the conference is still a cluster, however, and two teams who were supposed to challenge for the conference title — West Virginia and Texas — did nothing this week to silence their critics. Kansas State and West Virginia were the only Big 12 schools to play anyone of note this past week, and both teams lost convincingly. The Big 12 isn’t getting any better. With only a few weeks left in the non-conference schedule, teams are running out of time to prove themselves as NCAA Tournament prospects.
1) Kansas (8-1, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 1
Last Week: W 89-60 vs. Belmont
This Week: Tuesday vs. Richmond, 6:00 PM CST, Saturday at Ohio State, 3:00 PM
- Rundown: Kansas continues to win after losing its only game of the season over a month ago to Michigan State. They’ve won six of their last seven games by at least 13 points and have set up a great top 10 match-up on Saturday against Ohio State in Columbus, whom the Jayhawks beat twice last season (once in Lawrence and again in the Final Four).
- Reason to be Optimistic: Freshman guard Ben McLemore is as good as people thought he could be, leading the team with 16.1 PPG. He is shooting up NBA Mock Drafts and it’s becoming clear that this will be his only season in Lawrence. His ability to take over a game offensively makes the Jayhawks legitimate Final Four contenders just a month after the team faced plenty of personnel questions.
2) Oklahoma State (8-1, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 2
Last Week: W 91-63 vs. Central Arkansas
This Week: Wednesday vs. Texas-Arlington, 7:00 PM, Saturday vs.Tennessee Tech, 12:00 PM
- Rundown: Last week’s win over Central Arkansas didn’t help the Cowboys in the weekly polls or this week’s power rankings, but they continue to pile up wins leading up to the New Year’s Eve home game against Gonzaga. This week’s action should be another pair of scrimmages.
- Reason to be Optimistic: Outside of the 10-point loss to Virginia Tech, the Cowboys have beaten the teams they were supposed to beat. That sounds simple enough, but too many teams lose focus some nights and drop head-scratching games this time of year. It will pay off come Selection Sunday.
3) Baylor (7-3, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 4
Last Week: W 85-68 vs. Lamar, W 73-57 vs. South Carolina-Upstate
This Week: Friday vs. BYU, 8:00 PM
- Rundown: Baylor is back in the No. 3 spot this week, mostly by default. Senior point guard Pierre Jackson is still playing like a conference player of the year, averaging 19.3 PPG and 6.0 APG through 10 games. The offense is averaging 76.7 PPG but its been slowed down in each of the Bears’ three losses, when they scored just 62.3 PPG.
- Reason to be Optimistic: Like Kansas, Baylor is getting significant contributions from one of its highly touted freshmen. 7″1′ center Isaiah Austin is averaging 13.9 PPG and 8.6 RPG this season.
4) Kansas State (7-2, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 3
Last Week: L 68-52 vs. Gonzaga
This Week: Tuesday vs. Texas Southern, 7:00 PM, Saturday vs. Florida, 7:00 PM
- Rundown: If Kansas State really is the fourth best team in the Big 12, we might only have three NCAA Tournament teams in the bunch. Yes, the Wildcats are 7-2. But when a three-point win over George Washington might be your best win, it doesn’t exactly instill confidence in future endeavors.
- Reason to be Optimistic: Despite getting beaten badly by Gonzaga last week, Kansas State is still one of the best rebounding teams in the country, securing 42.6 RPG.
5) Iowa State (8-3, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 5
Last Week: W 86-77 vs. Drake
This Week: Wednesday at UMKC, 7:00 PM
- Rundown: The Cyclones have an odd road trip on Wednesday to Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City to face UMKC out of the Summit League. Not unlike Kansas State, Iowa State doesn’t have a great non-conference win as of today. They’re 0-2 against power conference competition and 0-2 against ranked teams.
- Reason to be Optimistic: Iowa State is among the top 10 in the country in PPG (82.7) and RPG (44.5) thanks to former Utah transfer Will Clyburn. The senior guard leads the team with 14.3 PPG and is second with 7.7 RPG.
6) Oklahoma (7-2, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 6
Last Week: W 64-54 vs. Texas A&M
This Week: Tuesday vs. Stephen F. Austin, 7:00 PM
- Rundown: It would be hard to argue against putting the Sooners higher on this list. Wins against West Virginia and Texas A&M aren’t much to brag about, but they might be better resume builders than most Big 12 teams can claim.
- Reason to be Optimistic: Head coach Lon Kruger surprised a lot of people when he named former transfer and first year forward Amath M’Baye one of his team’s captains, but M’Baye has impressed so far this season. He is averaging 9.4 PPG and 6.2 RPG.
7) Texas (6-4, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 8
Last Week: W 75-63 vs. Texas State
This Week: Wednesday vs. North Carolina, 8:00 PM, Saturday at Michigan State, 1:00 PM
- Rundown: Things aren’t getting any better for Texas right now. As they continue to wait on the final word regarding Myck Kabongo’s eligibility, North Carolina and Michigan State are on the schedule this week. A 12-point win over Texas State last week probably didn’t boost anyone’s confidence, either.
- Reason to be Optimistic: While there isn’t much to be thankful for up to this point, a win over North Carolina or Michigan State could be huge for the Longhorns heading into conference play. They get the Tar Heels at home on Wednesday, so there’s always a chance they pull the upset.
8) West Virginia (4-5, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 7
Last Week: L 60-56 vs. Duquesne, L 81-66 vs Michigan
This Week: Wednesday vs. Oakland, 8:00 PM, Saturday vs. Radford, 3:00 PM
- Rundown: The Mountaineers had a chance to improve to three games above .500 and improve their NCAA Tournament resume with a big win over a ranked Michigan team. Instead, they were blown out by the Wolverines and lost to Duquesne on the road.
- Reason to be Optimistic: Their schedule gives them a good shot to start a three-game winning streak before Big 12 play begins next month. With the way they have played this year, a little momentum heading into the conference season is all they can hope for right now.
9) Texas Tech (5-2, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 8
Last Week: L 80-75 vs McNeese State
This Week: Wednesday vs. Alabama, 7:00 PM, Saturday vs. Arizona State, 1:00 PM
- Rundown: Wednesday’s loss to McNeese State confirmed what most everyone thought of the Red Raiders this season, that they aren’t very good.
- Reason to be Optimistic: Junior forward Jaye Crockett is an exciting player to watch, and is worth spending $5 on to see him play if you end up in Lubbock. He is leading the team with 15.6 PPG and 8.6 RPG
10) TCU (6-4, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 10
Last Week: Off
This Week: Tuesday vs. Southern, 8:00 PM, Saturday at Rice, 7:00 PM
- Rundown: The Horned Frog offense continues to sputter, as they failed to break 50 points in their last two losses. They are nearly last (341st) in the country in PPG (54.5), which would cause them problems in any conference, let alone the Big 12.
- Reason to be Optimistic: Four-star Center Karviar Shepherd will be on campus next year, hopefully bringing a little more excitement to a program that badly needs it.