With the Big 10 an absolute dumpster fire, everybody in the top eight of the Big 12 should get into the tournament with an 8-10 league record. I think the league will get seven teams into the tournament.
As always, these rankings are predictive. I rank West Virginia as though they have Esa Ahmad and Baylor as though they have Terry Maston.
1) Kansas (7-0)- The Jayhawks rank No. 2 on KenPom. I think their defense is inflated by not playing good teams with skilled big men. But I predicted Kansas would make the Final Four before the season. They look like one of the nation’s best teams.
2) West Virginia (7-1)- Texas A&M throttled them to open the season. They’ve looked very good sense then. Their shooting might prove fatal in the second weekend of the tournament.
3) Baylor (5-2)- The Bears offense has to get better to finish at least 3rd in the conference. Baylor had a much better shooting day after four straight tough games.
4) Texas Tech (6-1)- Seton Hall exploded for 1.24 points per possession in a win over Texas Tech. Still, the Red Raiders have the No. 13 KenPom defense. They should easily return to the dance.
5) TCU (8-0)- The Horned Frogs face a tough opponent in SMU, which is the first game against a quality opponent. It will be a huge task to expect Baylor to remain perfect in Big 12 play against TCU.
6) Oklahoma (6-1)- Trae Young is KenPom’s player of the year. His range is exceptional, and he’s an excellent passer. On his best days, Oklahoma can beat anyone.
7) Texas (5-2)- Their defense is amazing. But they rely on a few shooters that can go ice cold. Texas may be a unique problem for Kansas. But their offense is going to prove a huge hindrance to their goals.
8) Kansas State (7-1)- The Wildcats played a good Arizona State team close. Unfortunately, the rest of their non-conference schedule is pretty bad (the Vanderbilt win is decent). Once again, Bruce Weber’s squad will live on the bubble.
9) Iowa State (5-2) Since opening the season 0-2, the Cyclones have won their last five games. They’re still a season away from returning to where they’ve been the last few years.
10) Oklahoma State (7-1)- The Wichita State game on Saturday should give us a clue if Oklahoma State is actually a top 50 KenPom team. Texas A&M beat them easily, but they’ve done their job in their other games.