Iowa State fell back to the rest of the pack with a loss at Oklahoma on Saturday, but the Cyclones remain the team to beat in our Week 11 Big 12 Basketball power poll. That may all change after Monday night, though, as the Cyclones go up against nine-time defending conference champion Kansas (11-4, 2-0).
The Jayhawks are fresh off of an 86-60 torching of Kansas State, but Hilton Coliseum in Ames has not been particularly kind to the visiting Jayhawks down through the years. And this year’s Iowa State may be the Cyclones’ strongest teams since the 1999-2000 team led by Big 12 Player of the Year Marcus Fizer.
With the strength of the teams and the parity that exists in Big 12 men’s basketball this season, I would be very surprised to see any one team run away with the conference race. More likely, we are going to witness everybody beating up on each other from week to week, producing an ultimate outcome in which only the strongest will survive. It should be a fight to the finish, with as many as three or four teams in it right to the end.
Big 12 men’s basketball has clearly positioned itself this season as one of the top two power conferences in all of college basketball along with the Big Ten. Seven Big 12 teams have a winning percentage of .733 or better in 2013-14, only one of three conferences that can make that claim. The big 12 had an overall winning percentage of .797 in nonconference play, the highest of any conference in the country.
Four conference teams are ranked in the top 25 this week, and five have been ranked in the top 25 in the last week. Baylor, Iowa State and Kansas have been in the top-25 national rankings all season. Oklahoma and Kansas State switched places at No. 25 this week, the first time in the national rankings this season for both teams.
Big 12 Basketball Week 11 Power Rankings
- Iowa State Cyclones – Monday’s game with Kansas will be the Cyclones’ toughest test this season. DeAndre Kane’s availability for ISU will be a major factor.
- Baylor Bears – Baylor will have a tune-up at Texas Tech before hosting surprising Oklahoma on Saturday.
- Kansas Jayhawks – The Jayhawks are gaining in confidence, and that’s not good news for the rest of the league
- Oklahoma State Cowboys – As good as the talent is on this team, it has underachieved on the road this this season. And the toughest road contests are still ahead.
- Oklahoma Sooners – The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Sooners, who have road games at Kansas State and Baylor this week.
- Kansas State Wildcats – K-State was flat as a pancake on Saturday at Kansas, but the Cats are a scrappy, gutsy team that plays good defense. And they are very difficult to beat at the Octagon of Doom.
- Texas Longhorns – Longhorns have a killer schedule upcoming with games against Iowa State, Baylor, Kansas State and Kansas following road trip to West Wirginia.
- West Virginia Mountaineers – Bob Huggins’ team may be in lower tier of conference power standings, but it is 2-1 through first three league games, with only loss a heartbreaking one-point defeat to Oklahoma State.
- Texas Tech Red Raiders - Still winless in the conference with 12th-ranked Baylor coming in on Wednesday.
- TCU Horned Frogs – The Horned Frogs don’t shoot well, don’t rebound well and their defense is very spotty. They do shoot free throws fairly well, but they don’t get to the line enough for that to matter.