Conference Power Rankings: Big 12

January, 9, 2012
After an eventful week in the Big 12, here are my latest power rankings:
  1. Baylor: At 15-0, the Bears are one of just three remaining undefeated teams in the country. But just how much longer will the streak last? Scott Drew’s squad will face its toughest test to date when it enters Kansas State’s Bramlage Coliseum Tuesday night. Freshman Quincy Miller has scored in double figures in four of his last five games.
  2. Kansas: Thomas Robinson is the Jayhawks’ best player, but the biggest story in Lawrence lately has been Travis Releford. The junior small forward scored a career-high 16 points in Wednesday’s win over Kansas State before erupting for 28 points in Saturday’s road victory over Oklahoma.
  3. Kansas State: The Wildcats bounced back from an 18-point loss to Kansas by thumping previously-unbeaten Missouri Saturday in Manhattan. Rodney McGruder has been solid all season, but he took his game to a different level in a 20-point effort against the Tigers, when he was in attack mode from start to finish.
  4. Missouri : Frank Haith’s squad got exposed a bit in Saturday’s 75-59 loss at Kansas State. The undersized Tigers shot a season-low 32 percent from the field and were outscored 42-16 in the paint. Missouri’s lack of size could also be a factor in games against Big 12 title contenders Baylor and Kansas. Winning at Iowa State Wednesday won’t be easy.
  5. Iowa State: Saturday’s 74-50 victory at Texas A&M marked the seventh straight win for the Cyclones, who may be starting to figure everything out. Royce White had a triple-double (10 points, 18 rebounds, 10 assists) against the Aggies. He’ll have to continue to play well if Iowa State has hopes of beating either of its next two opponents (Missouri and Kansas).
  6. Oklahoma: The Sooners lost their first two Big 12 games by an average of 24.5 points, but no one expected Lon Kruger’s squad to beat Missouri or Kansas. Leading scorer Steven Pledger combined to make just seven of his 22 field goal attempts in those contests. Oklahoma is better than Oklahoma State, but Monday’s game against the Cowboys is on the road. Saturday’s home game against Kansas State should be a good one.
  7. Texas: The Longhorns have made the NCAA tournament in each of Rick Barnes’ 13 seasons, but that streak could be in jeopardy this year. Texas dropped its Big 12 opener at Iowa State before bouncing back with a home win over lowly Oklahoma State. After Wednesday’s game against Texas A&M, the Longhorns hit the road for back-to-back games at Missouri and Kansas State. Uh-oh.
  8. Texas A&M: What in tarnation is wrong with the Aggies? Losing to Iowa State at home is bad enough, but falling by 24 points is inexcusable. Khris Middleton is shooting just 38 percent from the field and 23 percent from 3-point range. Texas A&M is the Big 12’s most disappointing team.
  9. Oklahoma State: Give the Cowboys credit for beating Texas Tech in Wednesday’s Big 12 opener just days after third-leading scorer J.P. Olukemi was lost for the season with an ACL injury. Still, this is an incredibly thin team (in terms of numbers) that will struggle to win more than four or five conference games. The Cowboys’ shot selection must improve. They’re making just 41 percent of their field goal attempts.
  10. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders are obviously getting better. They trailed unbeaten Baylor by just one point at halftime in Lubbock Saturday but floundered after intermission. Kansas comes to town Wednesday, but the most anticipated game on the schedule occurs Saturday, when Billy Gillispie returns to Texas A&M to face his former school.



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