Oklahoma State makes a big move after sweeping Texas in Austin. The Cowboys climb six notches to #6, while Texas falls nine to #37. Kendall Rogers wrote at Rivals.com that Texas right now is a loss to Kansas State away from missing the NCAA tournament! Nebraska, Baylor and Kansas State all remain steady. For Kansas State this is a bit surprising given that they took two of three this weekend at TTU. A&M moves up four spots to #22. Missouri actually falls five to #41. It must be the performances of Missouri's past opponents dragging them down this week as the Tigers are playing fine. Oklahoma moves up eight notches despite a tough week? Texas Tech's free fall is reflected in the RPI rankings this week. The Raiders tumble 19 notches to #83. The Hawks continue their steady climb, up ten this week. KU `s win over Missouri State helped a bit, and taking one of three in Lincoln was actually better then expected performance.
Tracking KU's out of conference opponents - Wins over LeMoyne (129), Dartmouth (157), Xavier (160), Iowa (181), Northwestern (191), CCSU (255), UMBC (257), two over Missouri State (87) and Chicago State (291) each, plus three over NDSU (249). Loses to Wichita State (20), Vanderbilt (29), Arkansas (30), Illinois (115) and Ohio State (146). Lost a series 3-2 at Hawaii-Hilo (230).
A glance over the above tracking report tells the story of KU's season. The Jayhawks have a lot of trouble scheduling good non-conference match-ups due to geography. It is hard to get highly ranked teams to travel to Lawrence, and so KU must hit the road if they want to play the elite. And, of course, it is a bitch beating an elite team on the road. Because of this catch-22 situation KU must consistently win games against middling opponents if they are going to keep their RPI respectable. KU has helped themselves in this regard by taking both games from Missouri State, but hurt themselves with losses to Illinois and Ohio State. The only games KU has lost that they really kill them are the three in Hawaii. KU will have a couple more chances this year to score impressive out of conference wins. They travel to Wichita State on Tuesday. A win on that day would help immensely. The final non-conference game of the year will be vs. Oral Roberts at Hoglund, Wednesday, May 7th. Oral Roberts is damn good. They are ranked #23 in the most recent RPI.
This non-conference end-game is probably academic at this point. The chances of KU reducing their RPI to a number that will have any impact on their post-season resume is extremely unlikely. Just the same, the Hawks must build a tradition of being a non-conference wreaking ball if they are going to bring the program up to the next level.