College Basketball Week 4: Big 12 Power Rankings
How Significant Was Baylor's Win Over No. 8 Kentucky?
Unlike previous weeks, the Big 12 Power Rankings look almost exactly the same this week as they did when we last ranked the teams in this conference. With most teams going undefeated in Week 4, only one team made any significant move in the standings.
This season, the Big 12 conference again looks like a powerhouse in the nation and well on its way to sending send multiple teams to the Big Dance in March. Of course, Kansas will most likely find itself listed in the Associated Press weekly, but now the likes of Kansas State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are definitely primed to give the conference’s powerhouse a run for their money.
The league added two teams to the conference this season, in West Virginia, and TCU, who have started off their respective residences in the Big 12 a little differently. One team has found success early on, while the other finds themselves stuck at the bottom of the Big 12 food chain.
With plenty more basketball to be played and just a few weeks to go before conference play opens up, expect some more action in the power rankings come Week 5. But for now, let’s enjoy what was a wild Week 4 in Big 12 basketball, including a big upset that might not be considered that big anymore.
In the following slides, we’ll recap each Big 12 team’s successes and failures this week 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- West Virginia Mountaineers
Last Week: 1-0 (Virginia Military)
When we last left the West Virginia Mountaineers, we were wondering if they could discover a more efficient offensive game plan against Virginia Military. Well, after earning a 94-69 victory over VMI, the Mountaineers looked to have found just that. As a team, WVU Shot 45.1 percent from the field and drained 81 percent from the line. Seven players wearing Navy and Yellow scored in double figures as well for head coach Bob Huggins and, their offense was so dominant, the Mountaineers even held a 30-point lead at one point in the contest. Now, we have to see if this team can continue this in the weeks to come.
Next week, West Virginia will take on Marshall on Wednesday and Virginia Tech on Saturday.
No. 9- Texas Longhorns
Last Week: 2-0 (Sam Houston State, Texas-Arlington)
After starting off the season at a very rocky 3-2, the Texas Longhorns earned themselves two wins this week that were necessary to start building momentum for the rest of the season. They beat Sam Houston State 65-37 and then defeated Texas-Arlington 70-54. Both wins significantly helped this team move past not having Myck Kabango thus far this season, who's still declared ineligible. Head coach Rick Barnes really needs Sheldon McClellan, averaging 17.0 points per game, and Julien Lewis, averaging 12.0 points per game, to continue their scoring prowess.
No. 8- Iowa State Cyclones
Last Week: 1-0 (BYU)
The Iowa State Cyclones came back from rough back-to-back losses to No. 22 Cincinnati and No. 18 UNLV, and handily beat a strong BYU team 83-62 at home this week. In the contest, the Cylcones shot the ball exceptionally, knocking down 48.3 percent of their attempts from the field, 31.8 percent from three, 80 percent the line. Will Clyborn is continuing to step in where Royce White left off last season at 17.3 points per game, and put up 32 in this one. This team is definitely building something special but isn’t totally quite there yet.
No. 7- TCU Horned Frogs
Last Week: 1-0 (Southern Utah)
The TCU Horned Frogs continued their winning ways with a solid 61-52 home victory over Southern Utah last Thursday. The team kept moving forward in their Big 12 debut season even without Amric Fields, with Kyan Anderson putting up 13.1 points per night and Garlon Green has continued to contribute with 8.5 points and 5.4 boards of his own per game. They’ve been the biggest surprise of the conference this season and are knocking on the door of the Top-5.
Next week, TCU will play Houston on Tuesday and travel to Tulsa on Saturday.
No. 6- Texas Tech Red Raiders
Last Week: 0-1 ()
In Texas Tech’s first loss of the season, No. 9 Arizona thwarted the Red Raiders’ high-octane and dominant offense for the first time this season. The Wildcats dropped Tech 85-57, as the red and black struggled offensively, something they hadn't done all season. In this contest, the Red Raiders shot the ball at 34.9 percent from the field, 28.6 percent from beyond the arc and 58.3 percent from the line-- all nowhere near their season averages. But, Texas Tech also struggled immensely on defense. In the team’s four wins this season, they've yielded 68.3 points per game. They gave up a whopping 85 points to Zona. Tech must start defending better if their offense might not be there every night.
Next week, the Red Raiders will face Northern Kentucky and will probably look to score over 100 points.
No. 5- Oklahoma State Cowboys
Last Week: 0-1 (Virginia Tech)
After starting off the season red-hot and earning a No. 15 ranking in the AP, the Oklahoma State Cowboys had a minor setback this week with their 10-point loss to Virginia Tech. In fairness to the Cowboys, the Hokies are starting off the season on fire, with a 7-0 record, but this still should have been a victory for the road team. At one point in the contest, the visiting Cowboys held an 8-point lead, but they couldn’t hit an outside shot for their life. Oklahoma State shot 4-23 (17.4 percent) from beyond the arc and gave up a ton of second-chacne points on 10 offensive rebounds. Traveling a long distance may have affected this team as well.
Next week, the Cowboys take on South Florida on Wednesday and Missouri State on Saturday.
No. 4- Oklahoma Sooners
Last Week: 2-0 (Oral Roberts, Northwestern State)
During the week, the Oklahoma Sooners secured two necessary wins. They weren’t must win games, but they were games the Sooners could not afford to lose. Now, after fostering a three-game win streak, by using a very balanced scoring attack, Oklahoma has two tough close wins over Oral Roberts, 63-62, and Northwestern State, 69-65, and discovered some crunch time poise.
Next week, the Sooners will face a challenge playing at Arkansas on Tuesday.
No. 3 Baylor Bears
Last Week: 0-1 (Charleston)
This week, the Baylor Bears were by far the biggest story of the Big 12. After being upset by the College of Charleston the last time they were in action, the Bears, led by Pierre Jackson, stomped all over the former No. 8 Kentucky Wildcats 64-55 in Rupp-Arena, which ended their 55-game win streak at home. Now, Kentucky isn’t even ranked and it most likely hints to Baylor’s big win than the Wildcat's big loss. With Jackson and Cory Jefferson leading a young and talented group, the Bears look poised to make a run back at the AP Top-25.
Next week, Baylor will welcome the Big Ten’s own, Northwestern.
No. 2- Kansas State Wildcats
Last Week: 1-0 (UC Upstate)
This week, the Kansas State Wildcats turned things right back around this week, following their heart-crushing loss to No. 4 Michigan in the NIT Season Tip-Off with a solid win over UC Upstate. The Wildcats thrashed their visitors 72-53 and look to continue down the path of their winning ways in the week ahead.
Next week, the Wildcats will travel to the nation’s capital to take on George Washington.
No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks
Last Week: 1-0 (St. Louis and San Jose State)
The Jayhawks secured a very nice 84-78 victory over the visiting Oregon State Beavers on Friday night to reamain unbeaten at home on the season. Entering 2012-2013, we knew what Jeff Withey, Travis Releford and Elijah Johnson would bring to the table, and the only question mark was just how good Ben McLemore would actually be. The redshirt freshman has been just as advertised leading the team in scoring at 14.9 and put up a huge game against Oregon State with 21 points. With four significant players lighting it up offensively, it’s no wonder Kansas is now No. 9 in the nation.
Next week. The Jayhawks will welcome Colorado to the Allen Fieldhouse.