The Big 12 is possibly the best conference in the country, but it’s different than it has been the last several seasons. The Big 12 appears to have three Final Four contenders, and a host of potential tournament teams.
The Big 12 remains a strong league because there is no truly awful team. Texas is the lowest ranked KenPom team, and they check in at 69th.
1) Kansas- The Jayhawks do not have the league’s best resume, but they remain the league favorite. Josh Jackson is one of the country’s best freshmen, and Frank Mason may be its best player. KU has won a share of 12 straight league titles. They remain the favorite for now.
2) Baylor- The Bears have the country’s most impressive resume, and if this were about selecting the tournament field, Baylor or UCLA would be the #1 team. But until they get a few weeks into Big 12 play, picking anyone but Kansas to win the league seems premature.
3) West Virginia- Press Virginia has not missed a beat without Devin Williams. The Mountaineers rank 7th on KenPom and have the #4 defense.
4) Oklahoma State- The Cowboys throttled Wichita State in Wichita and have two quality losses. Jawun Evans has been masterful, while Jeffrey Carroll has become one of the league’s best players. Brad Underwood has turned things around quickly.
5) Iowa State- The Cyclones have had some bad moments early, including a big loss against Iowa. But Iowa State’s defense is better than it has been the last several years. The offense has not been the same without Geroges Niang. Iowa State is at risk of missing the tournament.
6) Texas Tech- Texas Tech’s terrible schedule is what limits their ranking. They have played one KenPom top 100 game, and they lost that game to Auburn. Tech is balanced and young. They have a good chance to rise up these rankings.
7) Kansas State- A year removed from a big fall, Kansas State is ranked 31st on KenPom. But the Wildcats have zero wins against opponents inside the top 175. Wesley Iwundu makes them a threat to win any game.
8) TCU- Jamie Dixon is one of the best hires in the last several years. Dixon has hit the recruiting trail well. Freshman Jaylen Fisher gives them a shot to not just make the NIT, but possibly even the NCAA Tournament.
9) Oklahoma- Losing Buddy Hield, Isaiah Cousins, and Ryan Spangler has proven too much for Oklahoma. But you can have a down year after making the Final Four. The Sooners sit at 6-5, but many of their losses are close and respectable. It’s also fair to wonder if some teams ahead of them would have a similar record with their schedule.
10) Texas- The Longhorns have struggled without a point guard. Texas is just 6-5. They have talented young players, but without a point guard, the Longhorns will need a magical run to get into the NIT picture.