The Big XII Conference has been fairly strong in the past few seasons with perennial powerhouse, the Kansas Jayhawks, leading the way. Last season, this was a conference capable of putting six teams into the NCAA Tournament. However, they lost one of those teams in the Missouri Tigers. Now, with the TCU Horned Frogs and West Virginia Mountaineers joining the conference, how will things shake out?
Solely based on record, this is how the current situation looks.
|Kansas St.||0||0||.000||7||1||.875||Won 2||5||0||2||1|
|Oklahoma St.||0||0||.000||7||1||.875||Won 2||4||0||3||1|
|Texas Tech||0||0||.000||5||1||.833||Won 1||5||1||0||0|
|Iowa St.||0||0||.000||7||3||.700||Won 1||7||0||0||3|
|West Virginia||0||0||.000||4||3||.571||Won 3||2||0||2||3|
However, the win-loss record doesn't paint the entire picture for each team as the level of competition has been inconsistent across the board. Without any further ado, here are my power rankings with just under a month before conference play takes flight.
10) Texas Longhorns - who have struggled to shoot the ball well from anywhere on the floor. Sure, they have been without Myck Kabongo while a majority of their roster is full of youngsters. But, that is no excuse to lose to an atrocious UCLA Bruins squad in the closing minutes after being embarrassed by the Georgetown Hoyas. I can hear it now..."Help me, Kabongo, you're my only hope" - Rick Barnes
9) West Virginia Mountaineers - were once thought to be a great addition to the Big XII on the hardwood. Yet, this is a team that has struggled significantly to play at a consistent level. After dropping to a 1-4 record, they are out on a 3-game winning streak. Could there be a possibility that they could suffer the same fate as their football team once conference play hits?
8) TCU Horned Frogs - is a team that has struggled on the offensive side of things. They are putting up 54.5 points per game. Much of their success has come on the defensive side of things holding opponents to 52.5 points per outing. It is doubtful that their offense will come alive as they lack the talent level of some of these other conference teams. But, they could surprise a few of the teams in the bottom five.
7) Texas Tech Red Raiders - One thing is for sure, this is a squad that is winning. But fact remains, they were demolished by a good Arizona Wildcats team. The Red Raiders have their work cut out for them as they lack an impressive quality not only in their wins but also in their talent pool.
6) Iowa St. Cyclones - are the exact opposite of the Horned Frogs. The Cyclones excel on the offensive side of things scoring 82.5 points per game to rank them at 10th in the nation. It has been the defense that has all but disappeared here with the loss of Royce White. They sit at number six this week as they have lacked a solid schedule up to this point.
5) Baylor Bears - this is a team loaded with talent. However, with all that talent, they lack the ability to play as a team. Arguably, the best win of their season thus far has come against a deflated Kentucky Wildcats team in Rupp Arena. The rub here is that Kentucky looks to be playing the part of a pretender and has been exposed as a mediocre at best team.
4) Oklahoma Sooners - are a team on the up and up. They have competed well in a few of their wins but the game changer is how they compete in the losses. When they have fallen behind, the defense picks up to create opportunities on offense in this fast paced system leading to a high shooting percentage at times. This could be a team to contend in the Big XII while surprising a few of the teams at the top of the leader board.
3) Oklahoma St. Cowboys - jumped into the top 25 with an impressive performance to topple the North Carolina St. Wolfpack. There is a ton of promise here as the Cowboys boast three of the leagues top scorers. This is a team that could over shadow their "big brother" while stealing the title of surprise team of the Big XII this season.
2) Kansas St. Wildcats - have found their stride early behind the leadership of senior Rodney McGruder. They have a quality loss to #4 Michigan Wolverines and will face another tough test against the Gonzaga Bulldogs. We are about to find out just how tough this team up under the direction of new head coach Bruce Weber. If you remember correctly, Weber is the man who coached the Fighting Illini to a 29-1 regular season and a National Championship game.
1) Kansas Jayhawks - have looked impressive. They lack the talent of the past years but certainly play like a team. Anytime a group can put the "me" aside and get behind the "we" mentality, great things can be accomplished. If anyone is looking to see how a complete team competes, look no further than the Kansas vs Colorado Buffaloes game. The Jayhawks made a statement that said "no losing at home" this season.