Monday, January 16, 2012
Conference Power Rankings: Big 12
By By Jason King
As we get ready for Monday's showdown in Lawrence between Baylor and Kansas, here are this week’s Big 12 power rankings:
1. Baylor: The Bears aren’t just talented. They’re tough. Three of Baylor’s last six wins have come by two points. Freshman Quincy Miller is beginning to find his groove for a team that scored 106 points in Saturday’s win over Oklahoma State. Monday’s matchup with Kansas at the Phog may be the most anticipated game of the Big 12 season.
2. Kansas: Tyshawn Taylor scored 28 points in Saturday’s come-from-behind victory against Iowa State at Allen Fieldhouse, where Kansas has won 84 of its past 85 games. As good as Taylor and forward Thomas Robinson have been, the Jayhawks won’t beat Baylor unless complementary players such as Travis Releford, Jeff Withey and Elijah Johnson step up.
3. Missouri: Frank Haith has to be proud of his Tigers for the way they’ve bounced back from a Jan. 7 shellacking by Kansas State. Missouri beat Iowa State on the road last week before walloping Texas in Columbia on Saturday. Mizzou’s lack of size could be a factor against Baylor in Waco on Saturday.
4. Iowa State: The Cyclones lost to two of the Big 12’s top teams (Missouri and Kansas) last week, but they didn’t look all that bad in the process. The Missouri game wasn’t decided until the final few minutes, and Iowa State led Kansas by as many as 12 points. ISU should be favored in its next three games (against Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Texas).
5. Oklahoma: Lon Kruger’s team pulled a mild upset Saturday when it defeated Kansas State 82-73 in Norman. The Sooners dominated the game from start to finish. Oklahoma is just 1-3 in the Big 12, but its next two games are against bottom-tier teams Texas Tech (at home on Tuesday) and Texas A&M (Saturday in College Station).
6. Kansas State: The Wildcats dropped three spots in the rankings following a home loss to Baylor and a road setback against Oklahoma. Still, no one would be surprised if Kansas State finishes third or fourth in the league -- especially if Rodney McGruder continues to perform at such a high clip. McGruder is averaging 23.3 points in his past three games.
7. Texas: J'Covan Brown scored 34 points in Saturday’s loss at Missouri. The Longhorns were never really in the game. When six of your top eight players are freshmen, every game is going to be a struggle. Myck Kabongo had 12 points and 10 assists, which is encouraging heading into this week’s games against K-State and Kansas.
8. Texas A&M: The Aggies ended a three-game skid by defeating Texas Tech on Saturday in College Station. Monday’s game against Missouri in Columbia, however, could get ugly for an A&M squad that struggles to score. Forward Khris Middleton averages 13.2 points but only shoots 40 percent from the field.
9. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys gave up 106 points against Baylor on Saturday. It’ll be interesting to see if Travis Ford’s squad will show any lingering effects of the lopsided loss when it takes the court Wednesday against Iowa State in Ames. There are seven games remaining against unranked teams.
10. Texas Tech: Billy Gillispie lost to his former boss (Kansas’ Bill Self) and former school (Texas A&M) in the same week. Texas Tech’s best opportunity for a Big 12 win may be Jan. 31 against Oklahoma State in Lubbock.