College Baksetball

Big 12 Power Rankings

With the first week of conference play in the rearview mirror, it’s time to take a look at the Big 12 Power Rankings. Here is a look at where each Big 12 basketball stands at the moment:

Kendall Brown drives to the basketball for the Baylor Bears. Emil Lippe / ASSOCIATED PRESS

1. Baylor Bears

Very few college basketball fans expected the Baylor Bears to have as much success as they have had this season. Following a season that saw coach Scott Drew lead the Bears to their first-ever National Championship title, the Bears lost several key pieces. Without Davion Mitchell, Jared Butler, Macio Teague, and Mark Vital on the roster this year, the Bears have relied on their depth. The Bears have 4 players who average at least 11 points per game, and 9 players who play at least 10 minutes per game.

2. Kansas Jayhawks

After losing to Dayton in late November, the Jayhawks went on a tear. Their 8 game winning streak came to a halt on Saturday though as Texas Tech was able to hold them off. The Jayhawks have been led by the prolific scoring of Ochai Abaji and Christian Braun. The duo has averaged 37 points per game this year. Another key addition to the Jayhawks’ team this year has been transfer, Remy Martin. The point guard from Arizona State hasn’t lived up to his Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year hype, but he still provides the veteran leadership that head coach Bill Self loves at point guard.

3. Texas Tech Red Raiders

The Red Raiders had some questions coming into their 2021-22 season. After being presented with an opportunity to return to his alma mater, Chris Beard decided to accept and become the head coach of the Texas Longhorns. Also, the Red Raiders have been without star player Terrance Shannon Jr. due to questions around his eligibility. Despite these circumstances, and without Kevin McCullar available, the Red Raiders still knocked off the Jayhawks Saturday in Lubbock. A lot of credit for the Red Raiders’ success is due to the coaching of Mark Adams.

4. Texas Longhorns

Even though the Longhorns suffered a setback Saturday with a loss against Oklahoma State in Stillwater, they still remain as one of the most complete teams in college basketball. With 10 players consistently in the rotation, Texas has a good mix of size, speed, and shooting. One of the stars this year for the Longhorns is transfer Timmy Allen. Allen is averaging 11.9 points and 6.9 rebounds on the year. His play has the Longhorns sitting near the top of the Big 12 Power Rankings.

5. Oklahoma Sooners

Despite being picked to finish 7th in the Big 12, the Sooners have put together a good start to their season. Oklahoma has started Big 12 play 2-1, including a 79-66 win over Iowa State on Saturday. Porter Moser has employed the same style of coaching he used at Loyola Chicago at Oklahoma. Big man transfer Tanner Groves has been the star of the Sooners’ team, averaging 14.3 points and 6 rebounds per game.

6. West Virginia Mountaineers

The Mountaineers are once again one of the toughest outings in college basketball. While they may not use their press as often as in years past, the Mountaineers are still coached tough and play the same way. Led by guard Taz Sherman, West Virginia has found a way to win games in all kinds of fashion. The Mountaineers were able to beat Kansas State on Saturday after trailing in the game by 17 points at one point.

7. Iowa State Cyclones

After a perfect start in non-conference play, the Cyclones have stumbled out of the gate in conference play. The Cyclones began the year 12-0, with two of their wins coming against top 25 teams. With the Big 12 being one of the most top to bottom stacked conferences in the nation, the Cyclones have lost 2 of their last 3 games. Led by Penn State transfer Izaiah Brockington, The Cyclones have surprised the rest of the Big 12 with their great play.

8. TCU Horned Frogs

TCU may be the most difficult Big 12 team to judge. The Horned Frogs started out their season with a loss to Santa Clara. They then proceeded to win 7 games in a row. TCU had to cancel/postpone their next two games due to Covid problems within the team. After returning from their temporary pause, TCU proceeded to lead Baylor by as many as 9 points in the second half of their game Saturday. TCU is led by sophomore guard Mike Miles who averages 17.7 points and 4.6 assists per game.

9. Oklahoma State Cowboys

Head Coach Mike Boynton knew before the season started that his team was facing unprecedented circumstances. Oklahoma State has been banned for the 2022 postseason due to a player receiving improper benefits. Despite this, Boynton is determined to not have this year be a complete loss. The struggling Cowboys found a way to pull off a huge win against the Texas Longhorns. Senior guard Isaac Likekele leads the Cowboys in few offensive categories, but his leadership and defense are what make him so valuable.

10. Kansas State Wildcats

The story of this season for the Wildcats has been closing out games. 3 of the losses on the year have been by a single possession. Kansas State had to play with 7 players earlier this week against Texas, and played with 8 against West Virginia. Head Coach Bruce Weber has also been out due to Covid for the past two games. The Wildcats will look to bounce back against TCU this week. Although sophomore guard Nigel Pack was expected to have a big season, transfer Mark Smith has been a pleasant surprise for Kansas State. Smith leads the Big 12 in rebounds per game with 8.4, and is also averaging 10.6 points per game.

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