Conference play has finally started after a strong non-conference showing by all ten teams, that included a number of wins versus top 25 teams. Each team has now played three games, and we’ve already had some interesting results. So, we’ll get right to it.
As always, these are subjective power rankings based on performance so far and not projections.
- WVU Mountaineers (14-1, 3-0) — The Mountaineers have won fourteen consecutive games after dropping their opener in Germany and already have victories over Virginia and Oklahoma. They also get Junior Esa Ahmad back in time to take on surprising Texas Tech in Lubbock.
- Texas Tech Red Raiders (14-1, 3-0)—You could easily make a case that Tech is the best team in the league, particularly with the win at Kansas, but this a WVU blog, so homer index applies here. Tech is playing great basketball, but I am curious to see if they can continue to play at this level as the season progresses.
- Kansas Jayhawks (12-3, 2-1)—The last time the Jayhawks did not win the Big XII regular season crown, George Bush was preparing for his re-election campaign. This might finally be the year it happens again. The Jayhawks lack a post presence and their defense is questionable at best. Still, they’re easily the most talented team in the nation and can score almost at will, as they proved in a big win against TCU last night.
- Oklahoma Sooners (12-2, 2-1)—Trae Young has been heralded as the next Steph Curry, but both WVU and Arkansas showed that he can be pressured into mistakes, and resorts to jacking shots. I have Kansas over the Sooners because I think Kansas simply is more talented and has a few betters wins, but it could go either way.
- Texas Christian University Horned Frogs (13-2, 1-2) — TCU looks like a tournament team, which is certainly an improvement for this club. That said, losses at home to Kansas and Oklahoma put them solidly in the second tier of the conference.
- Oklahoma State Cowboys (11-4, 1-2) —Despite losing their first two conference games, the Pokes continue to be better than expected after a difficult off-season. In honesty, teams 6-9 are a bit of a crapshoot, I am going with the Pokes because of their win over FSU on the road.
- Baylor Bears (11-4, 1-2) — In our previous Power Rankings, I questioned why Baylor would be ranked in the top 25. After three conference games, can’t say I was wrong. The Bears did, however, get a much needed win over Texas which gives them the seven spot.
- Texas Longhorns (10-5, 1-2)—The Longhorns feels incredibly close to being a much better team, but close doesn’t cut it.
- Kansas State Wildcats (11-4, 1-2)— The Wildcats abysmal non-conference schedule gives them little room for error, and at some point they’re likely going to need an upset over Kansas, WVU, Texas Tech or Oklahoma to compensate for it.
- Iowa State Cyclones (9-5, 0-3)—I am not ready to count out the ‘Clones just yet, but this is looking to be a very difficult season for them, as they opened with three straight losses against the bottom half of the conference.