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Big 12 Power Rankings: Jayhawks emerge as league's most consistent team

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Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) cuts to the bucket between Baylor forward Tristan Clark (25) and Baylor guard Jake Lindsey (3) during the second half, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) cuts to the bucket between Baylor forward Tristan Clark (25) and Baylor guard Jake Lindsey (3) during the second half, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

The way Kansas basketball coach Bill Self looks at it, the Big 12 schedule is so demanding that losses — even consecutive defeats — almost feel inevitable this season.

“If you stop and think about it, our league, anybody could lose two games any week. We all know that. The league’s so good,” Self said.

That statement may prove true before the regular season concludes. But as of now, a few weeks into January, Self’s Jayhawks have yet to suffer two losses — let alone back-to-back defeats — in league play. It’s that consistency that has set KU apart, making the albeit flawed Jayhawks clearly the best the Big 12 has to offer.

For arguably the first time this season, Kansas (16-3 overall, 6-1 Big 12) looks to be in better shape than any of the challengers to its throne.

To Self’s point, a pair of top contenders lost twice this past week, aiding KU’s ascent to the top of our Big 12 Power Rankings. Texas Tech dropped both of its road games, at Texas and Iowa State. Oklahoma, too, went 0-2 on the road, falling at Kansas State and Oklahoma State.

While West Virginia has looked more consistent then Tech or OU, even the Mountaineers lost two straight earlier this month, falling at Texas Tech and at home to Kansas.

A record-breaking 14th consecutive conference title appears more attainable for KU now than it did a week or two ago. And the deeper we get into the season, the more it seems like Kansas will again head into the NCAA Tournament as the league’s most likely representative in the Final Four.

Here’s how the 10 Big 12 programs stack up so far, in terms of résumés.

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.

Big 12 Power Rankings — Jan. 22, 2018

No. 1 - Kansas (16-3)

Kenpom ranking: No. 10

Average point differential in Big 12 play: +1.7

Top-50 wins: No. 33 Kentucky, at No. 25 TCU, at No. 43 Texas, No. 49 Syracuse, No. 37 Kansas State, at No. 9 West Virginia, No. 39 Baylor

Losses: No. 99 Washington, No. 26 Arizona State, No. 12 Texas Tech

No. 2 - West Virginia (16-3)

Kenpom ranking: No. 9

Average point differential in Big 12 play: +8.4

Top-50 wins: No. 35 Missouri, No. 3 Virginia, at No. 37 Kansas State, No. 19 Oklahoma, No. 39 Baylor, No. 43 Texas

Losses: No. 29 Texas A&M, at No. 12 Texas Tech, No. 10 Kansas

No. 3 - Oklahoma (14-4)

Kenpom ranking: No. 19

Average point differential in Big 12 play: +0.4

Top-50 wins: No. 45 USC, at No. 21 Wichita State, at No. 25 TCU, No. 12 Texas Tech, No. 25 TCU (OT)

Losses: No. 44 Arkansas, at No. 9 West Virginia, at No. 37 Kansas State, at No. 66 Oklahoma State (OT)

No. 4 - Texas Tech (15-4)

Kenpom ranking: No. 12

Average point differential in Big 12 play: +2.3

Top-50 wins: No. 18 Nevada (OT), No. 39 Baylor, at No. 10 Kansas, No. 37 Kansas State, No. 9 West Virginia

Losses: No. 40 Seton Hall, at No. 19 Oklahoma, at No. 43 Texas, at No. 94 Iowa State

No. 5 - TCU (14-5)

Kenpom ranking: No. 25

Average point differential in Big 12 play: +1.4

Top-50 wins: No. 32 SMU, No. 18 Nevada, at No. 39 Baylor (OT)

Losses: No. 19 Oklahoma, No. 10 Kansas, at No. 43 Texas (2OT), at No. 19 Oklahoma (OT), at No. 37 Kansas State

No. 6 - Kansas State (14-5)

Kenpom ranking: No. 37

Top-50 wins: No. 19 Oklahoma, No. 25 TCU

Average point differential in Big 12 play: +2.6

Losses: No. 26 Arizona State, No. 131 Tulsa, No. 9 West Virginia, at No. 12 Texas Tech, at No. 10 Kansas

No. 7 - Baylor (12-7)

Kenpom ranking: No. 39

Average point differential in Big 12 play: -2.6

Top-50 wins: No. 23 Creighton, No. 43 Texas

Losses: at No. 15 Xavier, No. 21 Wichita State, at No. 12 Texas Tech, No. 25 TCU (OT), at No. 9 West Virginia, at No. 94 Iowa State, at No. 10 Kansas

No. 8 - Oklahoma State (13-6)

Kenpom ranking: No. 66

Average point differential in Big 12 play: -4.9

Top-50 wins: No. 24 Florida State, No. 43 Texas, No. 19 Oklahoma (OT)

Losses: No. 29 Texas A&M, No. 21 Wichita State, No. 9 West Virginia, No. 19 Oklahoma, at No. 37 Kansas State, at No. 39 Baylor

No. 9 - Texas (12-7)

Kenpom ranking: No. 43

Average point differential in Big 12 play: -5.3

Top-50 wins: No. 36 Butler, No. 25 TCU (2OT), No. 12 Texas Tech

Losses: No. 4 Duke (OT), No. 7 Gonzaga (OT), No. 27 Michigan, No. 10 Kansas, at No. 39 Baylor, at No. 66 Oklahoma State, at No. 9 West Virginia

No. 10 - Iowa State (11-7)

Kenpom ranking: No. 94

Average point differential in Big 12 play: -4.1

Top-50 wins: No. 39 Baylor, No. 12 Texas Tech

Losses: at No. 35 Missouri, No. 232 Milwaukee, No. 37 Kansas State, No. 43 Texas (OT), at No. 66 Oklahoma State (OT), at No. 10 Kansas, at No. 25 TCU


Previous rankings:

Comments

Phil Leister 7 months ago

Then vs Than. Come on Benton!

Sorry, that error is my biggest pet peeve.

Kent Richardson 7 months ago

Player power rankings: Only ones I really believe in, so far!

Trae Young: Emperor has shed some clothes so stay tuned.

DeVonte Graham: And still getting better.

Jevon Carter: His consistent three ball this year and reliable lock down.

Dean Wade: What a step up this native Kansan has taken.

Kenrich Williams: Has clutch game, savvy and what a great rebounder for any size let alone a 6'7" guard.

The rest are pick who you want for that week.

There are some freshmen who we are going to be sick of watching for three or four years like Zhaire Smith, Cartier Diarra and Brady Manek for instance.

Who are your power picks?

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