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Big 12 Rankings: Week 6

Iowa+State+point+guard+Curtis+Jones+makes+a+free+throw+during+the+Iowa+State+vs.+Kansas+conference+game+on+Jan.+27%2C+2024+in+Hilton+Coliseum.
Joseph Dicklin
Iowa State point guard Curtis Jones makes a free throw during the Iowa State vs. Kansas conference game on Jan. 27, 2024 in Hilton Coliseum.

Team of the week

Christian Royston: Kansas

Kansas had the bounceback week of a lifetime after getting embarrassed in Ames by Iowa State.

The Jayhawks entered the week barely clinging onto a top-10 ranking and had Houston looming in the weekend matchup. However, Kansas made quick work of Oklahoma State first with a near 30-point win, putting up over 80 points.

Kansas then hosted a then-No. 4 Houston team that was rolling through conference opponents. From the jump, it was clear that Kansas was the true No. 1 team in the Big 12.

Proving themselves as the best team in the nation’s best basketball conference by taking down a top-five team by double-digit points is more than enough to give the Jayhawks the edge for team of the week.

Logan Shanks: Baylor

There weren’t many teams that went undefeated this week in the Big 12, but Baylor was one that did and in impressive fashion.

It looked like they were starting to trickle down as one of the bottom teams in the Big 12 when the Bears were on a three-game losing streak. But in a road contest with UCF, Baylor broke the game open with a 45-point second half to put its losing ways aside and end its midseason skid.

Although it came down to the final minutes, the Bears’ win against Iowa State again showed that this is a team with a lot of fight in them.

It would’ve been really easy for Baylor to just roll over and accept another loss considering Iowa State at one point went on a 20-0 run after the Bears head coach Scott Drew was ejected with over 10 minutes left to play. They rallied together as a team, despite some unfriendly calls throughout the game, and grabbed a second straight win after losing their last three.

Baylor gets a lot of respect from me this week, and it has a chance to do so again with a pair of ranked matchups ahead of it.

Rankings

Royston

  1. Kansas (18-4, 6-3)
  2. Houston (19-3, 6-3)
  3. Baylor (16-5, 5-3)
  4. Iowa State (16-5, 5-3)
  5. BYU (16-5, 4-4)
  6. Texas Tech (16-5, 5-3)
  7. Texas (15-7, 4-5)
  8. TCU (16-6, 5-4)
  9. Oklahoma (16-6, 4-5)
  10. Cincinnati (15-7, 4-5)
  11. Kansas State (14-8, 4-5)
  12. UCF (13-8, 4-5)
  13. West Virginia (8-14, 3-6)
  14. Oklahoma State (10-12, 2-7)

Shanks

  1. Kansas (18-4, 6-3)
  2. Houston (19-3, 6-3)
  3. Baylor (16-5, 5-3)
  4. Iowa State (16-5, 5-3)
  5. Texas Tech (16-5, 5-3)
  6. BYU (16-5, 4-4)
  7. TCU (16-6, 5-4)
  8. Oklahoma (16-6, 4-5)
  9. Texas (15-7, 4-5)
  10. Cincinnati (15-7, 4-5)
  11. UCF (13-8, 4-5)
  12. Kansas State (14-8, 4-5)
  13. West Virginia (8-14, 3-6)
  14. Oklahoma State (10-12, 2-7)

Ranking highlights

Royston

There were a pair of key matchups over the weekend that decided the order of the top five this week. With Kansas taking down Houston and Baylor taking down Iowa State, it makes sense that the top five landed the way it did.

BYU is a team that I have sneaking into the fifth spot because of its consistent play. The Cougars have been taking care of business against most teams in the Big 12 while still being competitive against the big dogs. The only loss that was somewhat concerning was BYU’s first game of the Big 12 season, where it fell at home to Cincinnati.

One team I did not drop as much as I probably should have was Texas Tech. A two-loss week is concerning for a team that was atop the conference a week ago. However, I still think Texas Tech has a solid team and will turn things around in the near future to stay competitive in the conference.

A team I was surprised about this week was Texas, who has an important matchup coming up against Iowa State. The Longhorns brought Houston to overtime before falling by one possession and made quick work of TCU on the road. If Texas keeps up its hot streak, it could prove why it should not be counted yet, despite a poorer than usual start to conference play.

Lastly, I want to talk about Kansas State. It appears that Iowa State broke the Wildcats as they continue to spiral. Jerome Tang has lost control of a team that had a lot of potential early in the season. Kansas State is on a four-game losing streak starting at Hilton and most recently lost to Oklahoma State, which has looked like the worst team in the Big 12. If this keeps up, the Wildcats could find themselves near the bottom of the Big 12 after starting 4-1.

Shanks

If anything, this week has made me look forward to March 9 as that will be the next time we see Houston host Kansas for what should be another big-time conference game.

Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, they will have to play the Cougars on the road, and attempt to repeat the stomping they handed them Saturday. Either way, both teams have cemented themselves as top dogs in the Big 12.

Each week I look more and more like a fool for having Kansas State at the No. 2 spot in my weekly rankings. The Wildcats have now lost four straight, most recently in a late second-half fumble against Oklahoma State. Honestly, the team just looks defeated when they are on the court and have not looked the same since their collapse against Iowa State.

A team I am keeping my eye on is BYU. The newly added Big 12 team is on a two-game win streak, and has kept it close with some of the better teams in the conference in seven-point losses to Houston and Texas Tech. The Cougars may not crack my top four anytime this season, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if their high-scoring offense and solid defense gets them far in the conference tournament.

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