The top of the Big 12 continues to win games and move up in the rankings. The conference currently has the most teams in the top fifteen with five. KenPom also likes the Big 12 with those five teams each sitting in the top ten and Baylor sits atop the rankings. We will be treated tonight to a matchup between top six teams (West Virginia at Kansas) before the conference takes it’s Christmas break. We won’t see another Big 12 conference game until January 2nd. Let’s take a look at the power rankings. With Kansas beating Texas Tech and Texas beating Oklahoma State, there wasn’t much movement in the rankings this week. Tech
- Kansas (7-1)
I’m still going to put the Jayhawks at number one this week after pulling out a victory against Texas Tech. Ochai Agbaji is one of those players that plays a quiet game but by the time the clock hits zeroes, he has twenty points. Diving in to KenPom this weekend, he does not like Kansas as much as they sit at 8th overall, 4th in the Big 12. They proved that they can play a little defense in that game on Thursday, holding Texas Tech to only 57 points. The offense is struggling a little bit but I still believe in Bill Self being able to draw up a play to get a guy a layup like he did in the final minute. The true first test for who this team is comes tonight against the Mountaineers. How will they combat the size Derek Culver and Oscar Tshiebwe bring to the floor? I don’t really know if they have an answer to that question unless they can consistantly make shots from the outside and hope to outscore West Virginia. If West Virginia can pull out the victory, there will be a new number one next week.
2. Baylor (6-0)
Baylor continues to blow out the team’s on their schedule with a 31 point win over Kansas State 57 point win over Arkansas Pine Bluff. I know there is still a strong argument for them to be number one in these power rankings but I need to see it against a legit team. We will still have to wait until 2021 to see that so until them I’m gonna hold them to number two. Guard play has been impressive and leading the way to three hundred point games this season.
3. West Virginia (7-1)
The inconsistency of the Mountaineers will ultimately be their downfall if they don’t figure it out before March. They struggled against North Texas two Friday’s ago and did it once again this Friday against Iowa State. West Virginia trailed in large part due to the fact that they can’t play defense on high ball screens. Small guards like Rasir Bolton have been able to get North and South way too easily. I think the answer is to switch screens with bigs that are athletic enough to play on the outside but Coach Huggins has shown no interest in trying that. We will see if any changes are made against the four guard attack of Kansas tonight.
4. Texas (7-1)
A Texas win keeps them here at four but I think this game proved that the line between the top tier and middle tier might be in a different spot than I thought the last few weeks. I’ve said that Texas is in the second group of teams behind West Virginia, Baylor, and Kansas. I asked for Sims to take the next step on the offensive end or another big to step up. We’ve seen Greg Brown take the reigns in the last couple games but especially in the Oklahoma State game with a career high 24 points and 14 rebounds. Matt Coleman struggled for the first game that I’ve watched but still managed to get 15 points with 9 coming from the free throw line. A few of those were huge makes down the stretch to help Texas put the game away.
5. Texas Tech (6-2)
I’m going to give Texas Tech a slight bump for playing well against Kansas and leading for most of the second half. I still have a lot of questions on if this team can score. The book is out on how to slow them down as Kansas went to the zone at the end of the game and the guards didn’t do enough to try to get the ball in the middle for easy shots. They settled for too many outside shots and that isn’t their recipe for victory. I’m still not sold on Mac McClung. His shot selection and outside shot are two areas that I don’t trust him. If he sticks to his strength of attacking the rim, this team is in a better position.
6. Oklahoma (5-1)
I said last week that Oklahoma had a bad loss against Xavier. Now the Musketeers are 8-0 and have moved into the Top 25. That loss does not look nearly as bad. They may not be the most talented team but don’t ever count out a team with four seniors in the starting lineup. Brady Manek feels like he has been in Norman for 10 years and is putting up almost 17 points per game while shooting 50/45/85. Let’s see what they can do tonight against Texas Tech and possibly jump another spot next week.
7. TCU (6-2)
RJ Nembhard is a problem. He was Conference Player of the Week last week and put up another 20 point performance in the win against Oklahoma State. The Cowboys got a little lost defensively on the final possession and Nembhard was able to get to the free throw line for an uncontested jumper. They live and die by the three but it has worked so far. Four players are shooting over 40% from deep. The next couple months are going to tighten up though as they have to take on these fierce Big 12 defenses.
8. Oklahoma State (6-2)
The Cowboys gave Texas everything they had but couldn’t pull out a victory as they fell 77-74. They also fell earlier in the week to TCU when RJ Nembhard scored late to give the Horned Frogs a 77-76 victory. This team is going to give every team a tough game but they are still young and trying to find their way to finish games. The guards haven’t shown that they can consistently make shots from deep, shooting under 30% in each of their last four games. They won’t end up this low but other teams are playing better and winning games right now.
9. Iowa State (2-4)
Iowa State put up a good fight against West Virginia for the majority of the game Friday night. When things got tight, they couldn’t get North and South like they wanted to. West Virginia was also able to use their strength down low to get the Cyclones in foul trouble and regain the lead. Rasir Bolton looked good and should be the focal point moving forward.
10. Kansas State (4-5)
Kansas State was able to get a conference win so they aren’t the bottom dwellers in the standings at the moment but they have looked terrible outside of that Iowa State game. I don’t expect them to move from this spot during the season.