Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 4

Jordan+Ashton+shoots+the+ball+against+Kansas+State+on+Jan.+16%2C+2016+at+the+Bramlage+Coliseum+in+Manhattan%2C+Kan.+Ashton+earned+his+first+significant+minutes+of+the+season+Saturday+after+ISU+coach+Steve+Prohm+announced+that+Hallice+Cooke+would+face+a+one-game+suspension+for+a+violation+of+team+rules.

Jordan Ashton shoots the ball against Kansas State on Jan. 16, 2016 at the Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kan. Ashton earned his first significant minutes of the season Saturday after ISU coach Steve Prohm announced that Hallice Cooke would face a one-game suspension for a violation of team rules.

Chris Wolff

The Big 12 is shaping up to be the bloodbath we all expected it to be this year, with six teams all within one game of the top spot currently.

Oklahoma, Kansas and other prime contenders have shown their vulnerabilities, while teams like Iowa State and Texas have rebounded from slow starts and begun to pick up steam.

There is plenty of room for disagreement among the top six teams because everyone has beat up on everyone. So, like it or not, here are our power rankings for this week. (Side note: The Daily will release its power rankings on Wednesdays from now on. Releasing the rankings on Monday afternoons, when AP poll rankings come out and ahead of Big Monday matchups was foolish. Our bad.)

1. No. 1 Oklahoma (17-2, 6-2 Big 12)  

The Sooners have dropped two games this season, on the road at Kansas and at Iowa State. Hilton Coliseum and Allen Fieldhouse are the two toughest places to play in the Big 12, and arguably in the nation. Those losses aren’t even close to “bad losses” and they’ve held serve on their home court, bringing them in at No. 1 in the country and on our power rankings.

2. No. 14 Iowa State (16-4, 5-3 Big 12)

The Cyclones stumbled out of the gates and went 1-3 to kick off the Big 12 schedule, but have downed No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 4 Kansas since then. It’s safe to say the Cyclones are playing how everyone expected them to earlier in the season. When they play like they’ve been playing the last few weeks, they can run with anybody in the country. 

3. No. 9 West Virginia (17-3, 6-2 Big 12)

This will get evened out soon enough when West Virginia and Iowa State meet next weekend, but for right now Iowa State’s wins against Kansas and Oklahoma put it just ahead of West Virginia, which has also downed Kansas. Interestingly enough, both teams have lost to Texas this year, but the Cyclones’ win against Oklahoma puts them one spot higher than the Mountaineers.  

4. No. 4 Kansas (16-4, 5-3 Big 12)

The Jayhawks streak of Big 12 regular season titles is in serious jeopardy this year with all of the contenders at the top of the conference. Kansas has lost three of its last five games, all on the road. It’ll need to work out its road kinks and find a consistent 5-man to climb back up the rankings.

5. No. 17 Baylor (15-3, 5-2 Big 12) 

Baylor is a tough read at this point, with its two losses coming to Oklahoma and Kansas, when those teams were No. 1 and No. 2 in the nation, respectively. Baylor has beaten Iowa State at Hilton, but outside of that, the Bears have mostly beaten up on Big 12 bottom-feeders. You have to play the schedule you’re given, but Baylor stays here until the Bears prove themselves against some of the teams ranked above them. 

6. Texas (13-7, 5-3 Big 12)

Texas is a real head-scratcher, with four non-conference losses and losses to TCU and Texas Tech, but the Longhorns have also beat Iowa State and West Virginia. Shaka Smart seems to have the Longhorns figuring things out now, but they’ll stay here until they can show some kind of consistency. 

7. Oklahoma State (10-9, 2-5 Big 12)

The bottom of the Big 12 is tough, and really any teams from this point on are pretty interchangeable. The Cowboys do have a marquee win against Kansas, and only lost to Oklahoma by 2, so they get the nod here as the best of the worst.

8. Kansas State (12-8, 2-6 Big 12)

Kansas State and Texas Tech are pretty much dead even in my opinion, and you could really make a case for either one to be ahead of the other. Does it really matter who is eighth and who is ninth, though? I’ll give Kansas State the edge here, because they have the head-to-head advantage.

9. Texas Tech (12-7, 2-6 Big 12)

The Red Raiders have shown flashes of improvement this season, and the program seems to be trending upward for Tubby Smith, but its hard to get much traction in a league as stacked as the Big 12.

10. TCU (9-11, 1-7 Big 12)

TCU picked up its lone conference win against Texas early on in the Big 12 season, but its been rough sledding since then and it doesn’t get any easer for the Horned Frogs. After the SEC challenge, TCU gets Oklahoma and Kansas back-to-back next week.