Houston Cougars, Big 12 Basketball

Ariel Puterman gives his Big 12 basketball power rankings heading into week 3 of the 2023 season.

Matchup of the week: UConn vs Texas

Potential Matchup of the week: Kansas vs Purdue

Sneaky good matchup of the week: BYU vs Arizona State

All games listed are EST

1) Kansas Jayhawks

Last week’s ranking: 4 (+3)

Record: 3-0

Last week: W vs. #17 Kentucky (89-84)

Next week: vs. Chaminade (Nov. 20 – 9 p.m.) vs. UCLA OR Marquette (Nov. 21 – 10:30 p.m.), Tennessee, Purdue, Syracuse, OR Gonzaga (TBD)

Quality wins: #17 Kentucky

Bad losses: N/A

Though it didn’t seem like it was going to end up that way, Kansas ended up with the biggest win for the Big 12 so far this season, defeating Kentucky in Chicago in the Champion’s Classic. Hunter Dickinson looks unstoppable, totaling 27 points and 21 rebounds. Dajuan Harris looks like a more confident three-point shooter and Kevin McCullar even tallied a triple-double. The preseason #1 team has lived up to expectations so far, but they will be put to the test this week in the Maui Invitational, taking on a haul of top 15 teams that most likely include #4 Marquette and #2 Purdue.

2) Houston Cougars

Last week’s ranking: 5 (+3)

Record: 6-0

Last week: W vs. Stetson (79-48), W vs. Towson (65-49), W vs. Utah (76-66), W vs. Dayton (69-55)

Next week: Montana (Nov. 24 – 4 p.m.)

Quality wins: Utah (Neutral), Dayton (Neutral)

Bad losses: N/A

No one had a busier week than the Houston Cougars, who played four games in six days. All four games were wins though, including three in three days to win the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic. Cryer is proving how elite of a scorer he is, leading the team in scoring in three of the four games, and Roberts has done a great job crashing the boards. The defense looks scary as well, as the Cougars have only allowed over 60 points once. They get a much quieter week next week, taking on Montana in a quiet Friday matchup.

3) Baylor Bears

Last week’s ranking: 1 (-2)

Record: 4-0

Last week: W vs. Kansas City (99-61)

Next week: Oregon State (Nov. 22 – 7 p.m.), Florida or Pittsburgh (Nov. 23 – TBD)

Quality wins: Auburn

Bad losses: N/A

A quiet week for Baylor, where they took care of business and beat Kansas City by 38. Next week, they will compete in the NIT Season Tip-Off, where they will take on Oregon State and one of Florida or Pittsburgh. They are the best team of the lot, so a loss would be a much bigger story than if they win this tournament as expected.

4) BYU Cougars

Last week’s ranking: 2 (-2)

Record: 4-0

Last week: W vs. SE Louisiana (105-48), W vs. Morgan State (93-50)

Next week: vs. Arizona State (Nov. 23 – 11:59 p.m.), vs. Vanderbilt OR NC State (Nov. 24 – TBD)

Quality wins: San Diego State

Bad losses: N/A

If there was an award for the biggest overachiever in the Big 12 so far, BYU would receive every vote. They won by margins of 57 and 43, and the win against San Diego State is looking better and better after their impressive weekend. BYU has had a different leading scorer in all four games, showing the balance, and the scoring in general has been a lot more efficient than expected. Up next, they will head to Nevada for the Vegas Showdown, where they will take on Arizona State and one of Vanderbilt and NC State. Before the season, this looked like a pretty even tournament, but based on BYU’s hot start, they feel like the team to beat.

5) Iowa State Cyclones

Last week’s ranking: 3 (+2)

Record: 4-0

Last week: W vs. Grambling (92-37)

Next week: vs. VCU (Nov. 23 – 5:30 p.m.), vs. Boise State OR Virginia Tech (Nov. 24 – TBD), vs. Penn State, Texas A&M, FAU, OR Butler (Nov. 25 – TBD)

Quality wins: N/A

Bad losses: N/A

Iowa State is absolutely obliterating their opponents, but their best win so far is against #286 in Kenpom. That changes this week, as they compete in the ESPN Events Invitational. They avoid the ranked teams in the first two rounds (Texas A&M & FAU), but VCU, Boise State, and Virginia Tech are no pushovers. If you have doubts about Iowa State, this will be a big week for them to either confirm your doubts or the opposite.

T6) Oklahoma Sooners

Last week’s ranking: 8 (+2)

Record: 4-0

Last week: W vs. Texas State (93-54), W vs. UTRGV (90-66)

Next week: vs. Iowa (Nov. 23 – 3 p.m.), vs. Seton Hall OR USC (Nov. 24 – 3:30 p.m.)

Quality wins: N/A

Bad losses: N/A

Like Iowa State, Oklahoma keeps beating up on lesser opponents. The offense has been impressive though, scoring at least 82 points in all four games. Things get tricky this weekend, as, besides Kansas, Oklahoma might have the toughest schedule in the Big 12. They start with Iowa in the Rady Children’s Invitational, a high-powered offensive unit looking for a quality win themselves. Then, they have the possibility of taking on USC, a top-25 opponent with one of the best backcourt in the country.

T6) TCU Horned Frogs

Last week’s ranking: 7 (-)

Record: 4-0

Last week: W vs. UTRGV (88-55), W vs. Mississippi Valley State (86-52)

Next week: vs. Alcorn State (Nov. 21 – 8 p.m.)

Quality wins: N/A

Bad losses: N/A

TCU and Oklahoma tied for 6th this week since they played the same opponent and both handled that opponent equally. The only difference is next week. TCU somehow avoided the feast week action. They can keep racking up these easy wins now, but eventually, the lack of quality wins will catch up to them.

8) Texas Longhorns

Last week’s ranking: 6 (-2)

Record: 4-0

Last week: W vs. Rice (80-64), W vs. Louisville (81-80)

Next week: vs. #5 UConn (Nov. 20 – 7 p.m.), vs. Wyoming (Nov. 26 – 3 p.m.)

Quality wins: N/A

Bad losses: N/A

Texas needed a Max Abmas buzzer beater to beat Louisville, who is one of, if not the worst Power 6 team. That is unacceptable, and considering that’s the best opponent they’ve played so far, that draws major red flags. Not having Dylan Disu has really hurt. Hopefully, he can return to the lineup soon. The whole perspective on Texas can quickly change if they beat UConn in the Empire Classic final on Monday. As mentioned before, we can’t make a surefire prediction on how their season will go without Disu, but this outcome along will lead to some important takeaways for this team, win or lose.

9) Cincinnati Bearcats

Last week’s ranking: 10 (+1)

Record: 4-0

Last week: W vs. Northern Kentucky (90-66)

Next week: vs. Georgia Tech (Nov. 22 – 7 p.m.)

Quality wins: N/A

Bad losses: N/A

Cincinnati gets the slight edge over the #10 team, Texas Tech thanks to the extra game played. They won easily this week against Northern Kentucky, led by 25 points from Dan Skillings Jr. They face their first Power 6 opponent, although not a good one this week when they take on Georgia Tech at home.

10) Texas Tech Red Raiders

Last week’s ranking: 9 (-1)

Record: 3-0

Last week: Texas A&M CC (W) 73-64

Next week: vs. #21 Villanova (Nov. 22 – 2:30 p.m.), vs. Northern Iowa OR North Carolina (Nov. 23 – TBD), vs. Michigan, Memphis, Arkansas, OR Stanford (Nov. 24  – TBD)

Quality wins: N/A

Bad losses: N/A

Texas Tech had a pretty forgettable week, beating Texas A&M CC by just 9 points and getting outscored in the second half. Remember, fellow Big 12 member Houston beat them by 35. This is not what you want to see before the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament, which is filled with talented teams, including a Villanova team that’s looking for a bounceback win after their surprising loss to Penn last week.

11) Kansas State Wildcats

Last week’s ranking: 12 (+1)

Record: 3-2

Last week: W vs. South Dakota State (91-68), W vs. Providence (73-70 OT), L vs. #12 Miami (91-83)

Next week: vs. Central Arkansas (Nov. 22 – 8 p.m.)

Quality wins: Providence

Bad losses: N/A

Kansas State’s strength of schedule this season is 66th in the country. The next highest in the Big 12 is UCF at #183. So, you can’t punish Kansas State for scheduling these tougher opponents, but if you schedule them, you need to win them. They did beat one, defeating Providence in the Semifinals of the Baha Mar, but couldn’t get it done against Miami. With an easy week ahead for the Wildcats and many teams above them involved in these tournaments, don’t be surprised if Kansas State shoots above their Big 12 members in next week’s power rankings.

12) UCF Golden Knights

Last week’s ranking: 11 (-1)

Record: 3-1

Last week: W vs. Cal State Fullerton (72-44), W vs. South Dakota State (83-80)

Next week: vs. Charlotte (Nov. 20 – 8:30 p.m.), vs. Stetson (Nov. 26 – 4 p.m.)

Quality wins: N/A

Bad losses: N/A

UCF has to be happy with a 3-1 start, and they can easily make that 5-1 this week. They almost made that 2-2, barely beating a decent South Dakota State team, but a team that lost to Kansas State by 23. UCF might have found a diamond in Jaylin Sellers, who’s averaged 20 PPG and 7.3 RPG so far.

13) West Virginia Mountaineers

Last week’s ranking: 14 (+1)

Record: 2-1

Last week: W vs. Jacksonville State (70-57)

Next week: vs. SMU (Nov. 20 – 8:30 p.m.), vs. Wisconsin OR Virginia (Nov. 22 – TBD), vs. Bellarmine (Nov 26 – 5 p.m.)

Quality wins: N/A

Bad losses: Monmouth

West Virginia flew under the radar this week after playing just one game, a 13-point win against Jacksonville State. Not an impressive win by any means, but hopefully it was enough to build momentum as they head into Feast Week with matchups against SMU and Wisconsin or Virginia in the Fort Myers Tip-Off. They can beat SMU, but a Wisconsin or Virginia win would be a huge shock based on their performance so far this season.

14) Oklahoma State Cowboys

Last week’s ranking: 13 (-1)

Record: 1-3

Last week: L vs. Saint Bonaventure (66-64), L vs. Notre Dame (66-64 OT)

Next week: vs. New Orleans (Nov. 20 – 8 p.m.), vs. Houston Christian (Nov. 24 – 8 p.m.)

Quality wins: N/A

Bad losses: Notre Dame, Abilene Christian

Things went from bad to worse for the Cowboys, losing both games in the Legends Classic, with both being games they were favored in. Bryce Thompson didn’t play in the Notre Dame game, but starting 1-3 is not an option in the Big 12 if you want to compete for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. The seat is as hot as it gets for Mike Boynton at the moment, and they will need to go out and dominate their opponents next week to take some of the heat off and regain some confidence.

Week 2 Big 12 Basketball Power Rankings

Featured image via @UHCougarMBK on X

One thought on “2023-24 Big 12 Basketball Power Rankings: Week 3”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.