A less than desirable start to conference play has now turned into an avalanche for Brad Underwood and the Cowboys. OSU has been in a multitude of tight conference games where they had every opportunity to get their first conference win. Saturday in Lawrence, they let it slip away late after leading most of the contest. Wednesday at home against K-State, they saw a halftime lead evaporate in a high scoring bout with the Wildcats. The schedule doesn’t get any easier, having to travel to Lubbock to face Texas Tech. Phil Forte and the ‘Boys need a win more than ever, but will they get it?
NEXT GAME: 1/21 @ Texas Tech
9. Texas (7-11, 1-5) [no change]
Texas has lost three conference games by 3 points or less. They have been on the cusp of turning around their season, but have been unable to get over the hump. Their lack of experience on the interior has caused serious issues thus far, as they allowed Baylor’s Johnathan Motley to tally 32 points and 20 rebounds this past week. Kansas doesn’t have the best advantage on the inside, but it’s still an advantage over what the Longhorns bring to the table. The Longhorns have to find a way to take Landen Lucas out of his comfort zone to disrupt the giants in Allen Fieldhouse.
NEXT GAME: 1/21 @ Kansas
8. Oklahoma (8-9, 2-4) [+2]
My, how a week can change things. Oklahoma has finally found their winning recipe, largely due to Jordan Woodard being healthy again. The Sooners took care of Texas Tech, and then followed it up with an impressive road win against West Virginia. Clearly, this team still isn’t as good as the one they had last season, but they still have a good amount of young talent that could be dangerous moving forward. Momentum is a powerful thing in this game, and a home win against ISU on Saturday will undoubtedly keep the ball rolling in Norman.
NEXT GAME: 1/21 vs. Iowa State
7. Texas Tech (14-4, 3-3) [-2]
Texas Tech has been very tough for me to really get a great read on. They look good, and then follow it up with a less than impressive showing. They’ve been one of the most inconsistent teams in the Big 12 since we began league play. Still, with just four losses on their resume, they look to be in the hunt for a tournament birth, and their upcoming schedule provides them with a golden opportunity. A home game against a struggling Oklahoma State is not a sure victory, but if the Red Raiders play to their potential, they shouldn’t have a problem holding serve. Follow that up with a road game at Baylor, and you’re in great position heading into the final 10 games of conference play.
NEXT GAME: 1/21 vs. Oklahoma State
6. TCU (14-4, 3-3) [+1]
Last season, TCU won two conference games. Six games into this year, they already have three. Credit where it’s due, Dixon has done more with this team in less than a year than Johnson probably ever could have, and it has already shown. TCU is in the hunt for a ticket to the dance, and they have a magnificent opportunity to pick up the biggest win of the year against Baylor. If Dixon and the Frogs can manage a victory against one of the top teams in the Big 12, there is absolutely no reason to believe they can’t compete on a national scale.
NEXT GAME: 1/21 vs. Baylor
5. Kansas State (14-4, 3-3) [+1]
Kansas State finally found a way to win a conference road game. It took them three tries this year to get it, but now they sit evenly in the mix at 3-3 in the Big 12. Their schedule doesn’t allow much time for celebration though, as they welcome in an angry West Virginia squad into Bramlage. The Wildcats have yet to get a quality win this season, and are 0-4 against the RPI Top 50. But with momentum, and 12,500 purple-clad fans behind them, former K-State coach Bob Huggins and his Mountaineers could leave Manhattan unhappy, and allow K-State their biggest win of the 2016-17 campaign.
NEXT GAME: 1/21 vs. West Virginia
4. Iowa State (11-6, 3-3) [no change]
The Cyclones have yet to get the ball rolling for much of a winning streak this season. Since their 5-0 start to the year, they haven’t mustered more than three straight wins this season, and are currently on a two-game skid. Despite losing consecutive games, I kept them in the 4 slot this week because of the ways they played through the entirety of those contests. A close, 7 point loss to TCU in Fort Worth, which has become increasingly difficult to win in, and then another close loss to the all powerful Kansas Jayhawks, where frankly ISU had every chance to win, but couldn’t capitalize. They travel to Norman to take on a gritty OU squad next, and a big road win could be just what the doctor ordered, or else we may see the Cyclones spin out of their spot in the top four.
NEXT GAME: 1/21 @ Oklahoma
3. West Virginia (15-3, 4-2) [-1]
Losses happen, there’s no avoiding it. They happen to everyone, every year. West Virginia has just found a way to lose close ones. They lost by 4 to Temple early on this season, and in conference play have dropped two overtime heartbreakers to the likes of Texas Tech and Oklahoma. Wednesday, it’s tough to pinpoint exactly what did Huggiebear and the Mountaineers in. What is certain is that Jevon Carter is an animal. He did everything in his power to make sure that West Virginia had a chance to win that game, Jordan Woodard just had other plans. Traveling into the Little Apple will be no easy task, as it never is, but what this Press Virginia team brings to the table can surely disrupt anyone at any time.
NEXT GAME: 1/21 @ Kansas State
2. Baylor (17-1, 5-1) [+1]
Baylor is good. We know this. What we do not know is if Baylor will become great. Scott Drew and his past teams have been genuinely good, consistent teams over the last few years, but early losses in March have prevented them from becoming great. This season, I look for them to finally take a step forward towards the tier of greatness. Standing in their way of becoming a 1 or 2 seed is this next road game against TCU. As we previously mentioned, the Horned Frogs have taken a large step forward this season, and are looking for a statement win. If the Bears can hold off TCU and keep this train rolling forward, I like their chances of making noise this postseason.
NEXT GAME: 1/21 @ TCU
1. Kansas (17-1, 6-0) [no change]
Kings do king things, and that’s what the Jayhawks continue to do. They continue to win games. Regardless of whether they win big, or win ugly, the Jayhawks still win. Their streak of conference championships is one of the most ridiculous streaks any of us will ever witness, and someday that streak will end. I don’t believe that will be this year, but someday. The way Frank Mason III is playing right now, you really have no reason to believe KU will lose the two or three games it will take for a team to pass them up. Mason is averaging over 20 points a game, and shooting at over a 50% clip from the field. The man is unconscious, and any team with a guy tht hot will be tough to stop. Good luck Texas.
NEXT GAME: 1/21 vs. Texas
Questions, comments or concerns? Hit me up on Twitter @JBane87. I’d love to talk hoops with you and get an outside perspective.