Kansas has come to life in the New Year with four consecutive conference wins, two of them on the road, and the Jayhawks (13-4, 4-0) have jumped three spots to takeover the top spot in this week’s men’s basketball power rankings. The past seven days have been a disaster for Iowa State and Baylor.
Iowa State has lost its last three games (to Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas) and Baylor dropped both of its games last week, first in embarrassing fashion at Texas Tech and again on Saturday at home to Oklahoma. Where that leaves Baylor, ranked 12th in the country at the beginning of last week, is in ninth place in the Big 12 with a 1-3 record and another tough game coming up Monday night at Kansas.
Iowa State was 14-0 and ranked ninth in the country a week ago Saturday. Since, then, however, the Cyclones have driven off the cliff. As a result, the Cyclones fell from first place all the way down to sixth in this week Big 12 Power Rankings. Baylor fell the same number of spots. The Bears were second, behind Iowa State, in the Week 11 power poll. They are still one behind the Cyclones, but in seventh place this week.
Kansas State has won four of five in Big 12 play, but the Wildcats, second in this week’s power rankings, will be seriously tested this week. They will be at Texas on Tuesday, and on Ssturday they go to Ames, Iowa, where Iowa State will be well rested and ready. The Cyclones do not play a mid-week game this week, which could spell extra trouble for K-State, having to play away from home twice this week.
Here are some fun facts you might have missed from last Saturday’s conferenc games:
- Iowa State’s George Niang had his third-straight game on Saturday scoring in double figures with 18 points, including a career-high four three-point field goals.
- Beating eighth-ranked Iowa State was the first time in three years that Texas has defeated a team in the top 10.
- Texas ended the first half against Iowa State on Saturday on a 16-7 run aided by 12 Cyclones’ turnovers.
- Oklahoma’s Cameron Clark, who a week ago led the Big 12 in scoring, was one-for-16 shooting in his previous one-and-a-half games before hitting five of his nine second-half shots against Iowa State to finish with 14 points.
- Kansas State is now 25-1 under head coach Bruce Weber when scoring 70 or more points, and they are 10-0 this season when that happens.
- The Wildcats shot a season-best 54 percent from the field in their 78-56 win over West Virginia on Saturday.
- TCU missed 18 of its first 19 shots in the game at Texas Tech on Saturday, including two dunk attempts. Despite shooting just 21 percent in the first 20 minutes, the Horned Frogs still led at halftime 24-23 thanks to a 14-0 run right before the half. Texas Tech came back in the second half, however, and won the game 60-49.
- Before Saturday, Baylor had won 31 of its last 32 games when leading at halftime. The Bears led Oklahoma 30-24 at the break on Saturday.
- Saturday’s Baylor-Oklahoma game was the 50th basketball game all-time between the two schools and the first time that both teams have been ranked in the top 25 when they played. Oklahoma leads the all-time series 39-11.
Big 12 Men’s Basketball Week 12 Power Rankings
(Last week’s ranking in parentheses)
- Kansas Jayhawks (3) – After the Baylor game on Monday night, the Jayhawks will have played five of the top six teams in the conference in their first five games.
- Kansas State Wildcats (6) – The Wildcats have feasted on the league’s less-talented teams (save for Oklahoma State), but they have their work cut out for them this week with road trips to Texas and Iowa State.
- Oklahoma State Cowboys (4) – The Cowboys get a break in the schedule this week, but have to go to Norman, Okla., for “Big Monday” next week.
- Oklahoma Sooners (5) – OU has huge road wins at Baylor and Texas. If they can learn to play better defense, they should be in good shape for an NCAA Tournament bid.
- Texas Longhorns (7) – The Longhorns are young, but they can be very scary when they are firing on all cylinders, as they were Saturday against Iowa State.
- Iowa State Cyclones (1) – The Cyclones get some welcome rest this week before hosting K-State in Ames on Saturday
- Baylor Bears (2) – If two straight league losses isn’t hard enough to bare, now the reeling Bears have to go to Kansas to try to get their game back on track.
- Texas Tech Red Raiders (9) – Red Raiders are riding a two-game winning streak, which only three other Big 12 teams can say right now.
- West Virginia Mountaineers (8) – Loss at K-State was the Mountaineers’ first on the road in three games; they have yet to win at home in Big 12 play, however.
- TCU Horned Frogs (10) – Things don’t get any easier for the Horned Frogs, who are winless in the Big 12 heading to Oklahoma on Wednesday and then back home to host Kansas on Saturday.