We are at that point in the season where we have seen enough from every team to determine if they are good or bad. I’m going to do my best at ranking these teams through five conference games, but remember that I’m not a real journalist.
- Kansas (15-2, 4-1)- Their one loss in Big 12 play came in Ames and they lost that one by 17. They’ve struggled in Waco and at home against Texas, but they still won those games. This isn’t anywhere near any of Bill Self’s best teams while in Lawrence, but three straight wins is good enough for the top spot. Coming up: @ West Virginia (1/19), vs Iowa State (1/21)
- Iowa State (13-4, 3-2)- The Cyclones have had about as up and down start to the new year as you can get. They have two head scratching losses and two top ten wins. It’s no doubt that Cyclones are extremely talented, but becoming consistent is a must. I gave ISU the edge at #2 thanks to the fact that they have the two most impressive wins thus far of any team in the league. Coming up: vs Oklahoma State (1/19), @ Kansas (1/21)
- Texas Tech (15-2, 4-1)- You could argue Texas Tech to be number one in these rankings and I couldn’t argue it, that is how close these top three teams are. The Red Raiders have benefited from one of the easier starts to Big 12 play, even with the quality win over Oklahoma. Nonetheless, they are one of the best teams in the country and they have one of the best players in the country in Jarrett Culver. However, their last game being a home loss to Iowa State is what brings them down to 1c. Coming up: @ Baylor (1/19), @ Kansas State (1/22)
- Kansas State (13-4, 3-2)- Man, how the tide can turn. Two weeks ago, the Wildcats were 0-2 in the Big 12 and had lost by 20(!) to Texas and they were struggling to score more than 50 points in a game. Since starting 0-2, they have won three straight games, two of which came in Ames and Norman. K-State is looking more and more like the team that was picked to finish second in the Big 12 and the scary part is that Dean Wade is just getting healthy. The next two games will probably determine if K-State can actually compete for the Big 12 title. Coming up: vs TCU (1/19), vs Texas Tech (1/22)
- Oklahoma (13-4, 2-3)- In one of the bigger surprises of the league, Oklahoma is pretty good. They are clearly playing a lot better without Trae Young, mostly on the defensive side of the ball. For one, they are the 9th most efficient defensive team in the country according to KenPom which has clearly been a huge key to their success. This team is very close to TCU in terms of resume, but I gave OU the edge due to the head-to-head. Their best win is against the team right below them, so clearly they have a long way to go before they cement themselves as a tournament team. Coming up: @ Texas (1/19), @ Oklahoma State (1/23)
- TCU- (13-3, 2-2)- Jamie Dixon’s squad has continued to impress this season. They have played well throughout Big 12 play despite missing one of their top players, Jaylen Fischer. In fact, it was recently announced the Fischer’s career at TCU is over. It’s a sad end to a very talented player that was held back by injuries. Their two losses were pretty close to good teams and their two wins have been against two of the lower tier teams in the league. TCU has played pretty well but hasn’t really proven much, they will need to pick up a few quality wins to move into the upper echelon on the league. Coming up: @ Kansas State (1/19), vs Texas (1/23)
- Baylor (10-6, 2-2)- The Bears are arguably the most improved team at this point in the Big 12 season. They had some bad losses to Texas Southern and Stephen F. Austin in the non-conference but have bounced back well in the Big 12. They have a quality win over Iowa State and their losses have come by a combined nine points to KU and TCU. Baylor still has a lot to prove in order to make the tournament, but they appear to be on an upward trend. Coming up: vs Texas Tech (1/19), @ West Virginia (1/21)
- Texas (10-7, 2-3)- The fall of Texas is so baffling. They are loaded with talent, yet Shaka Smart has still not met his high expectations that were given to him when he arrived in Austin. They have lost three straight games by a combined 11 points and their upcoming stretch doesn’t appear favorable. There is not a ton of time for Texas to get it together before they hit rock bottom. Coming up: vs Oklahoma (1/19), @ TCU (1/23)
- Oklahoma State (8-9, 2-3)- Speaking of rock bottom, Oklahoma State is hitting record lows in attendance and just dismissed three players from their team. That leaves them with nine players... not enough to scrimmage in practice. The Pokes are dangerously close to the bottom of the league and things are trending even more downward. Coming up: @ Iowa State (1/19), vs Oklahoma (1/23)
- West Virginia (8-9, 0-5)- We all knew it would be hard to replace Jeveon Carter and last year’s squad. We didn’t expect it to be this hard. Press Virginia is long gone and the Mountaineers have yet to win a conference game and are coming off of a 31 point loss to TCU. This folks, is the epitome of rock bottom. Coming up: vs Kansas (1/19), vs Baylor (1/21)
In case you care, I looked at the KenPom rankings of the Big 12 after I made my power rankings, let’s compare how close the analytics were to my non-expert analysis.
- Texas Tech (8th)
- Kansas (9th)
- Iowa State (15th)
- TCU (19th)
- Oklahoma (27th)
- Texas (28th)
- Kansas State (44th)
- Baylor (53rd)
- Oklahoma State (76th)
- West Virginia (78th)
It’s important to take into account that power rankings are more based on how teams have performed in the past couple games and what direction they are headed, not necessarily their entire performance this season.