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Big 12 Power Rankings: Week Four

Down goes number one! Close calls and a Big Monday Upset highlighted week four. In all five Big 12 contest, every matchup was decided by ten points or less.

The biggest game of the week had to be the Big Monday showdown between No. 1 Oklahoma and -No. 19 Iowa State. Sunday night, Oklahoma was unanimously named number by the Coach’s Poll and AP Poll for the first time since 1989. Iowa State, on the other hand, needed a marque Big 12 victory after a poor loss to Texas and bounce back win at Kansas State.

The game lived up to the hype as both teams played excellent, but it was the Cyclones that pulled off the 82-77 upset over the No. 1 Sooners.

  1. Kansas Jayhawks (14-2) (4-1): Following a disastrous loss to West Virginia in Morgantown, the Jayhawks regrouped and picked up a rugged win over TCU at home, 70-63. Kansas used their depth against the Horned Frogs as five Jayhawks scored in double figures. The bench provided a huge spark for Kansas as Carlton Bragg Jr. and Cheick Diallo came up huge against TCU. Bragg Jr. poured in 10 points-four rebounds and Diallo was a defensive force tallying nine points-nine boards-and a team-high five stuffs. Game Notes: Kansas struggled mightily behind the arc shooting just 25% and free throw shooting was much better as the Jayhawks just connected on 68% from the charity stripe. Next Up: @Oklahoma State Cowboys.
  1. West Virginia Mountaineers (14-2) (4-1): Following the Mountaineers first victory over a Number-One ranked team in Kansas; West Virginia’s encore game was a 70-68 loss to the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman. The Mountaineers stifled the Sooners offense playing excellent pressure defense forcing 18 turnovers. Where West Virginia struggled was in the scoring department particularly from beyond the arc and in free throws. The Mountaineers converted just five threes and only made 13 free throws, both those stats lead to West Virginia falling a bit short to, the now, No. 1 team in the land, Oklahoma. Game Notes: West Virginia’s starting five didn’t get it done offensively which left the door open for the Mountaineers bench to contribute; they did in a big way on the road. The Mountaineers were lead by Jaysean Paige who poured in 18 points-four boards-three assists and Elijah Macon who was solid contributing nine points and four boards in the loss. Next Up: V. Texas Longhorns.
  1. Baylor Bears (14-3) (4-1): Four straight wins for the Bears, this one a tight call, 63-60 over the Texas Tech Raiders in Lubbock. Baylor shot 50% from the field and were led by guard Al Freeman and forward Terry Matson. Freeman hit two big three and finished the night with 14 points and a board where Matson hit six shots, good for 12 points along with four rebounds in the win. The Bears defense was lockdown as they held Tech to just 42% shooting overall. Baylor’s Achilles heel lied in their turnovers and inability to properly defend. The Bears committed 19 personal fouls along with 14 turnovers keeping Tech afloat. Game Notes: Three point shooting became the difference in this game and Baylor shot excellent from beyond the arc going 5-11 for 45%. Tech, on the other hand, shot poorly converting just 5-18 for 27%. Next Up: V. Kansas State Wildcats.
  1. Oklahoma Sooners (15-2) (4-2): The No. 1 tag came and went quickly for Oklahoma, as they were defeated 82-77 to the Iowa State Cyclones in Ames Monday night. The biggest reason for the loss was the sudden disappearance of two key Sooners: guard Jordan Woodard and forward Ryan Spangler. Woodard couldn’t find the range going 2-8 shooting for just five points and Spangler had his worst game of the season thus far shooting 1-7 for only two points. It was up to guards Buddy Hield and Isaiah Cousins to step up and the came up huge, as Hield poured in 27 points, six rebounds and four assists while Cousins tallied 26 points, seven boards and four assists in the loss. Game Notes: Player To Watch: Dante Buford. Buford came off the bench and impacted the game early and often finishing with 14 points and a board. Next Up: @ No. 13 Baylor Bears
  1. Texas Longhorns (11-6) (3-2): Back to back wins for the Longhorns, the first being an upset over Iowa State, 94-91 in OT; the latest, being a 74-69 win over Oklahoma State at home. The Longhorns have really upper their defensive intensity holding the Cowboys just 37% shooting for the game. Texas was led by their savvy guard, Isaiah Taylor who did it all for Texas with 18 points-four rebounds-two assist-and a steal. Plus, the pairing of the freshman duo of Eric Davis Jr. (12 points-five rebounds) and Kerwin Roach Jr. (11 points-three rebounds) off the bench. Game Notes: Every Longhorn had a finger print in the victory as every Texas player scored in the game. In addition, the Longhorns interior was resilient posting five blocks. Next Up: @ No. 6 West Virginia Mountaineers
  1. Iowa State Cyclones (13-4) (3-3): Well Iowa State needed a marque Big 12 win and got it upsetting the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners, 82-77 in front of a rowdy Hilton Coliseum home crowd. Three Cyclones scored 20+ points in Georges Niang, Monte Morris and Abdel Nader. Within all the stat lines, the unsung heroes for Iowa State were Monte Morris and Jameel McKay for what they did defensively against Oklahoma. Morris held Sooner Stud Jordan Woodard to just five points and McKay held Sooner big man Ryan Spangler to just two points off 1-7 shooting. That in itself, will win you big games; that’s what the Cyclones achieved defeating the Sooners on Big Monday. Game Notes: Iowa State played their assignments out-rebounding Oklahoma by 11 and clamped down defensively holding the Sooners to just 42% shooting for the game. Next Up: @ TCU Horned Frogs
  1. Texas Tech Red Raiders (12-5) (2-4): What a way to start the week, The Red Raiders snapped a four-game losing streak besting the TCU Horned Frogs, 76-69 in Fort Worth. Tech’s bench was the difference as their bench contributed 46 of the 76 total points scored Monday Night. The negative to this is the Red Raiders need for more offensive firepower from their starting five rotation. Game Notes: Just two Tech starters scored in double figures Aaron Ross- (16 points) and Justin Gray (14 points) in the victory. That’s something to be watched moving forward for Tech: scoring, scoring and more scoring going into a tough matchup at home against a Top 10 team in West Virginia. Next Up: V. No. 6 West Virginia Mountaineers
  1. Kansas State Wildcats (11-6) (1-4): Since the start of Big 12 Play, Kansas State has clamped down defensively, the struggled have come on the offensive end hindering the Wildcats to another 76-63 defeat to the Iowa State Cyclones at home. Beyond Justin Edwards and Wesley Iwundu, this Wildcat roster lacks the offensive “punch” to win a lot of Big 12 games. The biggest hurdle Kansas State faces is themselves, as they need “the other guys” to step up offensively. Players such as, D.J. Johnson, Dean Wade and Kamau Stokes can be great if they can shot better and improve their offensive shot selection. Game Notes: Due to the inability to score, the Wildcats defense has experienced laps. Specifically in this game, the Kansas State defense struggled to contain Monte Morris and Georges Niang getting penetration early and often on the Wildcat’s defense. This has to be improved moving forward if you’re Kansas State. Next Up: @ No. 13 Baylor Bears
  1. Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-8) (1-4): Two close losses have pushed the Cowboys behind the eight ball in Big 12 play. Oklahoma State fell short losing 74-69 to the Texas Longhorns in Austin. The loss of Phil Forte has been significant for the Cowboys as their biggest deficiency has been findings players who score the rock. Oklahoma State has a rising star in guar Jawun Evans, but after that there are nothing but question marks. Game Notes: Sophomore guard Tavarius Shine “shined” in his minutes posting quite the state line: 14 points, a steal, a board and an assist in 20 minutes. Don’t be surprised if he is paired up alongside Evans for offensive purposes moving forward. Next Up: V. No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks
  1. TCU Horned Frogs (9-8) (1-5): TCU is a young team that is still learning how to close out games, thus the (1-5) conference record. All five of their losses have been t10 points or less. This loss was at the hands of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, 76-69 at home. The Horned Frogs have one of the best defenses in the conference but lack the team experience to close out games, thus the five losses. In this game, guard Chauncey Collins and forward Vladimir Brodziansky were magnificent. Collins, a sophomore from Oklahoma City, OK, power-housed the Red Raiders with 19 points, five rebounds and two assists. Brodziansky, a sophomore Prievidza, Slovakia, was beast with 18 points and six rebounds in the defeat. Game Notes: Besides Collins and Brodziansky, no other Horned Frog scored in double figures, this could spell trouble as TCU’s schedule doesn’t get any easier as two of their next five opponents rank in the Top 25. Next Up: V. No. 19 Iowa State Cyclones.