A Trip Around the Big 12 - Week 3

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas strengthens it grip on the Big 12 Conference race while Baylor is in danger of being left behind toward the bottom of the standings.

Kansas continues their solid play (excepting for turnovers and technicals) and has taken what I’m going to call a commanding lead in the conference race. The Jayhawks still have six games remaining vs West Virginia, TCU, Texas Tech, and have already beaten the three teams right behind them in the standings. Baylor is struggling, suffering an upset loss to Tech last week. The Bears are in danger of falling out of the race completely if they can’t pull an upset of Kansas on Big Monday. Kansas State’s schedule is backloaded, so we may not really know what the Wildcats have until the first week of March; six of their last eight games are against Kansas, Baylor (twice), Oklahoma, Iowa State, and Oklahoma State.

Let’s take a look at the standings. The Big 12 currently has six teams ranked in the Top 25. Somehow Baylor stayed in despite the loss to the Red Raiders.

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(8) Kansas, 13-4, 4-0

(22) Kansas State, 14-4, 4-1

(11) Oklahoma State, 15-3, 3-2

(25) Oklahoma, 14-4, 3-2

Texas, 14-4, 3-2

(16) Iowa State, 14-3, 2-3

Texas Tech, 10-8, 2-3

West Virginia, 10-8, 2-3

(24) Baylor, 13-4, 1-3

Texas Christian, 9-8, 0-5

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Who would have thought Baylor would be below Tech at any point during the season? Not this guy. Granted, one of Tech’s win is vs TCU. My guess is that by the end of the year, we’ll have a clear distinction between the top six teams and the bottom four. I think that Iowa State, Baylor, or Texas will end up slipping farther than any of us expect.

(8) Kansas, 13-4, 4-0

Last week: win @ (16) Iowa State 77-70, win vs (11) Oklahoma State 80-78

This week: vs (24) Baylor 1/18, @ TCU 1/25

Kansas took a commanding lead over the Big 12 race with two wins over then Top-10 squads in ISU and OSU. KU can bury the Bears and then return to the house of horrors that is TCU’s arena in Fort Worth. I anticipate Kansas being 6-0 by this point next week.

(22) Kansas State, 14-4, 4-1

Last week: win vs (25) Oklahoma 72-66, win vs West Virginia 78-56

This week: @ Texas 1/21, @ (16) Iowa State 1/25

The Wildcats had a successful week at home, sending two former coaches home with losses. We’ll learn a little bit more about how legit Kansas State is this year as they hit the road this week to Austin and Ames.

(11) Oklahoma State, 15-3, 3-2

Last week: win vs TCU 82-50, loss @ (8) Kansas 80-78

This week: vs West Virginia 1/25

The Cowboys showed some fight in Allen Fieldhouse after falling behind big early in the first half. They eventually ran out of time and couldn’t quite complete the comeback. However, they are not out of the conference rate yet. Kansas still has to travel to Stillwater, as does Kansas State.

(25) Oklahoma, 14-4, 3-2

Last week: loss @ (22) Kansas State 72-66, win @ (24) Baylor 66-64

This week: vs TCU 1/22, @ Texas Tech 1/25

The Sooners keep flirting with being on the edge of the top 25, and this week they find themselves still included. They should pick up two more wins this week against two teams from the bottom of the Big 12. If they don’t, they may not see the Top-25 for quite some time.

Texas, 14-4, 3-2

Last week: win @ West Virginia 80-69, win vs (16) Iowa State 86-76

This week: vs (22) Kansas State 1/21, @ (24) Baylor 1/25

The Longhorns have put together three wins in a row and have a chance to make a statement this week with two ranked teams on the schedule. With a pair of wins, Texas could insert themselves into the conversation regarding the conference race just in time for a meeting with Kansas.

(16) Iowa State, 14-3, 2-3

Last week: loss vs (8) Kansas 77-70, loss @ Texas 86-76

This week: vs (22) Kansas State 1/25

ISU only has one game this week, so they’ll have plenty of time to get ready for a visit from the Wildcats. Iowa State could use the break, they had a rough week. They hung with Kansas, but were pretty much held at arm’s length in most of that game. I honestly don’t know what happened in Austin as I didn’t see any of that game. ‘Clone fans better hope The Mayor can get it figured out or they might end up slumming with TCU.

Texas Tech, 10-8, 2-3

Last week: win vs (24) Baylor 82-72, win @ TCU 60-49

This week: @ West Virginia 1/22, vs (25) Oklahoma 1/25

The surprise of the week goes here. The Red Raiders absolutely dominated the Bears in Lubbock, leading most of the game by 20 points and coming away with the 10 point victory. They then followed that up with a win in Fort Worth against TCU, and we all know how difficult that can be. Tech has two more winnable games this week if they’re able to keep up the good play.

West Virginia, 10-8, 2-3

Last week: loss vs Texas 80-69, loss @ (22) Kansas State 78-56

This week: vs Texas Tech 1/22, @ (11) Oklahoma State 1/25

The Mountaineers are having a rough go in the Big 12 so far this year. After Texas Tech, WVU only has two games the rest of the year against teams not currently ranked in the Top-25. One of those is Texas, who just knocked off West Virginia in Morgantown last week.

(24) Baylor, 13-4, 1-3

Last week: loss @ Texas Tech 82-72, loss vs Oklahoma 66-64

This week: @ (8) Kansas 1/20, vs Texas 1/25

The Bears are in trouble. They dropped a road game in Lubbock to a not-very-good Tech team, and suffered an upset on their home floor vs OU. Now they get to travel to Lawrence, KS, for Big Monday, and follow that up with a home game against rival Texas. If the Bears get swept again this week, they’ll be out of the discussion for the conference title.

Texas Christian, 9-8, 0-5

Last week: loss @ (11) Oklahoma State 82-50, loss vs Texas Tech 60-49

This week: @ (25) Oklahoma 1/22, vs (8) Kansas 1/25

With the exception of a home game vs West Virginia, TCU just has not been competitive in conference this year. The schedule doesn’t get any easier with a trip to Norman and a visit from red-hot Kansas coming up. However, no team should overlook the Frogs. Have I mentioned that Kansas lost in Fort Worth last year?

Questions to consider:

If Kansas knocks off Baylor, is the conference race over?

Will TCU knock off Kansas again this year?

Will TCU win a game at all in conference play?

Which team is most likely to join TCU, Texas Tech, and West Virginia in the bottom four of the league?

Will Texas Tech NOT be in the bottom four at the end of the year?

Will Kansas State be able to defend their "Big 12 Title?"

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