1. No. 2 BAYLOR (21-1, 13-1) Last Rank (LR): 1
THIS WEEK: W 94-89 @ WVU, W 81-70 vs OSU, W 88-73 vs TTU
The Big 12 tournament stage is set. Baylor was crowned regular season champions after knocking off West Virginia early in the week and then took care of Oklahoma State and Texas Tech to finish on a three game winning streak.
Their only loss all year came in Lawrence two games after a 20-day layoff that ultimately caused the Bears to have four conference games games canceled (vs UT, vs WVU, vs TCU, @ OU).
Even without playing all 18 games, it is clear to me they are the best team in the league and a top team in the country. They have played every team in the league at least once and split games with Kansas, who finished second place in the final Big 12 standings.
Kansas State and TCU will kick things off in the Big 12 tournament for the second year in a row on Wednesday and the Bears will play the winner of that on Thursday.
NEXT UP: vs TCU or KSU
2. No. 12 OKLAHOMA STATE (18-7, 11-7) LR: 4
THIS WEEK: W 79-75 vs OU, L 81-70 @ BU, W 85-80 @ WVU
Oklahoma State probably had the toughest week in the league without Isaac Likekele for all three games and they faired well. They handled Oklahoma at home before going on a tough two game road stand to end the season.
The loss to Baylor was quite the battle and against the best of the best.
Cade Cunningham didn’t play in the latest game versus West Virginia and the Cowboys found a way to beat the Mountaineers in Morgantown without their two best players.
Getting swept by TCU are the most glaring losses on Oklahoma State’s resume, but they finished the regular season strong. The Big 12 tournament will be the decider if they are truly worthy of such a high power ranking.
NEXT UP: vs WVU
3. No. 10 WEST VIRGINIA (18-8, 11-6) LR: 2
THIS WEEK: L 94-89 vs BU, W 76-67 vs TCU, L 85-80 vs OSU
West Virginia had a shaky week, but their two losses are against who I believe are the best teams in the Big 12 right now.
I was close to dropping the Mountaineers another notch or two, but I believe in what they can produce.
It is a really tight battle between No. 2 and No. 7 in the standings and I expect another shakeup between them in the final Big 12 power rankings next week once the Big 12 tournament champion is crowned.
NEXT UP: vs OSU
Bob Huggins (USA TODAY Sports Images)
4. No. 13 TEXAS (17-7, 11-6) LR: 7
THIS WEEK: W 81-67 @ ISU, W 69-65 @ OU, W 76-64 @ TCU
Texas had a solid week and managed to finish tied for third with West Virginia in the final standings. It was filled with travel to Ames, Norman and Fort Worth and they won them all.
The Longhorns end the season by winning five out of their last six games and could really make waves in both the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments.
They have experienced guards and long, athletic bigs and have gotten back to the good basketball they were playing earlier in the year. However, it won’t be easy going up against Texas Tech Thursday in Kansas City.
NEXT UP: vs TTU
5. No. 11 KANSAS (19-8, 12-6) LR: 3
THIS WEEK: W 67-62 vs UTEP
Kansas may have gotten the win against non-conference foe UTEP, but it was unconvincing and looked like a different team that took down Baylor the week prior.
The Jayhawks are a dangerous team despite not being the usual Kansas basketball team we are used to seeing, but I don’t know how well built they are for the NCAA tournament. They don’t have an experienced point guard like they typically do.
However, they could do some damage and may even find a way to win the Big 12 tournament. Being the second seed, they have an advantage to at least make the championship game.
But it also wouldn’t surprise me to see Oklahoma knock them out on Thursday.
NEXT UP: vs OU or ISU
6. No. 20 TEXAS TECH (17-9, 9-8) LR: 5
THIS WEEK: W 69-49 vs TCU, W 81-54 vs ISU, L 88-73 @ BU
Texas Tech handled both TCU and Iowa State with ease earlier in the week, but then the Red Raiders went to Waco and got beat by 15. Again, this is another good team that has the potential to leave a strong mark in the postseason.
Chris Beard is no stranger to the Final Four, and they have the one-two punch of Mac McClung and Terrance Shannon Jr. that could take them far in Indianapolis.
But a matchup with Texas on Thursday will not be an easy way to begin the conference tournament.
NEXT UP: vs UT
7. No. 25 OKLAHOMA (14-9, 9-8) LR: 6
THIS WEEK: L 79-75 @ OSU, L 69-65 vs UT
Oklahoma ended the Big 12 season on a four-game skid. They went from a top-10 team to on the cusp of exiting the top-25 in a matter of a couple weeks.
The Sooners should be able to break the streak since they have to play Iowa State on Wednesday in the 7/10-seed matchup. If they don’t, it will be hard to imagine them having much success a week later.
NEXT UP: vs ISU
Lon Kruger (Associated Press)
8. TCU (12-13, 5-11) LR: 8
THIS WEEK: L 69-49 @ TTU, L 76-67 @ WVU, L 76-64 vs UT
This week, TCU continued to lose games against tough competition. If the Horned Frogs didn’t mysteriously beat Oklahoma State twice this season, they would be looking even worse than K-State and Iowa State.
The matchup with Kansas State will decide who the better team truly is and that will be reflected in next week’s power rankings.
NEXT UP: vs KSU
9. KANSAS STATE (8-19, 4-14) LR: 9
THIS WEEK: W 61-56 vs ISU
Kansas State topped their conference win number from a year ago by one when they beat Iowa State on Saturday. Still, it was a very poor season from the Wildcats, but they finished by winning three out of their last four games.
They advance to the Big 12 tournament, looking to beat TCU for a second time in a month.
The winner will have to face the Goliath in Baylor.
NEXT UP: vs TCU
10. IOWA STATE (2-21, 0-18) LR: 10
THIS WEEK: L 81-67 vs UT, L 81-54 @ TTU, L 61-56 @ KSU
Iowa State finishes with a Big 12 worst 0-18 record that includes a 17-game losing streak. They have only two wins to their name all season.
This is, without a doubt, one of the worst seasons in the history of the Big 12, and I would be shocked to see them make any noise in Kansas City, even though their fans will surely still travel in droves.
NEXT UP: vs OU