Big 12 Basketball

Ariel Puterman gives his week 5 Big 12 basketball power rankings.

Matchup of the week: Texas vs. Illinois

Sneaky good matchup of the week: West Virginia vs UAB

All game times are listed in EST.

1) Texas Longhorns

Last week’s ranking: 1 (-)

Record: 6-0

Last week: #7 Creighton (W) 72-67

Next week: #16 Illinois (Dec. 6 – 7 p.m.), Arkansas Pine-Bluff (Dec. 10 – 1 p.m.)

Best wins: Creighton, Gonzaga, UTEP

Worst losses: N/A

The Texas Longhorns once again proved how dangerous they are, winning a tough-fought game against a really good Creighton team. The Longhorns have so many scoring threats and defensively have been very solid as well. The tough nonconference schedule isn’t over just yet, as they take on a really tough Illinois team at Madison Square Garden. This will be Texas’ first game out of state, so how they handle the different environment will be interesting.

2) Kansas Jayhawks

Last week’s ranking: 4 (+2)

Record: 8-1

Last week: Texas Southern (W) 87-55, Seton Hall (W) 91-65

Next week: @ Missouri (Dec. 10 – 5:15 p.m.)

Best wins: Duke, Wisconsin, NC State, Seton Hall

Worst losses: N/A

After the loss against Tennessee had a point to prove and did so by going 2-0 this week and winning their games by an average of 28 points. Neither team was exactly a championship contender, but to win games like this gives the team confidence for the upcoming weeks. They’ll get an opportunity to increase their confidence in the best way possible, a road matchup against their rival Missouri Tigers.

3) Iowa State Cyclones

Last week’s ranking: 2 (-1)

Record: 7-1

Last week: North Dakota (W) 63-44, St. John’s (W) 71-60

Next week: @ Iowa (Dec. 8 – 8 p.m.), McNeese State (Dec. 11 – 6 p.m.)

Best wins: North Carolina, St. Johns, Villanova

Worst losses: N/A

Iowa State continues to repeat their pattern last year of dominating their nonconference schedule, this time beating then-undefeated St. John’s at home. The defense continues to be nightmarish for opponents, and they seem to make the right adjustments whenever needed. They take on in-state rival Iowa on the road this week, in another difficult test that could be a big resume boost down the road.

4) TCU Horned Frogs

Last week’s ranking: 8 (+4)

Record: 6-1

Last week: Providence (W) 75-62

Next week: Jackson State (Dec. 6 – 8 p.m.), SMU (Dec. 10 – 10 p.m.)

Best wins: Iowa, Providence, Cal

Worst losses: Northwestern State

TCU is heating up and proving why they were considered a top-15 team in the country during the preseason. Eddie Lampkin is starting to get into form, and they have won back-to-back games against solid Power 6 opponents pretty convincingly. This week looks a little lighter, like 3-5 SMU not looking like a team to be concerned about.

5) Baylor Bears

Last week’s ranking: 3 (-2)

Record: 6-2

Last week: Marquette (L) 70-96, #14 Gonzaga (W) 64-63

Next week: Tarleton State (Dec. 6 – 8 p.m.)

Best wins: Gonzaga, UCLA, Norfolk State

Worst losses: Marquette

Baylor suffered what could be their worst loss in the last five years, getting completely outplayed from tipoff to the final buzzer by Marquette. Luckily, they responded with a big win against Gonzaga on a neutral court to lessen the pain of the week. That loss is definitely concerning for Baylor faithful, but luckily for them they will get time to relax and regroup with a light week ahead.

6) West Virginia Mountaineers

Last week’s ranking: 6 (-)

Record: 6-2

Last week: Xavier (L) 74-84

Next week: Navy (Dec. 7 – 7 p.m.), UAB (Dec. 10 – 6 p.m.)

Best wins: Florida, Pittsburgh, Penn

Worst losses: N/A

West Virginia went into a very hostile environment and almost came out with a win. West Virginia hasn’t proven yet they are a top-tier team in the Big 12 but have shown signs that they have the potential to do so. They take on a really talented UAB team on Saturday which could be a tough test for the Mountaineers.

7) Kansas State Wildcats

Last week’s ranking: 5 (-2)

Record: 7-1

Last week: Butler (L) 64-76, Wichita State (W) 55-50

Next week: Abilene Christian (Dec. 6 – 8 p.m.), Incarnate Word (Dec. 11 – 3 p.m.)

Best wins: LSU, Nevada, Rhode Island, Wichita State

Worst losses: N/A

8) Texas Tech Red Raiders

Last week’s ranking: 9 (+4)

Record: 5-2

Last week: Georgetown (W) 79-65

Next week: Nichols (Dec. 7 – 8 p.m.)

Best wins: Louisiana Tech, Georgetown, Texas Southern

Worst losses: N/A

Texas Tech doesn’t have a great win, but they’ve held their own against two Top 25 teams in Creighton and Ohio State and have won all the games they’ve supposed to so far. They won’t face another Power 6 opponent until TCU on December 31st, so they will have a great opportunity to head into the new year with a pretty favorable record.

9) Oklahoma Sooners

Last week’s ranking: 7 (-2)

Record: 6-2

Last week: Villanova (L) 66-70

Next week: Kansas City (Dec. 6 – 8 p.m.), #11 Arkansas (Dec. 10 – 1 p.m.)

Best wins: Ole Miss, Seton Hall, Nebraska, UNCW

Worst losses: Sam Houston State

Losing at Villanova is not a bad loss, but it doesn’t hold the same value as years past. The good news is Grant Sherfield is becoming a star and has led the Sooners in scoring in the past three games. Oklahoma has a major test on Saturday when they welcome Arkansas. A win would not only boost Oklahoma in the Big 12 basketball power rankings but give the Sooners a big resume win for a team that looks like it’ll hover around the bubble in March.

10) Oklahoma State Cowboys

Last week’s ranking: 10 (-)

Record: 5-3

Last week: @ #8 UConn (L) 64-74

Next week: Sam Houston State (Dec. 6 – 9 p.m.), Virginia Tech (Dec. 11 – 2 p.m.)

Best wins: DePaul, Tulsa, UT Arlington

Worst losses: Southern Illinois

Oklahoma State sits as the only team in the Big 12 with three losses and earns the last spot in the Big 12 basketball power rankings. They actually didn’t have a bad week though, hanging on against a top-10 UConn team on the road. They take on a Sam Houston State team that beat in-state rival Oklahoma earlier in the year, then a Virginia Tech team sitting at 8-1 and coming off a win against UNC. Big week ahead for the Cowboys.

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