Week 1 Big 12 Power Rankings
Gonzaga Had The Biggest Impact On The Big 12 Power Rankings This Week
As regular season games began this past weekend, not much has changed in the weekly Rant Sports Big 12 Basketball power rankings. Interestingly enough every team in the conference, except one (read on to find out which), has escaped the opening weekend undefeated.
This season, the Big 12 conference again looks to be a powerhouse in the nation and send multiple teams to the Big Dance in March. However, the conference is undergoing a little bit of an identity change. Of course, Kansas and Baylor will be find their names printed in the Associated Press biweekly, but Missouri has now left for the SEC and opened the door for a few other teams to make noise in the south.
The league has added a former Big East contender West Virginia, and a total wildcard in TCU from the Mountain West, but also consist of three or four Big 12 regulars who are looking to make some noise.
In the opening weekend, Kansas kept their top-10 ranking in tact on national television during their opening night victory, but have a very big matchup against the No. 14 Michigan State Spartans in Atlanta in the Champions Classic. Along with the conference favorite, many other teams in the conference took care of business as well.
In the following slides, we’ll recap each Big 12 team’s weekend successes and failures and look forward to their week ahead.
Jake Fischer is the CAA Correspondent for Rant Sports-NCAA Basketball. He will also be contributing weekly Big 12 Power Rankings during the 2012-2013 NCAAB season every Tuesday. Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter @fischsportsline.
No. 10- TCU Horned Frogs
Last Week: 2-0 (Centenary Gentleman, Cal Poly)
Now with their first Big 12 season underway, the TCU Horned Frogs have started off their season on the right foot. During their opening weekend, the Horned Frogs beat Cal Poly 53-46 and dominated Centenary Gentleman 75-47. In the team’s opening match-up against the Mustangs, TCU was lead by the young men who have been handed the keys to the team, Garlon Green and Amric Fields. As a team, the Horned Frogs were very efficient offensively and defensively. While shooting 42 percent from the field and 40 percent from three as a team, TCU forced Cal Poly to shoot 35 percent from the field and 27 percent from long range. Their second game, against the Centenary, was blowout by every definition of the word.
Next week, TCU will take on Larry Browns’ SMU Mustangs on Thursday, November 15 as well as Prairie View A&M on Sunday the 18th.
No. 9- Texas Tech Red Raiders
Last Week: 1-0 (Prairie View A&M)
The 2012-2013 Texas Tech Red Raiders did their best to move past their offseason Billy Gillespie issues by defeating Prairie View A&M 89-79 on Friday night. While the team’s defense was a slight issue, giving up 79 points on 40 percent shooting, the Red Raiders at once had a lead as large as 20 points. The Red Raiders had five 6 players score 8 points or higher, including 4 in double-figures, led by Jordan Tolbert with 16 points. They also shot the ball phenomenally well, shooting 50.8 percent from the field, 78.6 percent from the line and 30 percent from beyond the arc as a team. Maybe Tech will be able to compete at the tops of the Big 12 if this offense can continue.
Next week, the Red Raiders will take on Nebraska Omaha at home, tomorrow, Wednesday, November 14. Expect another high-scoring affair.
No. 8- West Virginia Mountaineers
Last Week: 0-1 (Gonzaga)
The West Virginia Mountaineers unfortunately began their season with by far the toughest match-up of any team in the Big 12. The Mountaineers suffered a very tough opening 84-50 defeat at the hands of No. 19 Gonzaga, in a game that made the Bulldogs look like a top-5 team in the nation. The Mountaineers have fallen the most in the conference rankings, dropping from 6 to 8. Not only did WVU lose, they were embarrassed during their 2012-2013 debut. The Mountaineers shot just 27 percent from the field, only 11.5 percent from beyond the three-point line, were out-rebounded and turned the ball over 18 times. West Virginia badly needs a bounce-back victory to restore their confidence.
Next week, the Mountaineers have no games, so they’ll have plenty of time to go back to the drawing board before their November 22 game against Marist.
No. 7- Iowa State Cyclones
Last Week: 2-0 (Southern, Alabama A&M)
Despite losing Royce White to NBA, head coach Fred Hoiberg and the Iowa State Cyclones have started the 2012-2013 season on a very positive note. The Cylcones defeated the Southern University Jaguars 82-59 and the Alabama A&M Bulldogs 98-40. While scoring an average of 90 points in their first two games as a team, freshman Georges Niang has scored 16 points a game to go along with 8.5 rebounds a night. Senior Will Clyburn has also been very efficient scoring 15.5 points and adding 9 rebounds. Overall, the Cyclones have five players scoring in double digits. A high-scoring offense is always something a team can use to their advantage.
Next week, Iowa State will take on Campbell at home.
No. 6- Oklahoma Sooners
Last Week: 1-0 (Louisiana-Monroe)
The Oklahoma Sooners started off head coach Lon Kruger’s second season with the program with a bang. The Sooners dismantled the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks to the tune of 85-51. Oklahoma had four players score in double figures, along with three players score 9 points. Most notably, Kruger got a very big contribution from Wyoming transfer, Amath M’Baye, who scored 12 points while grabbing 9 boards. Defensively, the Sooners forced the Warhawks to only shoot 34.5 percent from the field and only 18.8 percent from three-point range with 14 turnovers.
Next week, the Sooners travel to take on Texas-Arlington on the road.
No. 5- Texas Longhorns
Last Week: 2-0 (Fresno State, Coppin State)
Head coach Rick Barnes almost started his Texas Longhorns’ season on a very sour note. If it wasn’t for Sheldon McClellan’s last second free throws, Texas may not have narrowly defeated Fresno State 55-53. In the contest, the Longhorns couldn’t buy a bucket, shooting just 37 percent from the field and 1-13 (7.7 percent) from beyond the arc. If it weren’t for the team’s clutch shooting at the charity stripe (75 percent) this game would have ended in a loss. Fortunately for Barnes, his boys found their touch in game number two of the opening weekend. They scored 69 points compared to Coppin State’s 46. McClellan is doing all he can, averaging 22.5 points per contest, but the team is overall defending and rebounding at an exceptional level. Texas is grabbing an exceptional 47 rebounds per game while holding opponents to just 49.5 points per game.
This week, the Longhorns have an a sort of bye, not seeing game action again Monday, November 19 at Chaminade, a Division II opponent.
No. 4- Oklahoma State Cowboys
Last Week: 1-0 (UC Davis)
In the Oklahoma State Cowboys’ opening contest, the veteran club struggled to keep UC Davis at bay. While the Cowboys did have plenty of offense coming from all kinds of places, of course led by Le’Bryan Nash and Markel Brown, they did struggle a little defensively. They allowed their Big West opponent to shoot 42 percent from the field overall and 44 percent from three-point land as a team as well. The Cowboys should also be concerned that they were outrebounded by a mid-major team 43-29. They will need to show more of a balanced overall game this week if they want to remain this high in the power rankings.
This week, the Cowboys head to Puerto Rico to take on Akron in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off at Bayamon. Hopefully, for their sake, Oklahoma State can correct things on the defensive win and put together a double-digit victory.
No. 3- Kansas State Wildcats
Last Week: 2-0 (North Dakota, Lamar)
The Kansas State Wildcats have leaped from the preseason 5-spot to number 3 in Week 1 of the Big 12 power rankings. Their jump hasn’t been because of their two victories, it’s because of how dominant they were in both victories considering they’re just beginning a new coaching era led by Bruce Weber. The former Illinois head coach has received the efforts from his returning scorers and last season’s top scorers, but also has seen great contributions from lesser-known players. Senior Martavious Irving has seriously upped his scoring from last year and Thomas Gipson has improved off his solid freshman campaign. Overall the Wildcats have a very balanced offense, featuring 8 players who averaged 5.5 points or higher per game. The team is also shooting an astounding 36 percent from beyond the 3point arc as well.
This week, K-State squares off against Alabama Huntsville, tonight on ESPN2 at 10PM and takes on North Florida on Sunday, November 18. If all goes to plan, the Wildcats will most likely be in the number 3 slot come Week 2.
No. 2- Baylor Bears
Last Week: 2-0 (Lehigh, Jackson State)
The Baylor Bears opened their season just like they were expected to, easily handling two mid-major opponents. The team opened up their 2012-2013 campaign with 99-77 victory over Lehigh on Friday night and then defeated 78-47 Jackson State 78-47 on Sunday. Through their first two contests, the Bears are averaging 88.5 points per contest, and it’s largely do to a very balanced, lethal scoring attack led by a three headed monster of 20-point scorers. Freshman center Isaiah Austin has yet to be stopped, as he is averaging 22 points per contest, junior forward Cory Jefferson is putting up a very solid 20 points, 10 rebounds a night and over course Pierre Jackson is scoring and distributing, with 19.5 points and 9.5 assists a game. If Baylor’s front court remains dominant, to go along with Jackson’s superb talent, this team could definitely improve on their No. 16 ranking in the nation.
This week, the Bears have a big match-up against Boston College on a neutral site, on Thursday. While playing on ESPNU, the Bears can use the national spotlight to send a message to other teams in the country, particularly Kansas, if they can take care of business they way the have started their season so far.
No. 1- Kansas Jayhawks
Last Week: 1-0 (SE Missouri St)
In the Kansas Jayhawks’s opening season win, the Big 12 conference favorite took care of business, Friday night, beating the Southeastern Missouri State Redhawks 74-55. In the team’s season opening game, the Jayhawks out-muscled the Redhawks in all aspects of the game. They won the rebounding battle 49-32, had 10 team blocks and forced 12 turnovers. Jeff Withey led the charge, as head coach Bill Self needed him to, with 17 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks. With eyes all on him, the senior stepped up and proved he can be the leader this team needs him to be. Freshmen Ben McLemore and Perry Ellis also delivered debut performances that have Jayhawk nation very optimistic for the future. With a solid opening victory under their belts, there’s no reason to drop the Jayhawks from the top spot.
This week, Kansas, of course plays a tough No .14 Spartans team that was upset on opening night and are out for vengeance. And, on Thursday, November 15, the Jayhawks will play host to the 1-0 Chattanooga Mocs who just beat up a Tennessee Temple team last night.