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Big 12 Power Rankings: This league is too good to have a 'worst' team

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Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) maneuvers for a shot against TCU forward Vladimir Brodziansky (10) during the first half on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) maneuvers for a shot against TCU forward Vladimir Brodziansky (10) during the first half on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The selection committee is not going to invite all 10 Big 12 teams to the NCAA Tournament.

Still, the more we see from these teams in conference play the more it appears every roster in the league would be capable of winning at least a “First Four” or first-round matchup in The Big Dance. There truly aren’t any weaklings or feeble opponents in the Big 12.

While Iowa State is in 10th place in the standings, it’s hard to label the Cyclones as the conference’s worst team. ISU already has defeated Texas Tech, West Virginia and Oklahoma in Hilton Coliseum. And perennial league champion Kansas could be next (Tuesday at 6 p.m., ESPN2).

Is Texas the worst team? The Longhorns own wins over the first-place Red Raiders and OU.

It can’t be Oklahoma State. The Cowboys over the course of the past two weeks won on the road in Lawrence and Morgantown, W.Va.

At this point it’s easier to pick a best team than a worst one in this loaded conference.

KU coach Bill Self stated this past week — before the Jayhawks lost by 16 at Baylor, a team that seemed in the mix for the “worst” label as recently as seven days ago — the Big 12 is surpassing the lofty expectations he had for it going into conference play.

“Whenever the leaders in the league have as many losses as what this league has, sometimes it gives the appearance of mediocrity. But that’s not true at all. It’s just that everybody here can play,” Self said.

“I’ve never seen a league this deep,” the 15th-year KU coach added. “We may have 10 teams that are as good as any league’s best 10 teams have — and they may have 14 or 15 teams in their league.”

No favored team is safe, regardless of venue, this year in the Big 12. It’s kind of a shame we won’t get to see all 10 programs take a crack at the madness of March.


Big 12 standings (6 games remaining)

Texas Tech, 9-3

Kansas, 8-4

West Virginia, 7-5

Kansas State, 6-6

Oklahoma, 6-6

TCU, 5-7

Baylor, 5-7

Oklahoma State, 5-7

Texas, 5-7

Iowa State, 4-8


Here’s a look at this week’s Big 12 Power Rankings. Each team’s best victories and its losses — good, bad and in between — are considered in this process, using KenPom.com’s ratings to classify the league’s most and least impressive squads to date. Results from all league games also are listed.

Big 12 Power Rankings — Feb. 12, 2018

No. 1 - Texas Tech (21-4)

Kenpom ranking: No. 8

Average point differential in Big 12 play: +6.0

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 19 Nevada (OT), No. 34 Baylor, at No. 14 Kansas, No. 56 Kansas State, No. 16 West Virginia, No. 66 Oklahoma State, No. 44 Texas (OT), at No. 22 TCU, No. 91 Iowa State, at No. 56 Kansas State

Losses: No. 35 Seton Hall, at No. 31 Oklahoma, at No. 44 Texas, at No. 91 Iowa State

No. 2 - Kansas (19-6)

Kenpom ranking: No. 14

Average point differential in Big 12 play: +0.6

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 33 Kentucky, No. 46 Syracuse, at No. 44 Texas, at No. 22 TCU, No. 91 Iowa State, No. 56 Kansas State, at No. 16 West Virginia, No. 34 Baylor, No. 21 Texas A&M, at No. 56 Kansas State, No. 22 TCU

Losses: No. 98 Washington, No. 32 Arizona State, No. 8 Texas Tech, at No. 31 Oklahoma, No. 66 Oklahoma State, at No. 34 Baylor

No. 3 - West Virginia (18-7)

Kenpom ranking: No. 16

Average point differential in Big 12 play: +5.9

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 38 Missouri, No. 1 Virginia, at No. 66 Oklahoma State, at No. 56 Kansas State, No. 31 Oklahoma, No. 44 Texas, No. 56 Kansas State, at No. 31 Oklahoma,

Losses: No. 21 Texas A&M, at No. 8 Texas Tech, No. 14 Kansas, at No. 22 TCU, No. 33 Kentucky, at No. 91 Iowa State, No. 66 Oklahoma State

No. 4 - Oklahoma (16-8)

Kenpom ranking: No. 31

Average point differential in Big 12 play: -0.4

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 47 USC, at No. 18 Wichita State, at No. 22 TCU, No. 66 Oklahoma State, No. 8 Texas Tech, No. 22 TCU (OT), No. 14 Kansas, No. 34 Baylor

Losses: No. 45 Arkansas, at No. 16 West Virginia, at No. 56 Kansas State, at No. 66 Oklahoma State (OT), at No. 43 Alabama, at No. 44 Texas, No. 16 West Virginia, at No. 91 Iowa State

No. 5 - TCU (17-8)

Kenpom ranking: No. 22

Average point differential in Big 12 play: +2.4

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 19 Nevada, at No. 34 Baylor (OT), No. 91 Iowa State, No. 16 West Virginia, at No. 66 Oklahoma State, No. 44 Texas

Losses: No. 31 Oklahoma, No. 14 Kansas, at No. 44 Texas (2OT), at No. 31 Oklahoma (OT), at No. 56 Kansas State, at No. 87 Vanderbilt, No. 8 Texas Tech, at No. 14 Kansas

No. 6 - Oklahoma State (15-10)

Kenpom ranking: No. 66

Average point differential in Big 12 play: -4.6

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 25 Florida State, No. 91 Iowa State (OT), No. 44 Texas, No. 31 Oklahoma (OT), at No. 14 Kansas, at No. 16 West Virginia

Losses: No. 21 Texas A&M, No. 18 Wichita State, No. 16 West Virginia, No. 31 Oklahoma, at No. 56 Kansas State, at No. 34 Baylor, at No. 8 Texas Tech, at No. 45 Arkansas, No. 22 TCU, No. 34 Baylor

No. 7 - Kansas State (17-8)

Kenpom ranking: No. 56

Average point differential in Big 12 play: -3.6

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: at No. 91 Iowa State, No. 66 Oklahoma State, No. 31 Oklahoma, No. 22 TCU, at No. 44 Texas

Losses: No. 32 Arizona State, No. 119 Tulsa, No. 16 West Virginia, at No. 8 Texas Tech, at No. 14 Kansas, No. 14 Kansas, at No. 16 West Virginia, No. 8 Texas Tech

No. 8 - Baylor (15-10)

Kenpom ranking: No. 34

Average point differential in Big 12 play: +1.2

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 23 Creighton, No. 44 Texas, No. 66 Oklahoma State, No. 91 Iowa State, at No. 66 Oklahoma State, No. 14 Kansas

Losses: at No. 13 Xavier, No. 18 Wichita State, at No. 8 Texas Tech, No. 22 TCU (OT), at No. 16 West Virginia, at No. 91 Iowa State, at No. 14 Kansas, No. 56 Kansas State, at No. 38 Florida, at No. 31 Oklahoma

No. 9 - Texas (15-10)

Kenpom ranking: No. 44

Average point differential in Big 12 play: -3.1

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 20 Butler, at No. 91 Iowa State (OT), No. 22 TCU (2OT), No. 8 Texas Tech, No. 91 Iowa State, No. 31 Oklahoma

Losses: No. 5 Duke (OT), No. 7 Gonzaga (OT), No. 27 Michigan, No. 14 Kansas, at No. 34 Baylor, at No. 66 Oklahoma State, at No. 16 West Virginia, at No. 8 Texas Tech (OT), No. 56 Kansas State, at No. 22 TCU

No. 10 - Iowa State (13-11)

Kenpom ranking: No. 91

Average point differential in Big 12 play: -4.4

Top-50 & Big 12 wins: No. 34 Baylor, No. 8 Texas Tech, No. 16 West Virginia, No. 31 Oklahoma

Losses: at No. 38 Missouri, No. 211 Milwaukee, No. 56 Kansas State, No. 44 Texas (OT), at No. 66 Oklahoma State (OT), at No. 14 Kansas, at No. 22 TCU, at No. 44 Texas, No. 12 Tennessee, at No. 34 Baylor, at No. 8 Texas Tech


Previous rankings:

Comments

Dirk Medema 1 week, 1 day ago

The conference comment would have more credibility if we hadn't lost to the SEC.

Len Shaffer 1 week, 1 day ago

That's an utterly ridiculous comment, Dirk. The challenge features ONE game for each team; that's not even CLOSE to enough of a sample size to prove anything. And even if WERE somewhat valid, it's not like the SEC won 8 of the 10 games; they were 6-4.

A more valid criticism would be that the conference has consistently been cited as being one of the best, yet it has consistently flamed out in March, but even that criticism is not really legitimate because it has nothing to do with this year's teams and the tournament is such a crap shoot.

The best way to determine the best conference is by comparing non-conference records, and by that standard the Big XII is clearly the best conference this season. Let's just hope it plays out that way this time in the Madness.

Dirk Medema 1 week, 1 day ago

I'd suggest decaf.

Note that I didn't say it was utterly ridiculous or anything extreme like that. I didn't even say that it is wrong just that it would be more credible. More credible. It undeniably is one data point and that data point is counter to the hypothesis proposed.

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