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Big 12 Rankings: Week 7

Tamin+Lipsey+Dribbles+around+TCU+player+at+the+ISU+vs.+TCU+game+at+Hilton+Coliseum+February+10%2C+2024
Sam Petri
Tamin Lipsey Dribbles around TCU player at the ISU vs. TCU game at Hilton Coliseum February 10, 2024

Team of the week

Christian Royston: Iowa State

After dropping down to No. 14, Iowa State more than earned a top-10 ranking this week. The Cyclones snapped an eight-game losing streak on the road against Texas and swept TCU in the season series.

Two wins in a week is impressive as it is, but sweeping a Big 12 team is difficult, especially since TCU is not a bottom team in the conference. The Horned Frogs are a tough team to beat, which was clear Saturday, but Iowa State got the job done.

Not only did Iowa State get two wins, it proved that it could compete and finish tough, grindy games. Since every game in the Big 12 could end up being a tough obstacle, proving that they can come out of a battle of attrition with a win is something to be proud of for the Cyclones.

Along with the ability to close, Iowa State’s defense is looking the best it’s looked all season. The combination of their offensive output and defensive pressure with the recent success late in games makes the Cyclones a tough team to beat.

Logan Shanks: Oklahoma 

I think this was a big week for the Sooners, who before picking up a pair of wins against BYU and Oklahoma State sat at 4-5 in conference play. Oklahoma needed to put together a pair of good games, especially against one of the weaker teams in the Big 12 to set them apart.

Even though the Sooners had the benefit of playing both their games at home this week, a pair of solid second halves showed that they can put their opponents away. Against the Cougars, Oklahoma outscored BYU 48-32 in the final 20 minutes, and against the in-state rival Cowboys, the Sooners shot 47% from the field to close out a close contest. 

These victories got Oklahoma back in the top-25, and I think they are starting to look more like the team that was 12-1 entering Big 12 play. While they may get humbled this week in a road challenge against No. 12 Baylor or when No. 6 Kansas comes to town, I think this Sooners’ squad is figuring out ways to win and would not be surprised if they pull out an upset or two this week. 

Rankings

Royston

  1. Houston (21-3, 8-3)
  2. Kansas (19-5, 7-4)
  3. Iowa State (18-5, 7-3)
  4. Baylor (17-6, 6-4)
  5. BYU (17-6, 5-5)
  6. Oklahoma (18-6, 6-5)
  7. Texas Tech (17-6, 6-4)
  8. Cincinnati (15-8, 4-6)
  9. Texas (16-8, 5-6)
  10. Kansas State (15-9, 5-6)
  11. TCU (16-7, 5-5)
  12. UCF (13-9, 4-6)
  13. Oklahoma State (10-14, 2-9)
  14. West Virginia (8-15, 3-7)

Shanks

  1. Houston (21-3, 8-3)
  2. Kansas (19-5, 7-4)
  3. Baylor (17-6, 6-4)
  4. Iowa State (18-5, 7-3)
  5. Texas Tech (17-6, 6-4)
  6. Oklahoma (18-6, 6-5)
  7. BYU (17-6, 5-5)
  8. Texas (16-8, 5-6)
  9. TCU (16-7, 5-5)
  10. Cincinnati (15-8, 4-6)
  11. Kansas State (15-9, 5-6)
  12. UCF (13-9, 4-6)
  13. West Virginia (8-15, 3-7)
  14. Oklahoma State (10-14, 2-9)

Ranking highlights

Royston

The top of the rankings has not changed much for me. All four teams at the top have proven they can beat each other and lose to each other. I think the AP rankings did a great job in placing the teams, as they all have arguments at being in any spot.

A pair of teams surprised me this week. Oklahoma was surprisingly good, sneaking into the rankings after a perfect week with a big win over BYU. Texas Tech on the other hand has been struggling as it dropped another game, this time to Baylor, and not beating UCF by that much at home. That is why I moved Oklahoma up and dropped Texas Tech a bit.

One team I am still pretty high on is Cincinnati. The Bearcats split another week but also proved they can compete with any team in the Big 12. Playing Houston to the buzzer is more than enough to earn my eight-spot.

The two teams that have hung on to their rankings through the entire Big 12 season have been West Virginia and Oklahoma State. This week, I decided to make the switch. Oklahoma State is still losing, but the games have been closer. On the other hand, West Virginia has been getting blown out in nearly every game. Still having less than 10 wins is more than enough to earn West Virginia the bottom spot in the conference.

Shanks

Unlike the latest AP rankings, I refrained from putting Iowa State too high in my rankings. While it picked up a pair of wins this week, one of which was on the road, Texas and TCU are not exactly in the upper echelon of teams in the Big 12. Although they had their respective defensive and offensive lapse in each game, the Cyclones ultimately got the job done, which is all you can ask for.

Despite a loss on the road to Kansas State, who had been on a four-game losing streak, Kansas rebounded with a dominant defensive performance back at home against Baylor where it forced 21 turnovers. I’ve still got my eye on the Jayhawks, as they still haven’t looked like their typical dominant selves, but I can’t convince myself that they deserve to go below Baylor or Iowa State.

I think the top four are cemented. Those are the true contenders for the Big 12 title, and I don’t see them going anywhere. Really, the only other teams I believe in as contenders are Texas Tech, BYU and Oklahoma. Even then, I think the top of the conference is too strong and when tournament time comes, that will be apparent.

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