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Big 12 Power Rankings Week 3: A New Number One

10. Oklahoma (6-9, 0-4) [no change]

Seven straight losses have hit Oklahoma hard. They let a halftime lead against Kansas slip away, and have generally struggled in conference play. This young team has shown a lot of potential hanging with every team they’ve gone up against, for the most part. The negative side is that in this conference things don’t just magically get any easier. They’ll figure out how to grab a win sometime, but it’s going to be rough sledding for the Sooners.

NEXT GAME: 1/14 vs. Texas Tech

9. Texas (7-9, 1-3) [no change]

Texas is thought of as one of the conference’s biggest disappointments. They show signs of promise, but have also displayed issues with scoring the basketball, most recently posting just 61 points in their loss at TCU. Their struggles, much like Oklahoma’s, show no real signs of slowing down given the ferocity of the Big 12. Coach Smart has the right foundation in place for his program, but their time isn’t now. The remainder of this year could be fairly rough.

NEXT GAME: 1/14 vs. West Virginia

8. Oklahoma State (10-6, 0-4) [no change]

Oklahoma State started out great in non-conference play, but they haven’t tasted success in the Big 12 yet under first year coach Brad Underwood. The system that Underwood runs is similar to that of Huggins at West Virginia. It takes time for those systems to take root and succeed on a deep level. OSU has the tools this season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they got a decent amount of wins in conference, they just haven’t hit their stride yet. We’ll have to wait and see with the Cowboys.

NEXT GAME: 1/14 @ Kansas

7. TCU (13-3, 2-2) [no change]

The Horned Frogs are easily the biggest surprise in the conference this season, and with every win they pull in, I see more potential. Their chance at a tournament birth is becoming more and more real. They have the opportunity to do something that hasn’t been done in Fort Worth in quite some time, but they need to continue getting wins against strong opponents to improve their resume. This can continue with a win against Iowa State on Saturday.

NEXT GAME: 1/14 vs. Iowa State

6. Kansas State (13-3, 2-2) [-3]

I continually see potential with this Kansas State team, yet they haven’t found a way to win close games, referee mishap or not. Against Texas Tech, they had multiple opportunities to put the Red Raiders away, and couldn’t keep their foot on the gas. I expect them to give everything they have for a potential statement win against Baylor on Saturday. That game will be one to watch considering Baylor is coming off their first loss of the year. Stay tuned for that one to see if Kansas State can get their first quality win.

NEXT GAME: 1/14 vs. Baylor

5. Texas Tech (13-3, 2-2) [+1]

Texas Tech is another surprise team this season. Their gutsy win against K-State helped them creep up a spot in our power rankings, but they need to try and follow it up with another win when they play Oklahoma. This is a game they should win, even on the road. Chris Beard’s squad has already seen success, and on top of that, they have a favorable schedule up ahead for the next week. If they can manage to rack those in, they have a great chance to put themselves in the top half of the conference.

NEXT GAME: 1/14 @ Oklahoma

4. Iowa State (11-4, 3-1) [+1]

Back to back wins for Iowa State have brought them up a slot once again, and now into our top four. They seem to be hitting their stride over the last week, and with an interesting matchup with TCU on the horizon, it looks like we’re going to learn a little bit more about the Cyclones. TCU is looking for a big conference win to keep their momentum going, and ISU is looking to keep their ball rolling as well. Naz Long will take his 15 points per game into Fort Worth and try get his team to jump up another spot before our next poll.

NEXT GAME: 1/14 @ TCU

3. Baylor (15-1, 3-1) [-2]

Well. It happened. Baylor finally lost. And they didn’t just lose, they lost big time. West Virginia brought Baylor into Morgantown just days after their first ever number one ranking in program history, and promply showed them who’s boss. That loss, although discouraging, does not kill this Baylor team who is obviously very talented. However, they need to find a way to respond when they head into Manhattan on Saturday. If they slip up again, it could result in a tailspin that costs them their shot at the Big 12 title. We’ll have to really pay attention to the Bears on Saturday and see what Scott Drew has up his sleeve.

NEXT GAME: 1/14 @ Kansas State

2. West Virginia (14-2, 3-1) [+2]

We certainly learned a lot about West Virginia this week. Or at least, what they can be. Whether it was just a glimpse, or the full look at what has blossomed in Morgantown, their beatdown of #1 Baylor taught us just how dangerous the Mountaineers can be. They are among the nation’s best in forcing turnovers, and not tuning it over, which is a recipe that obviously leads to success. In addition, they have the ability to rebound that certain teams still lack. They’re an interesting matchup for any team with the style that they play, and it plays into their favor.

NEXT GAME: 1/14 @ Texas

1. Kansas (15-1, 4-0) [+1]

Well, it took longer than many people would have liked, but the Jayhawks have reached our number one spot for the first time this season. They manage to continue winning, however ugly some moments may be. Their game against Oklahoma showed us just how bad they can be in some stretches, allowing a 22-4 OU run to end the first half. Yet, they showed just how good they can be as well. Kansas opened up the half on a 13-0 run of their own, and put up 23 points in the first 6 minutes of the second half to grab control and never look back. If they can manage to play that way for a full 40 minutes, I have a hard time imagining a team that could keep up with the Jayhawks.

NEXT GAME: 1/14 vs. Oklahoma State

Questions, comments or concerns? Hit me up on Twitter @JBane87. I’d love to talk hoops with you and get an outside perspective.

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