Iowa State Cyclones, Big 12 basketball

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

Matchup of the week: Iowa State vs. Kansas State

Sneaky good matchup of the week: Auburn vs. West Virginia

All game times are listed in EST.

1) Kansas State Wildcats

Last week’s ranking: 4 (+3)

Record: 17-2 (6-1)

Last week: #2 Kansas (W) 83-82 OT, Texas Tech (W) 68-58

Next week: @ #12 Iowa State (Jan. 24 – 9 p.m.), Florida (Jan. 28 – 6 p.m.)

Best wins: Kansas, @ Texas, @ Baylor, LSU

Worst losses: N/A

If you picked Kansas State to win the Big 12 before the start of the season, you’re probably a very rich man right now. The Kansas State Wildcats continue to get things done and are now the sole leaders of the Big 12 after a 2-0 week that included a home win against in-state rival Kansas. Marquis Nowell and Keyontae Johnson might be the best duo in the country, and Jerome Tang is the frontrunner for coach of the year at the moment. They look to continue their momentum in what could be their toughest matchup of the year, on the road against Iowa State.

2) Iowa State Cyclones

Last week’s ranking: 2 (-)

Record: 14-4 (5-2)

Last week: #10 Texas (W) 78-67, @Oklahoma State (L) 59-61

Next week: #13 Kansas State (Jan. 24 – 9 p.m.), @ Missouri (Jan. 28 – 2 p.m.)

Best wins: Texas, @ TCU, North Carolina, Baylor, St. John’s, @Oklahoma

Worst losses: @ Oklahoma State

Iowa State wins another big game, handling Texas at home, but couldn’t get it done on the road to complete a 2-0 week. Even with the loss, Iowa State has proven they’re one of the best teams in the Big 12 and a team that can hang with anyone in the country. This will be put to the test again when they welcome Kansas State to Hilton, then a Missouri team who plays well at home.

3) Texas Longhorns

Last week’s ranking: 5 (+2)

Record: 16-3 (5-2)

Last week: @ #14 Iowa State (L) 67-78, @ West Virginia (W) 69-61

Next week: Oklahoma State (Jan. 24 – 9 p.m.), @#9 Tennessee (Jan. 28 – 6 p.m.)

Best wins: Gonzaga, TCU, Creighton, @ Oklahoma

Worst losses: N/A

Texas is somehow one of the quietest teams in the Big 12 since the Chris Beard firing. They’ve won the games they’re supposed to and lost the ones they’re supposed to, but they’re keeping these games close. Texas will have a really good chance to assert itself as one of the best teams if they can take down Tennessee on the road on Saturday.

4) TCU Horned Frogs

Last week’s ranking: 4 (-)

Record: 15-4 (4-3)

Last week: @ West Virginia (L) 65-74, @ #2 Kansas (W) 83-60

Next week: Oklahoma (Jan. 24 – 8 p.m.), @ Mississippi State (Jan. 28 – 4 p.m.)

Best wins: @ Kansas, Kansas State, Providence, Iowa, @ Baylor, @ Utah

Worst losses: Northwestern State

TCU had a very odd week. First, they got outplayed against a West Virginia team that is worse than them, then they went to Allen Fieldhouse and handed Kansas one of their biggest home losses in history. Eddie Lampkin suffered a high ankle sprain in this one but was able to return quickly. We’ll see if this becomes a lingering injury or not throughout the season. They have a great chance to get a streak going when they play Oklahoma at home, then a Mississippi State team that’s lost seven of their last eight games.

5) Kansas Jayhawks

Last week’s ranking: 1 (-4)

Record: 16-3 (5-2)

Last week: @#13 Kansas State (L) 82-83 OT, #14 TCU (L) 60-83

Next week: @ #21 Baylor (Jan. 23 – 9 p.m.), @ Kentucky (Jan. 28 – 8 p.m.)

Best wins: Iowa State, Duke, Wisconsin, @ Missouri, NC State, Indiana, Oklahoma

Worst losses: N/A

This was by far the worst week of the season for the Jayhawks. They lose to their rivals in Kansas State by 1 in a game they could have won if three of their five starters didn’t foul out. They then get destroyed by TCU at home. Kansas is really lacking a consistent second-scoring option after Jalen Wilson, and that could be a serious issue long term. They will need Gradey Dick or Kevin McCullar to step up and develop that role. The schedule isn’t getting any easier either, with two road games in two hostile environments this week, then three more ranked opponents after that.

6) Baylor Bears

Last week’s ranking: 6 (-)

Record: 14-5 (4-3)

Last week: @ Texas Tech (W) 81-74, @ Oklahoma (W) 62-60

Next week: #2 Kansas (Jan. 23 – 9 p.m.), #25 Arkansas (Jan. 28 – 4 p.m.)

Best wins: UCLA, Gonzaga, @ Oklahoma, Oklahoma State

Baylor is starting to heat up, extending their win streak to four games and going over .500 in conference play after starting 0-3. They are now 4-0 against non-ranked Big 12 basketball opponents and 0-3 against ranked opponents, but they’re winning the games they’re supposed to, something a lot of teams haven’t been able to do. They have a chance to get a ranked win when they welcome a Kansas team going in the opposite direction, then take on an Arkansas team in a free fall.

7) Oklahoma State Cowboys

Last week’s ranking: 9 (+2)

Record: 11-8 (3-4)

Last week: Oklahoma (W) 72-56, #12 Iowa State (W) 61-59

Next week: @ #7 Texas (Jan. 24 – 9 p.m.), Ole Miss (Jan. 28 – 8 p.m.)

Best wins: Iowa State, Oklahoma, West Virginia

Worst losses: Southern Illinois

If Oklahoma State wanted any chance at an at large, it would start with a 2-0 week, and that’s exactly what they did. They picked up two giant home wins against two teams considered better than them and picked up their two best wins of the year. The job is far from finished, as they will need to win against Texas on the road to really gain momentum, an insanely tough task. They should beat an Ole Miss team who has lost seven of their last eight games.

8) Oklahoma Sooners

Last week’s ranking: 7 (-1)

Record: 11-8 (2-5)

Last week: @ Oklahoma State (L) 56-72, Baylor (L) 60-62

Next week: @ #14 TCU (Jan. 24 – 8 p.m.), #4 Alabama (Jan. 28 –  2 p.m.)

Best wins: Seton Hall, West Virginia, Ole Miss

Worst losses: Sam Houston State

Oklahoma continued their trend of playing in close games with the exception of the Oklahoma State game, but are now 2-4 in games decided by five or less in conference play. They need to be better at closing out these games, especially at home in these must-win games like the Baylor match. It’s not getting any easier this week, taking on a TCU team at home that just blew out Kansas and then an Alabama team that is arguably the best in the country at the moment.

9) West Virginia Mountaineers

Last week’s ranking: 8 (-1)

Record: 11-8 (1-6)

Last week: #17 TCU (W) 74-65, #10 Texas (L) 61-69

Next week: @ Texas Tech (Jan. 25 – 7 p.m.), #16 Auburn (Jan. 28 – Noon)

Best wins: TCU, Pittsburgh, Florida, UAB

Worst losses: N/A

West Virginia finally picked up a conference win and a big one at that, taking down TCU. However, they still sit at 1-6 in conference play and need to start winning now to keep their at large chances alive. They have a great chance this week, taking on the only team in the Big 12 worse than them in Texas Tech, then a Top 25 team in Auburn that West Virginia can definitely knock out at home.

10) Texas Tech Red Raiders

Last week’s ranking: 10 (-)

Record: 10-9 (0-7)

Last week: #21 Baylor (L) 74-81, @ #11 Kansas State (L) 58-68

Next week: West Virginia (Jan.25 – 7 p.m.), @ LSU (Jan. 28 – 2 p.m.)

Best wins: Georgetown, Louisiana Tech, Nicholls

Worst losses: N/A

If Texas Tech loses a game this week, then their only chance to make the NCAA Tournament would be winning the Big 12 basketball tournament. They sit at 63 in Kenpom, which isn’t bad, but they are 23 spots lower than the 9th-best team in the Big 12. They have a great shot to gain momentum this week against West Virginia who only has one Big 12 win and LSU who are in a similar situation to Texas Tech at the moment.

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