Big 12 Power Rankings: Which teams appear best suited for March's madness?
Thanks to Oklahoma freshman Trae Young’s somewhat unexpected sensational play and hot starts for both West Virginia and Texas Tech, the rest of the college basketball world has been forced to pay attention to Big 12 teams not named Kansas this season.
The conference appears in great shape as of early January, with five programs currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 and seven teams in position to land NCAA Tournament invites.
These developments — as well as the ongoing waiting game KU is going through regarding the eligibility of freshmen Billy Preston and Silvio De Sousa — have made the Jayhawks’ chances of winning their 14th consecutive Big 12 title appear anything but concrete.
While the regular-season championship is one intriguing plot, so is the potential for numerous Big 12 teams to make serious March Madness runs toward the Final Four, in San Antonio.
It’s that big-picture, end-of-the-season, how-many-nets-can-you-cut-down potential that we hope to examine by checking out the résumés of the league’s 10 teams in the first installment of Big 12 Power Rankings.
Each team’s best victories and its losses — good, bad and in between — were considered, using KenPom.com’s ratings, to classify the league’s most and least impressive squads to date.
With so many quality lineups in the conference this season, the rankings are bound to fluctuate between now and the Big Dance. We will monitor it all each week in order to attempt to have a better grasp come March on which teams are best qualified to survive the coming madness.
Big 12 Power Rankings — Jan. 9, 2018
No. 1 - West Virginia (14-1)
Kenpom ranking: No. 10
Top-50 wins: No. 44 Missouri, No. 3 Virginia, at No. 43 Kansas State, No. 13 Oklahoma
Loss: No. 26 Texas A&M
No. 2 - Texas Tech (14-1)
Kenpom ranking: No. 4
Top-50 wins: No. 31 Nevada (OT), No. 36 Baylor, at No. 7 Kansas, No. 43 Kansas State
Loss: No. 18 Seton Hall
No. 3 - Oklahoma (12-2)
Kenpom ranking: No. 13
Top-50 wins: No. 47 USC, at No. 11 Wichita State, at No. 23 TCU
Losses: No. 29 Arkansas, at No. 10 West Virginia
No. 4 - Kansas (12-3)
Kenpom ranking: No. 7
Top-50 wins: No. 22 Kentucky, at No. 23 TCU, at No. 37 Texas, No. 50 Syracuse
Losses: No. 109 Washington, No. 20 Arizona State, No. 4 Texas Tech
No. 5 - TCU (13-2)
Kenpom ranking: No. 23
Top-50 wins: No. 34 SMU, No. 31 Nevada, at No. 36 Baylor (OT)
Losses: No. 13 Oklahoma, No. 7 Kansas
No. 6 - Baylor (11-4)
Kenpom ranking: No. 36
Top-50 wins: No. 19 Creighton, No. 37 Texas
Losses: at No. 21 Xavier, No. 11 Wichita State, at No. 4 Texas Tech, No. 23 TCU (OT)
No. 7 - Texas (10-5)
Kenpom ranking: No. 37
Top-50 win: No. 38 Butler
Losses: No. 6 Duke (OT), No. 9 Gonzaga (OT), No. 32 Michigan, No. 7 Kansas
No. 8 - Oklahoma State (11-4)
Kenpom ranking: No. 55
Top-50 wins: No. 24 Florida State
Losses: No. 26 Texas A&M, No. 11 Wichita State, No. 10 West Virginia, No. 13 Oklahoma
No. 9 - Kansas State (11-4)
Kenpom ranking: No. 43
Top-50 wins: N/A [Best win = at No. 84 Vanderbilt]
Losses: No. 20 Arizona State, No. 121 Tulsa, No. 10 West Virginia, at No. 4 Texas Tech
No. 10 - Iowa State (9-5)
Kenpom ranking: No. 104
Top-50 wins: N/A [Best win = No. 54 Boise State]
Losses: at No. 44 Missouri, No. 200 Milwaukee, No. 43 Kansas State, No. 37 Texas (OT), at No. 55 Oklahoma State (OT)