Kansas drops in our Big 12 rankings right before conference play

This week will see some noticeable changes in the rankings. All but two teams have now played their first Big 12 games of the season, so the conference rankings can take a more realistic shape than last week. The Big 12 has the No. 1 Conference RPI right now and is shaping up to be a monumental task to win.

  1. Iowa State (LW: 4) – The Cyclones take over the #1 spot from Oklahoma State this week. Consistency was a big part in this change, as Fred Hoiberg has his team in a much better place to begin conference play than Travis Ford does at Oklahoma State. Iowa State remains undefeated at 13-0 and has a big game against #9 Baylor on Tuesday that will give further indication towards who is the best team in the conference.
  2. Oklahoma State (LW: 1) – Oklahoma State’s loss at Kansas State Saturday is not the sole reason for their drop out of the #1 ranking. Stevie Clark, the Cowboy’s backup point guard, was arrested for marijuana possession New Years Day. Starting center Michael Cobbins tore his Achilles in a win against Robert Morris and is out for the year. Watching Oklahoma State play doesn’t always have the appearance of a cohesive team with the chemistry needed to be successful—not a good recipe for beginning Big 12 play.
  3. Baylor (LW: 3) – Losing only to #2 ranked Syracuse this season, Baylor is in prime position to make a run at the Big 12 crown that has belonged to Kansas for the last nine seasons. Corey Jefferson averages 14.2 points and 8.3 rebounds for the Bears and is a force for opposing defenses to handle. His play will determine how far Baylor goes this season. Baylor has a shot at the No. 1 spot if they can take down Iowa State tonight.
  4. Kansas (LW: 2) – Wildly inconsistent and coming off a error-filled, 61-57 loss to San Diego State at home, Kansas could be hard-pressed to capture the Big 12 regular season title for a remarkable 10th year in a row. In the next 15 days, the Jayhawks play at Oklahoma, at home against Kansas State, at Iowa State, and at home against Oklahoma State and Baylor. Bill Self has to find a way to win four of those games, or the Big 12 title will very likely leave Lawrence.
  5. Kansas State (LW: 7) – The Wildcats have turned their season around in a remarkable way. After embarrassing losses to Northern Colorado, Charlotte, and Georgetown, Kansas State has won nine games in a row. They beat #6 Oklahoma State in a nail biter Saturday, and appear to be oozing confidence. Freshman Marcus Foster has emerged as the Wildcat’s best player, and averages an impressive 14 points. Kansas State has a very good chance to begin Big 12 play 5-1 or 6-0 and is yet another contender for the conference title.
  6. Oklahoma (LW: 6) – The Sooners won a close game at Texas Saturday and sit at an impressive 12-2. Coach Lon Kruger has done a masterful job of pulling Oklahoma from mediocrity, and has his team ready to make noise in the Big 12 in the future. There are probably too many contenders for Oklahoma to win the title this year, but where they sit as a program now is infinitely better than where they were two or three seasons ago.
  7. Texas (LW: 5) – Texas fell this week only as a result of the amount of talented teams in the Big 12. At 11-3, the Longhorns really don’t have a bad loss, but they probably won’t finish in the top 5 of the conference this year. There are simply too many good Big 12 teams for Texas to compete. The Texas roster has no seniors, and coach Rick Barnes has never been known for developing talent.
  8. West Virginia (LW: 8) – The Mountaineers picked up a conference win against TCU Saturday and at Texas Tech on Monday, and can take a little bit of confidence into a relatively easy beginning to Big 12 play. Two players for West Virginia average over 16 points per game, but after that, the offensive and defensive capabilities of the team really drop. West Virginia looks to be headed towards five or six wins in conference play since the Big 12 is so deep but starting off 2-0 is a great start for Huggins and Co.
  9. Texas Tech (LW: 9) – New coach Tubby Smith has the Red Raiders playing better basketball than in years past. Although their record shows a measly 8-7, they hung with Iowa State on Saturday and appeared to finally have some talent that can compete with more teams in a tough Big 12 conference. They lost a heartbreaker in overtime to West Virginia on Monday night to fall to 0-2 in conference play already.
  10. TCU (LW: 10) – TCU will have a rough year in the Big 12. There is no break for the Horned Frogs in the remainder of their schedule. Already 0-1, the only hope for conference wins for coach Trent Johnson in his second year is to steal a game or two against West Virginia or Texas Tech.