What a week! The whole country saw some upsets over the weekend, and we had some of our own here in Big 12 country. Now that some of the dust has settled, things don't look quite like they did going into conference play.
LW ranking: 2nd
KenPom ranking: 16th (LW: 16th)
Last week: 56-55 win at Baylor, 86-54 win vs Texas Tech
It's already pretty clear that you're going to need some road wins to get the Big 12 title this year, and Kansas notched a solid one by outlasting Baylor last week. Kansas also got their blowout win at home against Texas Tech, which may be the only truly easy game on the schedule from here on out.
LW ranking: 1st
KenPom ranking: 11th (LW: 6th)
Last week: 66-63 loss vs Kansas State
Since these are released on Tuesdays, Oklahoma was able to jump up to number one last week. It was a short run, as a home loss to struggling Kansas State took some of the wind out of their sails Saturday. I still think Oklahoma is a dangerous team with a legitimate shot at the title, but it just became very important that they hold serve in Norman from here on out.
3) Iowa State
LW Ranking: 4th
KenPom ranking: 19th (LW: 20th)
Last week: 63-61 win vs Oklahoma State, 74-72 win at West Virginia
Iowa State was the third Big 12 team to notch a nice road win, beating West Virginia in Morgantown Saturday night. Barely escaping OSU at home had some scratching their heads, but OSU is looking more and more legit every game. Iowa State has a chance to move into the 1-2 range depending on how this week unfolds for them.
4) West Virginia
LW Ranking: 5th
KenPom ranking: 13th (LW: 12th)
Last week: 74-72 loss vs Iowa State
Despite the home loss, I've moved West Virginia ahead of Texas this week. The Mountaineers just keep playing at a high level. As the season goes on, my initial expectation that West Virginia will sink to the lower half of the conference gets weaker and weaker. They have a chance to make a huge statement this week with a home matchup against Oklahoma and a trip to Austin to play the suddenly-beatable Longhorns.
LW Ranking: 3rd
KenPom ranking: 28th (LW: 22nd)
Last week: 69-58 loss at Oklahoma State
No team's stock has fallen further since the start of conference play. Many thought Texas was the most likely candidate to take the Big 12 title from Kansas, but two double-digit losses in three games have them reeling. The next three games will likely define their ability to make a run at the title this year, with a home game against West Virginia, a trip to TCU, and a matchup with Kansas in Austin.
6) Oklahoma State
LW ranking: 7th
KenPom ranking: 22nd (LW: 24th)
Last week: 63-61 loss at Iowa State, 69-58 win vs Texas
It may be hard to pinpoint how they're doing it, but Oklahoma State just keeps playing good basketball. After making ISU very nervous in Ames, they notched a double-digit win over Texas in Stillwater. This team could finish anywhere between 4th and 8th without surprising me.
LW Ranking: 6th
KenPom ranking: 18th (LW: 15th)
Last week: 56-55 loss vs Kansas, 66-59 win at TCU
The Bears flirted with disaster Saturday, scraping by with a road win over TCU. TCU may be a tough match in Ft. Worth this year, but a loss would have given Baylor an 0-3 start. Baylor isn't bad, but they look pretty solidly in the lower half of the Big 12 at this point.
8) Kansas State
LW ranking: 8th
KenPom ranking: 91st (LW: 111th)
Last week: 58-53 win vs TCU, 66-63 win at Oklahoma
Kansas State is finally looking like the team they were supposed to be this year after a road win against the Sooners. More impressive than the win itself was the fact that they did it without any 3 point luck (shot just 3-11 behind the arc). It's too early to tell if this means K-State has turned the corner, but it was enough to get them back out of 9th place for now.
LW ranking: 8th
KenPom ranking: 56th (LW: 50th)
Last week: 58-53 loss at Kansas State, 66-59 OT loss vs Baylor
As expected TCU, is quickly falling back to earth after an undefeated non-conference schedule. Still, it's noteworthy that through their 0-3 Big 12 start, they've hung in relatively close in each game. The TCU program hasn't really arrived quite yet, but teams taking their trips to Ft. Worth lightly this year will be doing so at their own peril.
10) Texas Tech
LW ranking: 10th
KenPom ranking: 164th (LW: 149th)
Last week: 86-54 loss at Kansas
What Kansas did to Tech Saturday was something they'd struggled to do against even their lowliest opponents this year: destroy them from start to finish. Tech has firmly taken over TCU's spot as Big 12 doormat. So much so that KenPom gives them just a 36% chance of beating the Horned Frogs in Lubbock next week - their likeliest win on their remaining schedule.
Questions? Comments? Input? Feel free to contact me at PenHawkRCT@gmail.com, and follow me on twitter @kspen124