Not that long ago, Iowa State stood at 14-0 and was one of five teams nationally that were unbeaten in the 2013-14 season. Then the Cyclones suffered their first defeat of the season at Oklahoma, and followed that up with back-to-back losses to Kansas and Texas. Since then, however, Iowa State has won four of five games and is currently on a three-game win streak after hammering TCU 84-69 on Saturday.
Oklahoma State was once 4-2 and now is mired in a four-game losing streak that has dropped the Cowboys two games below .500. After Saturday’s night’s game with Texas Tech, OSU lost its floor leader, Marcus Smart, for three games due to a suspension issued by the Big 12 office for going into the stands at the end of the game at Texas Tech and shoving a fan. This week the Cowboys take their four-game skid to No. 15 Texas on Tuesday this week and then return home to battle No. 21 Oklahoma, on Saturday, and without the services of their best player. Times are not real good right now in Stillwater as the Big 12 preseason co-favorites face real problems.
The craziness in the Big 12 this season has extended throughout the league. The Baylor Bears were projected to finish third this season, and they have lost seven of their last eight games. West Virginia won its first two conference games, then lost three in a row. Before losing to Kansas on Saturday, the mountain men had won three straight, including back-to-back wins over Kansas State and Oklahoma. The Mountaineers are currently at 6-5 in the league and in sole possession of sixth place, and the drama continues as they host No. 16 Iowa State on Monday.
Texas Tech lost its first three conference games, then won two, lost three and the Red Raiders have won their last two to raise their league record to 4-6, one more conference game than they won all of last season.
Texas handed Kansas a giant whipping at Texas a week ago, claiming its sixth consecutive league win, and the Longhorns suffered the same level of humilation they dished out to the Jayhawks this past weekend at Kansas State.
That’s the way the ball has been bouncing this season in the upside-down world of Big 12 basketball.
Big 12 Men’s Basketball Week 15 Power Rankings
(Last week’s rankings in parentheses)
- Kansas Jayhawks (1) - A Jayhawk loss at Manhattan on Monday would throw throw the conference race into a dogfight.
- Iowa State Cyclones (4) - The Cyclones hit the road to Morgantown, where West Virginia has won three straight.
- Oklahoma Sooners (3) - Good news for the Sooners is that they won’t have to travel more than 550 miles from home the rest of the regular season. OU traveled overt 2,000 miles trying to get to West Virginia last week during a major snow storm and got to the arena just 90 minutes before tip off.
- Texas Longhorns (2) - Looked like the Longhorns of the last couple of years on Saturday and not the team that had mowed down seven straight conference opponents before losing big at Kansas State.
- West Virginia Mountaineers (6) - A win over Iowa State would give the Mountaineers victories over three ranked teams this season.
- Kansas State Wildcats (7) - Wins this week over Kansas and on the road at Baylor will boost the Wildcats up the power ladder.
- Oklahoma State Cowboys (5) – As if things aren’t bad enough for the Cowboys, with four straight losses, they now have to play their next three games without their best player.
- Baylor Bears (8) – With a 2-8 record in the Big 12, time has all but run out on Baylor’s NCAA Tournament hopes unless the Bears get it together somehow and win the postseason conference tournament.
- Texas Tech Red Raiders (9) – Rough week ahead for the Red Raiders, winners of two straight. They go to third-place Oklahoma on Wednesday and to Iowa State on Saturday.
- TCU Horned Frogs (10) – TCU, at home for three of its next five games, is still looking for its first league win. Two of the three home dates are against teams with losing records in the conference. That’s the good news. The bad news is the two teams with losing records are Baylor and Oklahoma State, hardly pushovers.