The Big 12 seemed to be the conference hit hardest by COVID the last few weeks but most of the teams are back in action but the rust is showing. Baylor continues to get everyone’s best test but they still lead the way in the conference.
- Baylor (14-0, 7-0 in conference)
I think the Bears might have slept walked through the first half of Saturday’s game against Oklahoma State. Without Cunningham, the experience and depth of Baylor felt like it would be too much. As the game played out, the Bears did a great job of penetrating the zone and getting easy buckets. It helps when you also have Jared Butler on your team and he can go hit three straight 3’s for you. The nine points on those three shots ballooned the lead from three to twelve and it was over from that point forward. Baylor added 19 assists in the game, keeping them in the top ten in the country for that stat. In a 40 minute game, it will be tough for any team to play a zone against them. Eventually, they’ll find the holes and make you pay.
2. Texas (11-3, 5-2 in conference)
Despite Texas losing to Oklahoma, I still think Texas is the best team that can take down Baylor for the Big 12 title. They played the game Tuesday without Jericho Sims, Courtney Ramey, and Brock Cunningham. Don’t forget it was K.T. Turner on the sidelines leading the way instead of Shaka Smart. Foul trouble was the last thing they needed and they had three players with four fouls before the under 16 timeout in the second half. There isn’t a team in the country that could win with those circumstances. Matt Coleman did a great job leading the way. He continues to shine and be a leader for this Longhorn team.
3. Oklahoma (10-4, 6-3 in conference)
I kept them down in the rankings long enough. This team is for real. They’ve now won back to back games against top ten teams after taking down Texas last night 80-79. They actually did everything they could to throw that one away but managed to hold on. The Sooners held an eleven point lead in the second half but needed two free throws from Austin Reaves. Umoja Gibson continues to play a big role off the bench getting 12 points. They got some love by getting added to the top 25 this week and have a chance for another big jump if they can pull off another upset against top ten Alabama.
4. West Virginia (11-4, 4-3 in conference)
This team keeps pushing me away and then they pull me right back in. I’ve never given up on the Mountaineers but it has been a big adjustment from what you are used to seeing. Giving up 87 points is not in Bob Huggins’ DNA. This team has a lot of guys that can hit shots but they still need to do a little better job staying in front of people on the defensive end. I don’t think you want to be in a track meet every game. Especially with their conditioning not being the best after the long layoff.
5. Texas Tech (11-5, 4-4 in conference)
Texas Tech is the second team this season to fall victim to the Mountaineers’ ability to record big second half comebacks for wins. Mac McClung did everything he could do to lead his team to victory. He got 30 points including a few big shots down the stretch. I said last week I would take some time off from bashing him. After that performance, I may not have much bad to say about him the rest of the year. For the team as a whole, they got to the rim really whenever they wanted to for about 25 minutes of the game. They forced turnovers, got out on the break, and finished at the rim. Down the stretch, they just couldn’t find a way to get a stop. West Virginia scored on each of their last ten shots. A couple stops there guarantees a victory.
6. Kansas (10-5, 4-4 in conference)
Has a Kansas team ever been ranked outside the top three in the conference this far into the season? They’ve lost three straight which hasn’t happened since 2013. Those three games have been a brutal stretch of road games having to take on Baylor, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State. The same thing continues to happen for the Jayhawks. Down the stretch, who is going to get them a bucket. It’s probably Ochai Agbaji and he just does not have that level of ability like some of the other guards in this league. He only managed 10 points in the loss to Oklahoma.
7. Oklahoma State (10-4, 4-4 in conference)
Oklahoma State had to play the last two games without number one pick Cade Cunningham and they managed to go 1-1. The loss came to #2 Baylor and the Cowboys led in the first half thanks to Kalib Boone and some good defense. The zone they play can cause serious issues for teams but Baylor is on another level. The ball movement eventually broke them down and led to a double digit loss for the Cowboys. Rondel Walker returned on Monday to put up 20 points off the bench. Matthew Alexander Moncrieffe scored a career high 22 points.
8. TCU (9-5, 2-4 in conference)
TCU is getting towards the end of their two weeks off and will return to action on Thursday against Kansas.
9. Kansas State (5-11, 1-7 in conference)
Kansas State has now lost six straight games. The only thing keeping them at the nine spot is the win over Iowa State. I was close to switching them after the horrendous performance on Saturday, losing the West Virginia 69-47. The Mountaineers were coming off the break from COVID and looked exhausted for most of the game. Kansas State still could only manage 17 points in the first half and had more turnovers than points for most of it. Their 28 turnovers are the most by a Big 12 team this season and the most in a game under Bruce Weber. I’ll give them credit. They fought back and got it within 8 but the Mountaineers looked like they were just trying to escape and live another day.
10. Iowa State (2-8, 0-6 in conference)
Iowa State was one of the teams with a few weeks off but it was much of the same on Monday with an 81-60 loss to Oklahoma State. Even though they returned, they were still with only six scholarship players and only seven players got minutes during the game. Rasir Bolton was out there by himself and put up 19 points. They didn’t have an answer as they got tired in the second half, allowing Oklahoma State to shoot 68%. They’ll look to get an out of conference victory on Saturday against a rising Mississippi State program.