Monday, February 27, 2012
Conference Power Rankings: Big 12
By Jason King
If I believed in ties, I’d rank Missouri alongside Kansas in this week’s Big 12 Power Rankings. But I don’t, so Kansas gets the nod after clinching at least a share of its eighth straight conference title in Saturday’s 87-86 overtime victory against the Tigers.
Kansas:Thomas Robinson (national player of the year) and Bill Self (national coach of the year) both enhanced their chances of some lofty postseason honors in Saturday’s win over Missouri. Robinson finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds. Self coached his team back from a 19-point deficit in the second half.
Missouri: It was hard not to be equally impressed with the Tigers on Saturday. Their performance in what was easily the loudest environment they’ll ever encounter was stunning. I don't care that they ended up on the losing end. This is a Final Four candidate. Period.
Baylor: Monday is senior night at the Ferrell Center for Quincy Acy and Anthony Jones. But could it also be the final home game for sophomore Perry Jones III and freshman Quincy Miller, both of whom are projected as lottery picks in this summer’s NBA draft?
Iowa State: Assuming they lose at Missouri on Wednesday, a victory over Baylor on Saturday would place the Cyclones in a tie with the Bears for third place in the Big 12 standings. That’d be quite a feat for a team that finished just 3-13 in league play a season ago.
Kansas State: The Wildcats are one of the toughest teams in the country to figure out. Seriously, how do you beat Missouri on the road one night then lose at home to Iowa State three days later? Frank Martin’s team needs to beat either Texas A&M (Tuesday in College Station) or Oklahoma State (Saturday in Manhattan, Kan.) to feel rock-solid about its NCAA tournament hopes.
Texas: The Longhorns needed overtime to defeat Texas Tech in Lubbock Saturday. That’s a reason for concern. Wednesday’s home game against Oklahoma is huge in terms of earning an NCAA tournament bid. A victory would ensure at least a .500 record in Big 12 play.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys would be ranked ahead of Texas -- a team they beat -- if not for a recent hand injury to LeBryan Nash that will likely sideline the freshman for the remainder of the season. Monday’s home game against Kansas will be tough with Nash out. And winning in Manhattan on Saturday won’t be easy, either.
Texas A&M: The Aggies played Kansas tough on Wednesday before getting drilled by 18 points at Oklahoma State over the weekend. It’s unfortunate that injuries and off-court distractions ruined Billy Kennedy’s first season in College Station. He’s done the best he could with the hand he was dealt.
Oklahoma: The Sooners certainly aren’t giving in. They snapped a six-game losing streak by defeating Oklahoma State on Wednesday before giving Baylor all it could handle in a 70-60 defeat in Waco on Saturday. Oklahoma led that game at intermission.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders end their miserable regular season against a pair of ranked teams in Baylor and Missouri. Don’t be surprised if Texas Tech is the Big 12’s most improved team next season, although Texas will certainly be in the mix for that accolade as well.