Conference play began in the Big 12 last week and with it came some very interesting results.
Texas Tech made a statement, West Virginia survived despite a poor effort from Devin Williams and Jevon Carter, and Oklahoma solidified their spot at the top.
Let's get to the rankings.
1. Oklahoma Sooners, 12-0, 1-0 (previous rank: 1)
The Sooners proved they were worthy of the #1 spot, defeating Iowa State after trailing for most of the game. Ryan Spangler and Buddy Hield combined for nearly half of Oklahoma's 87 points in the victory. Tonight's matchup against Kansas is the game of the year so far and one of the biggest in Big 12 basketball history.
Last week: Won vs. Iowa State (87-83)
This week: @ Kansas (1/4), Vs. Kansas State (1/9)
2. Kansas Jayhawks, 12-1, 1-0 (previous rank: 2)
Kansas kicked off conference play in style, destroying a ranked Baylor squad with ease behind Wayne Selden's 24 points. It's a heck of a luxury to bring two top-30 NBA prospects (according to DraftExpress) off the bench. Kansas is able to do that with Cheik Diallo and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk.
Spoiler: the winner of tonight's game will be ranked #1 next week, assuming there's no slipup on Saturday.
Last week: Won Vs. UC Irvine (78-53), Won Vs. Baylor (102-74)
This week: Vs. Oklahoma (1/4), @ Texas Tech (1/9)
3. West Virginia Mountaineers, 12-1, 1-0 (previous rank: 3)
Last week, a reader left a kind note suggesting I was "smoking crack" for having West Virginia ranked ahead of Iowa State. To that, I present these numbers:
|Stat||West Virginia||Iowa State|
|Adjusted offensive efficiency rank||35||11|
|Adjusted defensive efficiency rank||3||63|
|Losses||1 (KenPom #4 Virginia)||2 (KenPom #3 Oklahoma, #79 Northern Iowa|
stats as of 1/3/2016
THIS IS NOT A DISS OF IOWA STATE. I love the Cyclones. There isn't a player in the country I enjoy watching more than Georges Niang. Iowa State could very easily sweep the season series against the Mountaineers. As of now, though, this is how I think they should be.
Ok, now for West Virginia, how about that Jaysean Paige fella? All he did Saturday in the win over Kansas State was score 25 points, pull down 7 rebounds, and take control of the game with repeated attacks to the rim. Are we completely sure he hasn't been the best player on the Mountaineers this season?
Good time to point out that WVU is only a 20-minute meltdown vs UVa away from being undefeated and likely in the top 5.— Joedy McCreary (@JoedyAP) December 30, 2015
Last week: Won @ Virginia Tech (88-63), Won @ Kansas State (87-83 2OT)
This week: @ TCU (1/4), Vs.Oklahoma State (1/9)
4. Iowa State Cyclones, 11-2, 0-1 (previous rank: 4)
Iowa State led Oklahoma for nearly all of the first 35 minutes of their game on Saturday and could easily have left Norman with a victory. The matchup between maybe the two best college players in the country didn't disappoint, with Georges Niang dropping 29 and Buddy Hield 22. The Cyclones are at home for both of their games this week, with Wednesday's matchup against Texas Tech now looking pretty appealing. Speaking of...
Last week: Won Vs. Coppin State (104-84), Lost @ Oklahoma (87-83)
This week: Vs. Texas Tech (1/6), Vs. Baylor (1/9)
5. Texas Tech Red Raiders, 11-1, 1-0 (previous rank: 7)
Texas Tech has now won 10 straight, with their only loss coming to a solid Utah team. DeVaugntah Williams scored 23 in the victory over the Longhorns and made all 13 of his free throw attempts. The Red Raiders have a great chance to earn respect this week, traveling to Ames Wednesday and hosting the Jayhawks on Saturday.
Last week: Defeated Richmond (85-70), Defeated Texas (82-74)
This week: @ Iowa State (1/6), Vs. Kansas (1/9)
6. Kansas State Wildcats, 10-3, 0-1 (previous rank: 8)
This is where it gets difficult. You could mix and match Texas, Baylor and Kansas State anywhere in the 6-8 spots and I wouldn't complain. I'll go with the Wildcats just because they provided the most resistance in defeat. Kansas State is young, but man do they compete. No team is going to have an easy win in Manhattan this year.
Last week: Won vs. Saint Louis (75-47), Lost Vs. West Virginia (87-83 2OT)
This week: @ Texas (1/5), @ Oklahoma (1/9)
7. Baylor Bears, 10-3, 0-1 (previous rank: 6)
The Bears got smacked around in Lawrence, but they aren't the first and won't be the last this season. Al Freeman had 21 points in their win Tuesday over Texas Southern.
Last week: Won vs. Texas Southern (72-59), Lost @ Kansas (102-74)
This week: Vs. Oklahoma State (1/5), @ Iowa State (1/9)
8. Texas Longhorns, 8-5, 0-1 (previous rank: 5)
Last week was tough for the Longhorns. On Sunday, center Cameron Ridley broke a bone in his foot during practice and is out indefinitely. Without him Texas suffered two tough defeats and are now only three games above .500. Definitely not how Shaka Smart expected his first 13 games to go.
Last week: Lost Vs. UCONN (71-66), Lost @ Texas Tech (82-74)
This week: Vs. Kansas State (1/5), @ TCU (1/9)
9. Oklahoma State Cowboys, 9-4, 1-0 (previous rank: 9)
Per Andy Katz, senior guard Phil Forte is "most likely out for the year but it's not officially decided yet." With Forte done, the Cowboys face an uphill battle for a spot in the NCAA tournament. Jeff Newberry will need plenty more performances like the one he had against TCU, scoring 23 and grabbing 8 rebounds.
Last week: Defeated UMKC (61-43), Defeated TCU (69-48)
This week: @ Baylor (1/5), @ West Virginia (1/9)
10. TCU Horned Frogs, 8-5, 0-1 (previous rank: 10)
Karviar Shepherd followed up an impressive 15 point, 19 rebound performance against Delaware State with a 0 point, 4 rebound stinker against Oklahoma State. The Horned Frogs are in Forth Worth for both of their games this week.
Last week: Won Vs. Delaware State (75-47), Lost @ Oklahoma State (69-48)
This week: Vs. West Virginia (1/4), Vs. Texas (1/9)