Big 12 Basketball Power Rankings after 4 weeks of conference play
Matchup of the week: Kansas vs Texas Tech (Conference), Kansas vs Kentucky (SEC/Big 12)
Sneaky good matchup of the week: Oklahoma State vs Iowa State (Conference), West Virginia vs Arkansas (SEC/Big 12
1) Texas Tech Red Raiders
Last week ranking: 1 (-)
Record: 15-4 (5-2)
Next week: @#5 Kansas (1/24/22, 9 PM ET), Mississippi State (1/29/22, 6 PM ET)
Best wins: @#4 Baylor, #5 Kansas, #23 Iowa State, #18 Tennessee (neutral), West Virginia, Oklahoma State
Worst losses: @Kansas State
Texas Tech took a big leap forward this week, winning back-to-back games at home against good teams. The defense remains brutal, up to 4th in KenPom, and with Shannon back, the scoring has come with it, as we saw in his 23 point performance against West Virginia. Now, arguably their most important game of the season, where they go to Allen Fieldhouse and try to sweep the Jayhawks on the season. This is followed by their Big 12/SEC matchup against Mississippi State, a game they should win, but the Bulldogs are no pushover.
2) Baylor Bears
— FOX College Hoops (@CBBonFOX) January 22, 2022
Last week ranking: T2 (-)
Record: 17-2 (5-2)
Next week: Kansas State (1/25/22, 8 PM ET), @Alabama (1/29/22, 4 PM ET)
Best wins: #14 Villanova, #10 Michigan State (neutral), @#23 Iowa State, @Oregon, Oklahoma (2x), TCU, West Virginia
Worst losses: Oklahoma State
Tournament seeding: 1 seed (Making the Madness, ESPN, CBS Sports, CBB Review)
Baylor enjoyed a nice road trip, going 2-0 on the week and improving to 17-2 on the season. West Virginia gave them some trouble without Akinjo and Sochan, but Matthew Meyer and LJ Cryer fueled a big win there. Baylor takes on Kansas State, who have proven they’re no pushover, then an Alabama team that is arguably the most inconsistent team in the country. Baylor is hoping to see the Alabama team that got crushed by Missouri, not the one that beat Gonzaga.
3) Kansas Jayhawks
Last week ranking: T2 (-1)
Record: 16-2 (5-1)
Next week: #13 Texas Tech (1/24/22, 9 PM ET), #12 Kentucky (1/29/22, 6 PM ET)
Best wins: #10 Michigan State (neutral), #23 Iowa State, West Virginia, St. John’s, Oklahoma. Oklahoma State, Iona
Worst losses: Dayton (neutral)
Tournament seeding: 1 seed (Making the Madness), 2 seed (ESPN, CBS Sports, CBB Review)
The top 3 teams in last week’s power rankings all went undefeated, making this part easy. It’s what’s under that is the tricky part. If you love excitement, then this Kansas team was the team to watch last week. First, we had a back and forth battle in Norman, Oklahoma, where a Christian Braun three with under 10 seconds left sealed the victory. That wasn’t even close to what happened on Saturday when Kansas State jumped out to a 16 point halftime lead, but the Jayhawks chipped away and a late Ochai Agbaji basket completed the comeback and got them the win. Kansas remains atop the Big 12 basketball standings for now with some big games ahead.
Kansas has the offensive tools but needs to be better on defense. That, and consistency from their top 5 guys (Ochai Agbaji, Christian Braun, Remy Martin, David McCormack, Jalen Wilson), and this team will be rolling the rest of the season. Up next is their hardest week of the season, where they take on the only team to beat them so far in conference play, Texas Tech, followed by a massive game at home against Kentucky.
4) TCU Horned Frogs
— TCU Basketball (@TCUBasketball) January 22, 2022
Last week ranking: 7 (+3)
Record: 13-3 (3-2)
Next week: Texas (1/25/22, 9 PM ET), #19 LSU (1/29/22, 12 PM ET)
Best wins: @#23 Iowa State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M (neutral), @Kansas State, Oral Roberts
Worst losses: Santa Clara (Neutral)
Tournament seeding: 10 seed (Making the Madness, CBB Review), Last Four In (ESPN, CBS Sports)
After the top 3, ranking 4-10 in the Big 12 is nearly impossible. TCU would have made this a lot easier if they didn’t blow a 6 point lead with 1:30 left in the game against Oklahoma State, but the close nature of that game on the road plus the dominant victory at Iowa State surprisingly earns them the 4th spot in this week’s power rankings. TCU continues to get balanced scoring, with 4 different leading scorers in the last four games and has looked great defensively, allowing under 60 points in both games last week.
TCU still needs more signature wins to solidly be in the bracket, and will have a great opportunity this week when they take on Texas and LSU.
5) Oklahoma State Cowboys
Last week ranking: 5 (-)
Record: 10-8 (3-4)
Next week: #23 Iowa State (1/16/22, 8 PM ET), @Florida (1/29/22, 4 PM ET)
Best wins: @#4 Baylor, #23 Iowa State, Texas, NC State (neutral), @Oral Roberts, Cleveland State
Worst losses: Oakland, Wichita State
Tournament seeding: INELIGIBLE
Oklahoma State picked up a big win against TCU, then almost swept Texas, losing by just 5 on the road. Bryce Thompson has really emerged for the Cowboys, leading them in scoring in three of the last four games. Up ahead comes a home game against Iowa State, who is suddenly very beatable followed by a road test against Florida.
6) Iowa State Cyclones
Last week ranking: 4 (-2)
Record: 14-5 (2-5)
Next week: @Oklahoma State (1/26/22, 8 PM ET), Missouri (1/29/22, 2 PM ET)
Best wins: #13 Texas Tech, #21 Xavier (neutral), Texas, @Creighton, Iowa, Memphis (neutral)
Worst losses: TCU
Tournament seeding: 4 seed (CBS Sports, CBB Review) 5 seed (ESPN) 6 seed (Making the Madness)
Incoming Texas fans who are mad that Iowa State is ahead of them even though they are 4-3 in conference play while Iowa State is 2-5. The reason why is they have the same overall record, and Iowa State’s wins are miles better than Texas’.
With that being said, everyone’s early-season darlings have returned to earth, and while they are by no means the bottom feeders that everyone expected, they certainly aren’t a serious title contender at this point like they looked a few weeks back. Scoring 44 at home is pretty unacceptable, and Iowa State needs to figure it out soon or they very well may end up in that bottom spot in this extremely difficult conference. The good news is that Iowa State only has two more games against currently ranked opponents this season, and in the SEC full of great teams, they get to play one of the worst in Missouri.
7) Texas Longhorns
Last week ranking: 8 (+1)
Record: 14-5 (4-3)
Next week: @TCU (1/25/22, 9 PM ET), #18 Tennessee (1/29/22, 8 PM ET)
Best wins: West Virginia, Oklahoma, Stanford (neutral), @Kansas State, Oklahoma State
Worst losses: Kansas State, @Oklahoma State
Tournament seeding: 6 seed (CBB Review), 7 seed (ESPN), 8 seed (Making the Madness), 10 seed (CBS Sports)
The woes in Texas continued this week, losing to then one conference win Kansas State at home. This team already has three conference losses and they haven’t played Kansas, Baylor, or Texas Tech yet. Many more questions than answers remain with this Texas team, and if there’s a time to answer them, it’s now. After the TCU game, they face Tennessee, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Kansas, and Baylor. If they can pull off a few wins there, people will start to take them seriously, but until then, Texas has a lot to work on.
8) Kansas State Wildcats
— K-State Men's Basketball (@KStateMBB) January 19, 2022
Last week ranking: 10 (+2)
Record: 10-8 (2-5)
Next week: @#4 Baylor (1/25/22, 8 PM ET), @Ole Miss (1/29/22, 4 PM ET)
Best wins: #13 Texas Tech, @ Texas, Wichita State,
Worst losses: TCU
Tournament seeding: OUT (Making the Madness, ESPN, CBS Sports, CBB Review)
If Kansas State could finish games, we’d be looking at this team completely different. First, they were finally able to, beating Texas by 1 on the road. Then, the Kansas game. They were up 16 at the half and looked like they were going to knock off their rival, but somehow fell and sit at 2-5, tied for last in the Big 12 basketball standings. Now they have one-possession losses against Marquette, Oklahoma, West Virginia, TCU, and Kansas.
This team is so much better than their record, but if they can’t finish these games, then they will remain out of the NCAA Tournament bracket and towards the bottom of the Big 12. They get a tough opponent in Baylor on the road before taking on an Ole Miss team that won’t necessarily help their resume, but won’t hurt it as well.
9) West Virginia Mountaineers
Last week ranking: 6 (-3)
Record: 13-5 (2-4)
Next week: Oklahoma (1/26/22, 8 PM ET), @Arkansas (12/29/22, 2 PM ET)
Best wins: #20 UConn, @UAB, Oklahoma State, Clemson (neutral), Oakland, Kansas State
Worst losses: @Texas
Tournament seeding: 8 seed (Making the Madness, CBS Sports), 9 seed (CBB Review), 10 seed (ESPN)
West Virginia suffered an 0-2 week, granted it was to the two best teams in the power rankings. West Virginia doesn’t really have a bad loss now that Marquette is ranked and a road game against Texas isn’t bad at all, but they need to win some of these big games in order to improve their tournament status and stay firmly in the bracket. They have a decent chance this week, playing two bubble tournament teams in Oklahoma and Arkansas.
10) Oklahoma Sooners
Last week ranking: 9 (-1)
Record: 12-7 (2-5)
Next week: @West Virginia (1/26/22, 8 PM ET), @#1 Auburn (1/29/22, 2 PM ET)
Best wins: #23 Iowa State, Arkansas (neutral), Florida, @UCF, ECU (neutral)
Worst losses: Utah State (neutral), Butler, @TCU
Tournament seeding: 10 seed (ESPN), 11 seed (CBS Sports), Last Four In (Making the Madness, CBB Review)
Just a note, being 10th in Big 12 basketball is the equivalent of 5th in any other Power 6 conference. Big 12 basketball is just that good. Oklahoma, unfortunately, suffered another tough week and has the most “bad” losses of any team in the conference. They still boast a 12-7 record but are in danger of adding to more losses this week with a road matchup against West Virginia followed by another road matchup against the top team in the country, Auburn.
*Note: Making the Madness was last updated January 24th, ESPN and CBS Sports, January 21st, CBB Review January 16th