Now into the second week of Big 12 conference play, each team has had a few chances to play against conference opponents. Let’s take a look at where each team stands
#10 Kansas State (8-7, 0-4)
Kansas State has drawn the short end of the stick to begin the Big 12 season, facing Texas, and then West Virginia in Morgantown while dealing with significant COVID issues, including head coach Bruce Weber missing both games. The Wildcats were able to build leads in each game, including a 17-point lead against West Virginia, but ran out of gas both games. They had a great chance to prove they don’t belong at the bottom of the Big 12 with a home game against TCU, but lost which pushes them to the bottom.
#9 TCU (11-2, 1-1)
TCU has also dealt with COVID issues, which resulted in them postponing their first two Big 12 games against Kansas and West Virginia. They then hosted Baylor at home, where they held a lead late into the game but eventually fell by double digits. They followed that up with a big win over Kansas State to keep them out of the bottom of the Big 12 and get their first conference win over Kansas State.
#8 Oklahoma State (8-6, 1-2)
The biggest thing holding Oklahoma State above TCU at the moment is a big win over Texas. The Cowboys were able to beat No. 21 Texas at home by double digits, holding them to only 51 points. But they also lost their other two Big 12 games thus far, both by double digits to Kansas and West Virginia. With a postseason ban this season, it may get worse for Oklahoma State before it gets better.
#7 West Virginia (13-2, 2-1)
This is where the Big 12 gets crazy, and all of the middle tier teams could have arguments to be higher or lower. West Virginia is 2-1 in conference play, with their lone loss being to the Texas Longhorns, and they were without their top scorer in Taz Sherman, and best defender in Gabe Osabuohien. But their two wins both came against bottom tier Big 12 teams in Kansas State and Oklahoma State. They were also forced to come back against an under-manned Kansas State team, who led them by 17 points. A win’s a win, but the Mountaineers just do not have that signature win yet that could push them higher, although they will have a chance to get it against No. 9 Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday.
#6 Texas (13-3, 3-1)
This is probably the most controversial ranking on the list, as there is a very good argument for West Virginia to be ahead of Texas. In terms of common opponents they have both played Kansas State and Oklahoma State. West Virginia beat both of those teams while Texas lost to Oklahoma State. But head to head still matters, and even though West Virginia was missing two of its best players, Texas was able to very easily handle the Mountaineers.
#5 Oklahoma (12-4, 2-2)
Despite having both a worse conference, and overall record than the previous two teams here, Oklahoma is ahead of both due to having the best win of the three teams. The Sooners upset No. 15 Iowa State convincingly, but then turned around the next game and lost to Texas by 14. That is why it is so tricky to rank the middle of the Big 12, as they all cannibalize each other.
#4 Iowa State Cyclones (13-3, 1-3)
After winning two games all of last season, the Cyclones have been the surprise of the Big 12 and possibly the surprise of college basketball. While their conference record may not look impressive, it is how they got there and how they have looked that gets them this high. The Cyclones gave No. 1 Baylor a scare to open conference play, then were able to beat No. 19 Texas Tech, and lost to No. 9 Kansas in the final seconds at Allen Fieldhouse. They got beat convincingly by Oklahoma, but the 79 points they gave up to the Sooners were the most they gave up all season, and should be more of an outlier than a trend.
#3 Kansas Jayhawks (13-2, 2-1)
Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard said that the Big 12 still runs through Kansas, and it is hard to disagree, but the Jayhawks have gotten off to a rocky start in Big 12 play, at least relative to their standards. They started off by beating Oklahoma State on the road, then dropped a game to Texas Tech, and barely survived Iowa State at home. That still leaves them with a 2-1 conference record with a win over a very good Iowa State team and a road win over Oklahoma State.
#2 Baylor Bears (15-1, 3-1)
This may be the only time you see Baylor out of the top spot. Baylor was finally handed their first loss of the season after starting 15-0 by the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Not only did they lose, but they lost at home. That is enough to knock them off of the top spot, at least for the time being.
#1 Texas Tech Red Raiders (12-3, 2-1)
Not only did the Red Raiders upset Baylor on the road, the game before that they knocked off Kansas. Their sole loss is to Iowa State where they were also dealing with COVID issues and scored a season low points in that game. When you beat the top two teams in the conference in back-to-back games, that gives you a very convincing argument to be the best team.
Photo by, AP Photo/Jerry Larson