Sorry for the delay in getting these up this week. Kansas’ big win on Big Monday really showed me something about that team. We are almost to the halfway point in the Big 12 season so onto the rankings:
- Oklahoma (21-1, 7-0) – The Sooners are continuing to run away with the Big 12 this season and are on a clear path to a number 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Sooners scored two big road wins last week in Stillwater and Ames and now return home for a tough home game against Texas A&M tonight. The Sooners stretch after tonight’s A&M game is easy but full of trap games before the road game in Austin on the 21st and Big Monday at home versus the Jayhawks on the 23rd.
- Kansas (18-4, 7-0) – The Jayhawks got a huge road win in Baylor this past Monday and the young Jayhawks are growing up and looking more like a team that could challenge for the Big 12 title. The Jayhawks finally have to start playing teams with a pulse with two games against Missouri, a road game at the suddenly surging Wildcats of Kansas St., and the big one on February 23rd in Norman. If the Jayhawks can go 3-1 in those four games, they could very well be the Big 12 regular season champions.
- Texas (15-5, 4-2) – I am going to leave Texas in the 3 spot because they are still a very talented team that is just missing consistent point guard play. The Longhorns looked awful at home against Kansas St. on Saturday but showed a lot of heart in coming back and it took an out of this planet effort by Denis Clemente for the Wildcats to get the win. Texas has a huge game against Missouri tonight and after that have a similar stretch as Oklahoma with a lot of very winnable trap games before the rematch. If the Longhorns play like they did in the first half against Kansas St. then they will certainly drop a few of those games.
- Kansas St. (15-7, 4-4) – Who knew? I had the Wildcats at number 11 last week in the rankings but the two huge victories over Missouri and Texas has shot them up the list. Big 12 Player of the Week Denis Clemente’s 44 point explosion came out of nowhere but it finally gave the Cats a go to guy that they desperately needed. The Wildcats have 8 Big 12 games remaining and other than the A&M, Kansas, and Missouri games, they are all very winnable and could get the Cats to 9-7 or even 10-6 in the Big 12.
- Missouri (18-4, 5-2) – Missouri has looked like an unstoppable offensive force this season in wins over Colorado, Oklahoma St., Texas Tech, and Baylor. DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons are probably the best one-two punch inside in the Big 12 but they have yet to play Texas, Kansas, or Oklahoma, teams that have very good to great inside play. Tonight’s matchup against Texas will tell us all a lot about Missouri as well as Texas. If Missouri can get the victory over Texas, it could put them in a position to challenge for a Top 4 seed in the Big 12 tournament.
- Texas A&M (17-5, 3-4) – Texas A&M had one of the toughest stretches to start Big 12 play and after tonight’s game in Norman, will more than likely escape with a 3-5 record with a much easier second half of the Big 12 season to go. Texas A&M is a great team at home, only losing one game so far, but they are a completely different team on the road where they have lost all of their Big 12 road games by an average of 13 points. Tonight’s game in Norman will be really tough but in the first matchup against the Sooners, the Aggies kept it close for most of the game but then again that was at home.
- Nebraska (13-7, 3-4) – The Huskers have been playing some very good ball recently. They have big wins over Missouri and Kansas St. and have been very competitive in their losses to Oklahoma and Kansas. The Huskers are still the smallest team in all of College Basketball but their 4 guard lineup has them playing at a higher level than they have in many years. The Huskers closing schedule doesn’t have a lot of tough back to back games and a finish of 8-8 in the Big 12 is not out of the question.
- Baylor (15-7, 3-5) – The Bears have lost four games in a row after being ranked in the top 25. The Bears have also played their way onto the bubble right now based on these four losses in a row. Granted the four straight games were at Oklahoma, vs. Texas, at Missouri, and vs. Kansas and not many teams could get out of that stretch with a win. The Bears closing Big 12 schedule certainly doesn’t have anything like that stretch and they have the talent to go on a mini run and fight their way back into the top half of the Big 12.
- Oklahoma St. (13-7, 2-4) – The Cowboys 2 point overtime win over the Huskers is the only thing keeping them from being any lower. The Cowboys are like Baylor and Nebraska in a sense that they play a very small 4 guard lineup, except their 4 guards aren’t anywhere near that of the level of the Huskers and Bears. Plus the Bears and Huskers at least have a big man who can move unlike the Cowboys have basically two complete stiffs in the post.
- Texas Tech (11-10, 1-5) – The only thing worth talking about the Red Raiders right now is the epic meltdown by head coach Pat Knight.
- Colorado (9-11, 1-5) – The Buffs scored their first Big 12 win last week over the Cyclones in an epic 55-49 game. So out of the basement they go.
- Iowa St. (12-10, 1-6) – Iowa St. has had a rough stretch here in dropping their 5 games. They were very competitive against Kansas but still lost by 15 and almost had some Hilton Magic last Saturday against the Sooners. Craig Brackins might be the second best player in the Big 12 but unless his supporting cast can show up like they did against Oklahoma; Iowa St. will continue to struggle.
Big games this week:
- Wednesday: Missouri at #17 Texas 8:30pm on ESPN2; Texas A&M at #2 Oklahoma 8:00pm on Regional Big 12 Network
- Saturday (Pretty weak Saturday): Oklahoma St. at #24 Kansas 2:30pm on ABC
Now it’s your turn, you got beef with my rankings? Tell me how you would rank the Big 12.