The Big 12 has looked like one of the top two conferences in the country this year but couldn’t pull out the victory in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday, only winning 4 of the 9 games. Not much to shake up in the rankings this week. The most important thing to know is it’s Baylor and everyone else.
- Baylor (17-0, 9-0 in conference)
Texas gave Baylor a good fight but Baylor is just on an elite level and is too deep to run with for 40 minutes. The 14 point win continues the 17 game streak of winning by at least 8 points. Adam Flagler and Davion Mitchell were able to shut the door with 3’s to pull away late. Andrew Jones put the Longhorns on his back for the first 29 minutes of the game, scoring 25 of the team’s first 54 points. The Bears defense takes a toll on you as the game goes along and he was held scoreless for the last 11 minutes. Baylor also beat an Auburn team on Saturday that had just upset Missouri. Sharife Cooper and the Tigers can put up points but were held to only 72.
2. Texas (11-4, 5-3 in conference)
Texas stays at number two despite losing their last two games. The loss to Baylor was the first game back for Sims, Ramey, and Cunningham. We’ve seen other players around the country struggle in their first few games back but the Longhorns gave Baylor one of their biggest fights this season. They need to get back on track quickly as they are now tied with West Virginia for 2nd in the Big 12 standings.
3. Oklahoma (11-5, 6-4 in conference)
We may have all jumped on the Oklahoma train too quick. They are two weeks removed from being unranked and jumped all the way up to #9 in the rankings but lost the same day to Texas Tech. Austin Reaves was still out for the game and will return on Saturday. Both teams played phenomenal defense but the difference down the stretch was that Texas Tech had Terrance Shannon and Mac McClung while Oklahoma didn’t have the weapons to keep up. Umoja Gibson and De’Vion Harmon led the way but Harmon couldn’t hit a few big shots to pull ahead of the Red Raiders.
4. Texas Tech (13-5, 5-4 in conference)
The Red Raiders seem to have the perfect group to play against Oklahoma. The switching matchup zone gave the Sooners fits all night and they were able to hold them to 52 points despite Mac McClung not hitting a shot from the field. He used his quickness to get to the rim a few times down the stretch to get to the free throw line.
5. West Virginia (12-5, 5-3 in conference)
I moved West Virginia down another spot despite winning last night and moving into a tie for #2 place in the standings. The defense still isn’t good enough to make a run. The inability to keep anyone in front of them is the biggest problem and its completely an effort issue. Most of the guards have shown that they can do it at times but it needs to be a consistent thing.
6. Kansas (11-6, 5-4 in conference)
We talked on Press Break about the poor performance the Jayhawks had against Tennessee. They don’t have the scorers to keep up with the better teams in the country. They put up a 23 point win against Kansas State but they have now lost nine straight games, most of which have been by 20+. They get the Mountaineers on Saturday and they were able to hit 16 3’s in the first matchup. Maybe this can be a get right game and get them rolling for a chance at another run in March. I will give David McCormack some credit. I did not think he was going to be able to handle the workload being the main guy but he once again led the team in points against Kansas State.
7. Oklahoma State (11-4, 4-4 in conference)
This is the sleeper team in this conference. They’ve taken care of business against everybody they’re supposed to beat. They haven’t lost to a non-ranked team since December 16th. They beat Iowa State and Arkansas this week and Cade Cunningham did another good job in the clutch. He scored the last six points in a close game against Arkansas to get an 81-77 win. It was his first game back from COVID and he scored 21 points off the bench. 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 (9-7, 2-5 in conference)
TCU got a terrible draw coming back from COVID with two games against ranked opponents but it’s a hard thing to avoid in this conference. I was very surprised in their ability to score against Missouri. They put up 89 points in regulation led by Mike Miles with 28 points. The Freshman was able to get in the lane against Pinson and Dru Smith and hit some big shots.
9. Iowa State (2-10, 0-7 in conference)
Iowa State moves out of the basement in the conference mainly because of their effort. They’ve been fighting hard despite not having the talent to keep up with the other teams.
10. Kansas State (5-13, 1-8 in conference)
We’re at nine straight games now with four games lost by 20+. They’ve also failed to reach 60 in five of the nine losses.