‘Twas the last power rankings before Christmas and all through the Big 12, teams were rising and falling and now further we delve; The coaches, all masked, except when they scream, are starting to settle in to their conference routine. Two games have been played, with hopefully many more to come, lest Covid has its way and leaves us all glum. But until then enjoy, every screen and every shot, because without it we’d be miserable and we’d miss it a lot.
1. No. 2 Baylor (6-0, 1-0)
Some may argue that Kansas deserves the top spot in this week’s power rankings after grabbing wins over ranked Texas Tech and West Virginia squads over the last week and I get that, but I refuse to punish a Baylor team who went on the road and beat K-State by 31 and then came home and won by 57. They’ve won every game they’ve played this season by 30 minus a 13-point win over a potential Elite Eight team in Illinois. Sure, a lot of those other teams haven’t been very impressive but it’s tough to be consistently dominant and they do it with ease. NEXT UP: Tuesday vs Central Arkansas.
2. No. 3 Kansas (8-1, 2-0)
I regret to inform everyone that, aside from some early season close calls and a loss to the number one team in the country, the 2020-21 Kansas Jayhawks are very good. In fact, they may be more than pretty good, especially when they’re hitting from outside like they were during the second half of their win over West Virginia. They may not have any elite bigs but they showed that against one of the best frontcourts in the country, that doesn’t matter. It’s a gigantic bummer. NEXT UP: A week from Saturday vs No. 10 Texas.
3. No. 10 Texas (7-1, 1-0)
The Horns are maybe the quietest top 10 team in the country. They’re super talented and have only lost to the current fifth-ranked team in the country (Villanova). Oklahoma State managed to keep it close on Sunday but the emergence of Texas’ own stud freshman, Greg Brown who came up big down the stretch, got the job done. I’m anxious to see Texas play any of the top five or six teams in the conference so we can have a better idea of how good they actually are. NEXT UP: Tuesday vs Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
4. No. 14 Texas Tech (7-2, 1-1)
How many teams have seen a KU victory well within their grasps in the final seconds of the game snatched away by some maddening Jayhawk heroics? The Red Raiders did last Thursday but I’m still convinced that they can compete with anyone. They needed a little luck on Tuesday to sneak past Oklahoma but good teams find a way to kind those kinds of games. Having your only two losses come at the hands of the No. 2 and No. 6 teams in the country is nothing to be ashamed of. NEXT UP: Tuesday vs Incarnate Word.
5. No. 7 West Virginia (7-2, 1-1)
Look, if Derek Culver and Oscar Tsheibwe combine for 11 points and 13 rebounds in a game, it’s going to be a long day for Bob Huggins and that’s exactly what they did versus Kansas which led to them getting spanked in the second half. The Mountaineers have had good guard play this season but their bread and butter is down low. Those two have to get right if West Virginia wants to compete for a Big 12 title. NEXT UP: Tuesday vs Northeastern.
6. Oklahoma (5-2, 1-1)
Is it weird that Brady Manek has grown into Larry Bird after four years at Oklahoma? It’s weird right? Don’t know what I’m talking about? Google him, I’ll wait. See? Pretty weird. Anyway, Oklahoma’s fine. They should’ve beaten Texas Tech but they didn’t. They’re going to get someone this season though. Maybe Baylor, maybe Kansas. They’re dangerous but just not really great. NEXT UP: A week from Saturday vs West Virginia.
7. TCU (7-2, 1-1)
North Dakota State has twice put a scare in a Big 12 team this season and has twice come up short. Credit to the Frogs though, not very exciting non-con games between conference games can be mentally treacherous. They’ll have another versus Texas Southern on Wednesday before they face K-State in a game they must win if they want to stay near the top of the second-tier of the conference. NEXT UP: Wednesday vs Texas Southern.
8. Oklahoma State (6-2, 0-2)
Two games, two losses. The kicker, they were by a combined four points. Luck has not been on the Cowboys’ side early but they’re too talented to be kept down. Things don’t get easier once they get back from their Christmas break as games versus West Virginia and Texas Tech await. Such is the life in the Big 12. NEXT UP: A week from Saturday at Texas Tech.
9. Kansas State (4-5, 1-1)
More highs and lows for the Cats this past week. Blown out by 30 by Baylor on Saturday and then come back on Monday to get a 24-point win over Jacksonville. I remain excited about the potential of this team and DaJuan Gordon has been consistently great over the last couple of games. We may not be good, but we’re at least interesting and for now, I’ll take that. NEXT UP: Tuesday vs Omaha.
10. Iowa State (2-4, 0-2)
Iowa State ended a four-game losing streak on Sunday with a 15-point win over Jackson State. The bad news for the Clones is their next three games after Christmas break are Baylor, Texas, and Texas Tech. However, their five-point loss at West Virginia was encouraging so maybe they’ll surprise me. NEXT UP: A week from Saturday vs Baylor.