Things are getting crazier by the day in the Big 12.
#1 in our rankings last week, Iowa State, didn't show up ready to play in Lubbock against #10 in our rankings (who I so expertly proclaimed would have a tough time getting even a single conference win), Texas Tech, and went home with an L. West Virginia had to scratch and claw and get slightly lucky to survive a brutal home loss to TCU, and Oklahoma has quietly lost four out of their last five to fall below .500 in conference play.
Let's get to the rankings:
1. Kansas Jayhawks, 16-3, 5-1 (previous rank: 2)
Kansas has rebounded from their loss to Iowa State with two wins over (then) top 20 teams, Oklahoma and Texas. Cliff Alexander came up huge for the Jayhawks against the Longhorns, scoring 15 and adding 9 rebounds in 27 minutes off the bench. KU leads the Big 12 in 3 point percentage by a fairly wide margin, shooting 39.4% from deep.
Last week: Defeated #24 Oklahoma 85-78 (1/19), Defeated #19 Texas 75-62 (1/24)
This week: @ TCU (1/28), Vs. Kansas State (1/31)
2. Iowa State Cyclones, 15-4, 5-2 (previous rank: 1)
Yes, they lost to the worst team in the Big 12. But they Cyclones are still the only conference team to beat Kansas, and (say it with me) it's really, really tough to win on the road in this conference. Iowa State shot a horrible 6-31 from three in their loss at Texas Tech.
Last week: Defeated Kansas State 77-71 (1/20), Lost @ Texas Tech 78-73 (1/24)
This week: Defeated #19 Texas 89-86 (1/26), Vs. TCU (1/31)
3. Texas Longhorns, 14-6, 3-4 (previous rank: 3)
Texas has lost back-to-back games, but the defeats came to the two teams ahead of them in the rankings, so they stay put. Texas tops the conference in FG% defense, allowing just 34.9%.
Last week: Defeated TCU 66-48 (1/10), Lost to #9 Kansas 75-62 (1/24)
This week: Lost to #15 Iowa State 89-86 (1/26), @ #20 Baylor (1/31)
4. West Virginia Mountaineers, 16-3, 4-2 (previous rank: 4)
There were multiple times Saturday when it looked as if TCU was going to leave Morgantown with a huge victory and deal West Virginia a devastating blow. But to their credit, the Mountaineers never gave up. West Virginia is the only team in the conference to allow a higher FG% than what they shoot themselves. WVU has an opponent FG% of 44.6%, and shoots only 41.7%. Those numbers will have to change if they want to make a serious run at the title.
Last week: Defeated TCU 86-85 OT (1/24)
This week: @ Kansas State (1/27), Vs. Texas Tech (1/31)
5. Kansas State Wildcats, 12-8, 5-2 (previous rank: 6)
The overall record looks bad, and K-State still has a TON of work to do if they want to be considered for the NCAA tournament, but there's no denying the recent results. The Wildcats sit at #2 in the conference standings, and have won five out of their last six games. Nino Williams made 10 out of 13 field goals in their victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday. Tonight's contest against #17 West Virginia is huge for both teams.
Last week: Lost @ #15 Iowa State 77-71 (1/20), Defeated Oklahoma State 63-53 (1/24)
This week: Vs. #17 West Virginia (1/27), @ #9 Kansas (1/31)
6. Baylor Bears, 15-4, 3-3 (previous rank: 7)
Last week, I mentioned how weird it was for Baylor to be playing NAIA Hutson-Tillotson right in the middle of conference play. Well, it came out later in the week that Baylor scheduled the game because Hutson-Tillotson needed a big time opponent for a movie. From Yahoo Sports:
Ken Carter, the coach whose life story inspired the 2005 film "Coach Carter," opened a basketball academy three years ago 30 miles south of Baylor's campus. He has since struck up a good enough relationship with the Baylor program that he visits practice on occasion.
"There was a plan for [Carter] to play for Huston-Tillotson this year at age 56," Kaye said via email. "There are plans for a second movie, and Baylor provided a big-time college opponent to feature Huston-Tillotson playing against in the movie."
Kaye said Baylor initially agreed to host the game as a favor to Carter and because coach Scott Drew thought it would be a fun experience for his players to appear in a movie. Baylor honored its contract to host the game even though Carter's plan to play for Huston-Tillotson fell through and no movie footage was filmed.
As Deadspin asked, is there no eligibility issues that would prevent a 56 year old dude from playing for an NAIA team? Maybe NAIA is just the Wild West when it comes to who suits up on the court, which keeps my hopes alive for a real life "Air Bud."
Last week: Defeated Hutson-Tillotson 81-61 (1/21), Defeated #24 Oklahoma 69-58 (1/24)
This week: @ Oklahoma State (1/27), Vs. #19 Texas (1/31)
7. Oklahoma Sooners, 12-7, 3-4 (previous rank: 5)
Oklahoma is 1-4 since their dominating win over Texas in Austin. The Sooners shot only 25% from three in their loss to the Bears. Things get a little easier this week, with two very winnable games that could get them back on track.
Last week: Lost @ #9 Kansas 85-78 (1/19), Lost @ #20 Baylor 69-58 (1/24)
This week: Vs. Texas Tech (1/28), @ Oklahoma State (1/31)
8. Oklahoma State Cowboys , 13-6, 3-4 (previous rank: 8)
Oklahoma State is last in the Big 12 in rebounding margin, at only +0.5, and last in offensive rebounds per game. This is a big week for them, with two chances to get a win over a ranked team, with both Baylor and Oklahoma coming to Stillwater.
Last week: Defeated Texas Tech 63-43 (1/21), Lost @ Kansas State 63-53 (1/24)
This week: Vs. #20 Baylor (1/27), Vs. #24 Oklahoma (1/31)
9. TCU Horned Frogs, 14-5, 1-5 (previous rank: 9)
TCU was so close to getting a huge win over West Virginia in Morgantown. After the game, Trent Johnson seemed slightly unhappy with the foul call that sent Jevon Carter to the line for the game-winning free throws:
Last week: Lost to #19 Texas 66-48 (1/19), Lost @ #17 West Virginia 86-85 OT (1/24)
This week: Vs. #9 Kansas (1/28), @ #15 Iowa State (1/31)
10. Texas Tech Red Raiders, 11-9, 1-6 (previous rank: 10)
Good for you, Texas Tech. Just when I started to wonder if 0-18 was possible, the Red Raiders lit up the nets from three and stormed the court after taking down Iowa State. Devaugntah Williams and Toddrick Gotcher combined for 8 threes and 30 points in the upset.
Last week: Lost @ Oklahoma State 63-43 (1/21), Defeated #15 Iowa State 78-73 (1/24)
This week: @ #24 Oklahoma (1/28), @ #17 West Virginia (1/31)