After an inadvertent week off, the weekly power ranking returns. My apologies for not having one up last week. I had the week off, then somehow ended up being busier than I would have at work. But enough with the excuses, and on to the rankings
LW ranking: 3rd
KenPom ranking: 6th (LW: 12th)
Last week: 61-43 win vs George Mason, 73-63 win vs Baylor, 70-49 win at Texas
This may look like a drastic change because of one game, but in reality I thought Oklahoma was our biggest threat going into the season. Their handling of Texas in Austin simply gave me enough evidence to go ahead and give them top spot. OU is currently ranked 3rd defensively by KenPom, and has a dangerous offense to go with it. I think there's some fool's gold in their defensive numbers, but there's little doubt they've addressed last year's issues on that side of the court. To me, this is the most dangerous team in the conference right now.
LW ranking: 2nd
KenPom ranking: 16th (LW: 16th)
Last week: 78-62 win vs Kent State, 76-61 win vs UNLV
Kansas rebounded from their embarrassing performance against temple with a pair of double digit home wins over middling teams. The Jayhawks came out with more of a high-pressure defensive look against UNLV, and their faster pace seemed to work to their advantage. At the same time, we saw yet another long offensive drought that put Kansas behind the 8 ball before ultimately taking over. These swoons are the main thing keeping me from returning Kansas to the top spot.
LW Ranking: 2nd
KenPom ranking: 22nd (LW: 9th)
Last week: 74-71 loss vs Stanford, 66-55 win vs Rice, 70-61 win at Texas Tech, 70-49 loss vs Oklahoma
Texas is a good team, but if they don't figure out how to score, they have no shot at the Big 12 title. Isaiah Taylor is back, but I'm not sure adding a volume scorer is the answer to their problem right now. Two home losses in four games suggests Texas may have some trouble holding serve on their home court. If that happens, they could easily fall to the bottom half of the conference.
4) Iowa State
LW Ranking: 4th
KenPom ranking: 20th (LW: 18th)
Last week: 83-33 win vs Mississippi State, 64-60 loss vs South Carolina
As their three point shooting goes, so go the Cyclones. Iowa State shot just 1-17 against South Carolina last weekend, and the result was a tough loss heading into conference play. We've seen Hoiberg's teams fall victim to this before, so I'm not reading much into it. Iowa State stays ranked 4th, but they're neck-and-neck with all the above three teams.
5) West Virginia
LW Ranking: 7th
KenPom ranking: 12th (LW: 20th)
Last week: 82-51 win vs Virginia Tech, 78-67 win at TCU, 78-67 win at Texas Tech
I look at West Virginia's roster and, aside from Juwan Staten, I just don't see it. I don't know how they're playing this well, but here we are. There's a general rule out there that National Champions rank in KenPom's top 20 both offensively and defensively almost every single year. West Virginia is dangerously close to clearing that bar right now, ranking 24th offensively and 21st defensively. I expect those rankings to drop as time goes on, but they're still a dangerous team. Count Huggins and Co. out at your own risk.
LW Ranking: 6th
KenPom ranking: 15th (LW: 19th)
Last week: 92-51 win vs Norfolk State, 73-63 loss at Oklahoma
Baylor blazed their way through a respectable non-con slate with a single loss, but had the misfortune of heading to Norman to start their Big 12 campaign. They kept it reasonably close through the first half, but trailed off from there. Baylor is looking more and more like a legitimate team, but I'm not seeing enough on their roster to put them in line with the league's top teams.
7) Oklahoma State
LW ranking: 5th
KenPom ranking: 24th (LW: 24th)
Last week: 74-72 win vs Missouri, 61-47 win vs Kansas State
I still like this team, but they haven't shown quite as much as West Virginia or Baylor, so I'm dropping them a bit. They followed up an OT win over Missouri at the Sprint Center with a 14 point victory over KSU that was close until the second half. OSU is solidly in the middle tier of Big 12 teams that will likely make the tournament and should be considered a threat to anyone in the conference in Stillwater.
LW ranking: 9th
KenPom ranking: 50th (LW: 45th)
Last week: 60-40 win vs Tennessee State, 78-67 loss vs West Virginia
Last night, TCU got only their second opportunity this year to play a team ranked in KenPom's top 150, and the result was a home loss. We all expected things to go south for the Horned Frogs once conference play started, and I while it looks like they will, I'll admit it seems I underestimated TCU's hot start, and they appear to be a decent team.
9) Kansas State
LW ranking: 8th
KenPom ranking: 111th (LW: 79th)
Last week: 58-56 loss vs Texas Southern, 50-46 loss vs Georgia, 61-47 loss at Oklahoma State
I've seen enough. K-State drops below TCU this week, and their season may be on the verge of spiraling out of control. KenPom's win probabilities favor them to win only one game the rest of the year. The good news for Wildcat fans is that they have enough talent that there's no way that should happen, and if Marcus Foster gets his head right it likely won't. Still, this team's tournament hopes are already over and done barring a miraculous turnaround, and you have to wonder if Bruce Weber's career at K-State might be arcing the same way it did at Illinois. That's not a good thing.
10) Texas Tech
LW ranking: 10th
KenPom ranking: 149th (LW: 127th)
Last week: 82-69 loss vs Houston, 60-45 win vs North Texas, 70-61 loss vs Texas, 78-67 loss vs West Virginia
Even K-State's freefall isn't enough to unseat Tech from last place. Tech opened up their Big 12 slate with two home losses, though they did make things somewhat interesting toward the end of the Texas game. Still, Tech doesn't do anything well, and I'll be shocked if they rise from the cellar at any point this year.
Questions? Comments? Input? Feel free to contact me at PenHawkRCT@gmail.com, and follow me on twitter @kspen124