We're going to do this a little differently than in the past. Instead of reviewing the past week's contests, we'll instead go straight into the Power Rankings, and discuss the past week (and the upcoming one) for each team. We missed a week, Week Five, that'll just sneak into the obscure depths of nothingness. I'm not really sure that that means, just saying we won't be going over those games here. Sorry.
#1 -- Oklahoma 25-1 (11-0) (1)
Oklahoma is the train that keeps on chugging along, no matter how close a game is against an opponent, no matter how bad. Some games are prettier than others, with this week containing two quite comfortable victories. The game in Waco was particularly impressive, given the Bears' urgency, and it being on the road. The home game against the Red Raiders was much less so, although it was the type of game that Boomer Sooner had let trail along all conference season. I'm still not sold on them as a Final Four team, but they are clearly a legitimate #1 seed, right now, and a candidate to go undefeated in conference play. Their game in Austin is an opportunity to lose, but not their best one; that'd be their road trip up to Columbia, a game that KP actually expects the Tigers to take.
Juan Patillo has done a bunch for the Sooners, giving them a "dirty work" player on the interior to go along with Blake Griffin's superstar-ness. 40 and 23, seriously? Austin Johnson, though, is the question, along with a general lack of depth.
Last Week: @ Baylor (78-63), vs. Texas Tech (95-74
This Week: @ Texas (2/21)
#2 -- Missouri 22-4 (9-2) (4)
What a week from the Tigers. First, one of the best games of the season saw them overtake Kansas, 62-60. Then, they demolished a pretty good Nebraska Cornhuskers club, 70-47. I've said it before, and I'll continue to say it: Missouri is a legitimate Final Four contender. They have the style to get themselves in trouble against worse teams, but when they're on, oh boy. Despite being ranked #10 and #11 in the MSM polls (and #10 on the BlogPoll), they still are underrated, because no one really believes they are the tenth best team in the country. Or, at least that's my impression.
But, they just might be. They have one of the best frontcourt duos in the country with Leo Lyons and Demarre Carroll, and are incredibly deep. Zaire Taylor, or Mr. Coffee or whatever, is a legitimate perimter presence, along with defensive stalwart and veteran leader J.T. Tiller. Let's just say, I don't wanna play them in March. Nuh-uh.
Last Week: vs. #16 Kansas (62-60), vs. Nebraska (70-47)
This Week: @ Colorado (2/21)
Rest of the fun stuff after the jump...
#3 -- Kansas 20-5 (9-1) (3)
Gotta love picking up an L and still sliding up the BlogPoll rankings. Really, in both games Kansas played pretty well, showing they can play with most teams. And on the same foot, they showed some serious flaws (turning the ball over, mainly) that could come back to bite us in the ass. That's all I'll say, considering this is a Kansas blog.
Last Week: @ #17 Missouri (60-62), @ Kansas State (85-74)
Next Week: vs. Iowa State (2/18), vs. Nebraska (2/21)
#4 -- Texas 17-7 (6-4) 2)
Texas, after losing three straight, rebounded with two much-need wins this week. Although neither is impressive, and going to OT in Boulder is borderline-embarrassing, two wins are two wins. And, more than anything, the Horns just needs to pick up W's. Their non-conference slate provided them with the necessary quality W's (vs. UCLA, @ Wisconsin [who is making a comeback, now, and could be Dancing themselves], vs. Villanova), now they just need to keep on racking up the wins. Quantity, not quality. Although, a win Saturday night against Boomer Sooner would do a helluva lot, giving them three legitimately awesome wins. Combine that with 20+ victories, and you've got an NCAA Tournament team.
Really, though, tonight's game is just as important as Saturday's in a different sense. A W here, combined with near-sure-things vs. Texas Tech, @ Okie State and vs. Baylor should be enough, getting them to 10-6, even with losses to Kansas and Oklahoma. I think they are a near-lock to lose in the first round, but if Dogus Balbay continues his progression as a solid point guard, they could make some noise. A.J. Abrams' might be the country's best shooter, and the Damion James-Gary Johnson combo is always dangerous. If they can just get solid play from Dogus, they are a team that most will want no part of.
Last Week: vs. Oklahoma State (99-74), @ Colorado (85-76 OT)
This Week: @ Texas A&M (2/16), vs. #3 Oklahoma (2/21)
#5 -- Kansas State 17-8 (6-5) (8)
The Powercats really, really could have used a W Saturday afternoon. Beating Kansas, combined with their victory over Missouri and their road win in Austin, likely would've put them on the right side of the bubble. Nevertheless, I still think they've got a shot to sneak in. To do so, they need to win all remaining games besides Missouri (if they win there, though, it's a near lock they get in, assuming they don't get upset) and win a game in Oklahoma City. If that's the case, then yeah, I bet they make it in. Maybe not, maybe they get left out, but I don't think so.
As far as whether they are an NCAA-caliber team, that's an interesting debate. Their guards certainly are, but their forwards are basically glorified rebounding machines. Oh, well, there's those machines plus Darren Kent, who isn't all that productive at anything, but likes to take threes. They need to just win, though, from here on out.
Last Week: vs. Texas Tech (85-73), vs. #16 Kansas (74-85)
This Week: vs. North Carolina Central (2/17), @ Iowa State (2/21)
#6 -- Oklahoma State 15-9 (4-6) (5)
All of a sudden, the Pokes have snuck their head back into the NCAA Tournament picture. It'll likely take a miraculous finish to their Big 12 slate, winning at least five of the remaining plus a couple in Okie City, but it isn't entirely impossible.
They need to start winning, though, and it's as simple as that. Two pretty easy ones this week, but both they absolutely must have.
Last Week: @ Texas (74-99), vs. Iowa State (86-67)
This Week: @ Texas Tech (2/18), vs. Baylor (2/21)
#7 -- Nebraska 15-8 (5-5) (9)
Nebraska isn't going to end up making the NCAA Tournament, although they made a good run for it. I would say that next year would be the year they make a run, but they're losing a lot. Still, an apperance in the NIT should be a good step forward for the Cornhuskers basketball program. Doc Sadler, while a bit of a whiner, is a helluva coach, and the trip up to Lincoln should consistently be a tough one.
Last Week: @ #17 Missouri (47-70)
Next Week: vs. Colorado (2/18), @ #15 Kansas (2/21)
For the rest of 'em, I won't be doing all of this fluff. The season is pretty much over for the rest of the teams, at least when it comes to NCAA Tournament chances. Baylor and ATM could sneak in with miracles, I suppose, particularly the Bears, but I don't see it happening. And, I'm tired.
So, we're just going to move on to the next little stage of this Roundup: Key Games of the Week.
Key Games of the Week
Monday February 16th
Texas @ Texas A&M -- An absolute must-win for the Aggies, if they want any shot at making the NCAAs. Texas could really use a W, too, for their own at-large hopes. Combining the whole rivarly aspect, and the game should be really intersting to watch.
Saturday February 21st
Baylor @ Oklahoma State -- Again, an absolute must-win for both teams involved, if they want any prayer of making the NCAA Tournament. The first one was a fabulous contest, in Waco, so this one should be a lot of fun to watch, as well.
Oklahoma @ Texas -- A chance for a monstrous win for the Longhorns, and a hurdle Boomer Sooner must clear on the way to a potential #1 seed and undefeated conference record.
That's all. I know this wasn't as good as most Roundups, but I'm still playing around with the best way to do this stuff.
Plenty more content coming tomorrow, including Iowa State preview content.