I started this off by writing 2020. Great start to the new year. Let’s put 2020 in the rear view mirror and get straight to the rankings.
- Baylor (9-0, 2-0 in conference)
Baylor finally gets the bump that they deserve. They are the most complete team in this league and one of the most dominant teams in the country. They are beating teams by an average of 30 points/game and rank behind only Gonzaga in almost every metric. They’ve still had a bit of an easy schedule with most of the ranked teams in the conference coming in the second half of the Big 12 schedule. It is still easy to see that this is a great all around team. They shoot the ball at a high percentage, move the ball to get easy buckets, and hound you on defense. If anybody has a weakness for them, let me know because I’m not seeing it.
2. Texas (8-1, 2-0 in conference)
The Longhorns get another big victory to add to their resume and move all the way up to #4 in the AP Top 25. It was a total beatdown of Kansas on Saturday 84-59. Texas went on a nice run to end the half and never looked back. Five players scored double figures and that does not count Greg Brown who has emerged as a big strength of this team. Against the smaller Kansas, he only played 16 minutes so it was nice to see everyone else contribute without him on the floor. The backcourt of Ramsey, Jones, and Coleman combined for 45 points and shot 50% from the field. Shaka has figured it in Austin.
3. Kansas (8-2, 2-1 in conference)
Kansas is a very difficult team to figure out. They are still Kansas and I trust Bill Self to figure it out but I don’t trust anyone outside of Jalen Wilson. They will win a lot of games but any team that they go up against that can match their small lineup is going to beat them. There are some metrics that agree with me. NET has Kansas outside the Top 25. Bill Self has to find a way to get more guys to contribute if they want to do anything in March.
4. West Virginia (9-3, 2-2 in conference)
This is a whole new team from a week ago so its hard to put them in a spot here. Their strength has become a slight weakness with Culver and Osabuohien as the only true big guys to get minutes. But if the new lineup includes Kedrian Johnson and they go to more of a pressure style that worked against Oklahoma State, this could turn in to a Press Virginia with more of a shooting presence than those teams. McBride, Sherman, and Culver can lead this team on the offensive end with a little help from the rest of the cast. They’ll be ok. Just be patient as they figure this out.
5. Oklahoma (6-2, 2-1 in conference)
Oklahoma started off its difficult stretch against four ranked teams with an upset over #9 West Virginia 75-71. This was the Mountaineers first game without Oscar Tshiebwe but don’t hold that against the Sooners. Reaves and Manek were held in check but Umoja Gibson had a break out performance with 29 points and 8 threes. He hit dagger after dagger to hold on to the victory. He earned Big 12 and NCAA.com player of the week for his performance. The Sooners can quickly move up the rankings here with another victory or two over Baylor or Kansas this week.
6. Texas Tech (8-3, 1-2 in conference)
The Red Raiders had a poor performance on Saturday on the defensive end, giving up 82 points in a loss to Oklahoma State. The concerning part is that the Cowboys out-rebounded them and was able to create 14 turnovers with their zone defense. The zone game gave the Red Raiders fits. I still don’t love this team on the offensive end. Their guard’s are too streaky to fall in love with them like some of the teams above them.
7. TCU (9-2, 2-1 in conference)
Like I said a few weeks ago, RJ Nembhard is a problem. He scored 21 points in the win over Kansas State on Saturday. I talked a few weeks ago that they thrive off of shooting the three. They proved against Kansas State that they can play inside too. They only shot 13 and struggled, only making three. They only managed 67 points but it was enough to escape with a victory. Road wins are hard to come by so they’ll take it however they can get it.
8. Oklahoma State (7-3, 1-3 in conference)
I have a tough time putting the Cowboys all the way down at 8 after seeing them destroy the Mountaineers in the first 30 minutes of last night’s game. Cade Cunningham got in foul trouble and West Virginia was able to up the pressure on the guards which created the 19 point comeback win. This team already has three conference losses and they led in the second half of all three games. This young team just needs to figure out how to close out games.
9. Iowa State (2-5, 0-3 in conference)
Iowa State has lost five of their last six games with the only win coming against Jackson State. They’ve battled and kept it close against some of the top teams in the league so they get the slight edge over Kansas State. Turnovers play a big part of why they are losing games. They rank 317th in the country with 17.1 turnovers/game.
10. Kansas State (5-6, 1-2 in conference)
Pick your poison for the last spot. You could make an argument that the Wildcats have a win over Iowa State so they should be higher. I am determining this one on the eye test and I just don’t like anything I see from this team. There is no bench and no real star player that can carry this team.