Big XII (MBB) Power Rankings and Award Leaderboards (January 17-23)

Bears 1

BU @ OU '22 | Twitter: @BaylorMBB

It's much more fun to write these things on weeks where Baylor plays well. Still, after having travelled to Norman to see Baylor beat the Sooners, this post might be a little shorter than earlier ones. If you'd like to check out last week's post, you can find it here.

Big XII Team of the Week: Baylor. Shorthanded and away from home, the Bears bounced back from losing twice the prior week to reclaim the top spot in these Power Rankings.

Big XII Player of the Week: Ochai Agbaji, Kansas. In 2 wins this week: 39 points and 12 rebounds 48% from the field.

Power Rankings

Baylor, Kansas, Texas Tech, Texas, TCU, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Kansas State

1) #4 Baylor Bears (Prev: 2). Overall Record: 17-2. Weekly Record: 2-0. Conference Record: 5-2. B12 Position: T-2. KenPom Rank: 3. NCAA NET Rank: 4. SOS (per KenPom): 41. Q1+Q2: 9-2. Q3+Q4: 8-0.

Game Notes: WIN. BU 77 @ WVU 68. Heck yeah! It was a career night for both Matthew Mayer and LJ Cryer who combined to score 45 points on 48% from the field and 10/17 (58%) from the deep. Mayer also got after it on the defensive end with 4 steals. The ball movement was great for the Bears who assisted on 64% of made FGs. The offense was balanced, with a lot of paint points early and three-pointers later in the game. It was an uneasy win that was feeling for a long time, eerily similar to the Texas Tech loss: we had an early 15+-point lead, blew it, and kept coming up short on 50-50 balls. Scott Drew did an excellent job managing foul trouble (and also not coming unglued on the officials). For Baylor to bounce back on the road, against a good WVU team, without James Akinjo and Jeremy Sochan was huge.

Game Notes: WIN. BU 65 @ OU 51. The Bears got another much (k)needed win on the road in Norman. This was my first time seeing the Bears in-person this season and it was a bit of wild game. Baylor started the tilt on a 10-0 run before giving up a 17-3 run shortly thereafter. The Bears struggled mightily from the field (and especially from beyond the arc) in the first half but still managed to take a 4-point advantage into halftime. The second half was equally competitive until Matthew Mayer's knee hit OU star, Tanner Groves's face. There was no call on the play (the contact looked totally unintentional). Groves was on the ground and LJ Cryer was intentionally fouled on the other end (we were in the bonus at the time). Groves was furious at the no call and got a technical foul assessed on himself. This led to four consecutive made free throws from LJ Cryer. It had been a 5-point Baylor lead before that sequence which sparked an 11-2 run. The only bad thing about this game is that James Akinjo took a rough fall in the second half (immediately before the Groves-Mayer sequence) and had to leave the game and did not return. Hopefully, he won't be forced to miss many, if any, games. Adam Flagler and LJ Cryer continue to carry the scoring load while Mayer and Kendall Brown also played well.

Outlook: Baylor will host Kansas State on Tuesday before travelling to Tuscaloosa, Alabama next weekend. The Bears are still far from healthy which makes it tough to suggest that they are, at this exact moment, the best team in America. Still, they showed me enough this last week to confidently reassert that they are the best team in this conference. They have rediscovered their swagger on defense. Plus the trio of Flagler, Mayer, and Cryer has shown that they can make up for the absence of Akinjo until his tailbone is better. Those three players combined for 101 points in the last 2 games. Get well soon Akinjo and Sochan.

2) #5 Kansas Jayhawks (Prev: 1). Overall Record: 16-2. Weekly Record: 2-0. Conference Record: 5-1. B12 Position: 1. KenPom Rank: 9. NCAA NET Rank: 7. SOS (per KenPom): 16. Q1+Q2: 9-2. Q3+Q4: 7-0.

Game Notes: WIN. KU 67 @ OU 64. The conference's leading scorer (and player of the year frontrunner), Ochai Agbaji was held scoreless for the first 35 minutes of the game before breaking out and scoring 10 points in the final 5 minutes. It was Christian Braun's go-ahead three-pointer with 13 seconds left that made the difference. Both teams attempted 17 3PFGs in the game. Kansas made twice as many as OU which was critical.

Game Notes: WIN. KU 78 @ KSU 75. Head Coach Bill Self's father passed away last week. Self only returned to practice with the team on Friday, the day before this game. KSU came out and punched the Jayhawks in the mouth in a big way, going to halftime with a 16-point lead. Kansas then came out in the second half and pulled off the biggest comeback in program history. To have that happen this week, against KU's biggest rival led to an emotional postgame meeting in the locker room (I sure was getting sniffly watching it). Ochai Agbaji was incredible for the Jayhawks with 29 points on 55% from the field including the game-winning layup with 7 seconds left in the game.

Outlook: Kansas will have a couple of home games this week, first against Texas Tech and then Kentucky next weekend. The Jayhawks are clearly among the very best teams in this league. They are 1st in the conference in adjusted offensive efficiency and 1st in opponent eFG% since the start of Big XII play.

3) #13 Texas Tech Red Raiders (Prev: 3). Overall Record: 13-4. Weekly Record: 2-0. Conference Record: 5-2. B12 Position: T-2. KenPom Rank: 14. NCAA NET Rank: 14. SOS (per KenPom): 116. Q1+Q2: 6-4. Q3+Q4: 9-0.

Game Notes: WIN TTU 72 @ ISU 60. Red Raider revenge. After losing a tough one earlier in the month in Ames, Iowa, Tech was able to more than even the score, dominating at home to bounce back from their surprising loss to Kansas State in the prior game. The lead ballooned to as much as 23 points before ISU clawed some of those points back in garbage time. Tech won the game at the FT line where they had a 20-point advantage.

Game Notes: WIN. TTU 78 v WVU 65. Tech remains perfect at home, blasting WVU in the second half. TJ Shannon looked great in just his 3rd game back from an extended injury absence. Shannon had 23 points and 5 rebounds on 58% from the field. The biggest difference in this game was TTU's +8 advantage in the turnover battle. It was Tech's lowest TO% as an offense since November.

Outlook: Arguably the biggest challenge of the season for Tech thus far awaits them as they play a red-hot Kansas team in Lawrence (on just 2-day's rest). They'll play Mississippi State next weekend. Tech is also hot, having won 5 of their last 6. This squad is clearly in the top tier of the conference along with Kansas and Baylor. Compared to those 2, I have less confidence in this offense than theirs but this defense is as good as it gets in the entire country.

4) Texas Longhorns (Prev: 5). Overall Record: 14-5. Weekly Record: 1-1. Conference Record: 4-3. B12 Position: 5. KenPom Rank: 17. NCAA NET Rank: 17. SOS (per KenPom): 160. Q1+Q2: 5-5. Q3+Q4: 9-0.

Game Notes: LOSS. UT 65 v KSU 66. The Longhorns lost their first game of the week at home against the last place Wildcats. They did this despite a friendly whistle that allowed them a 12-point advantage from the FT line in the game, and also despite a season high performance from Marcus Carr who had 19 second half points. Carr had a chance to win it on a tough, contested fadeaway two near the baseline. It was the type of shot he had been hitting when UT had the lead with about 4 minutes remaining.

Game Notes: WIN. UT 56 v OSU 51. The Longhorns won a rock fight at home behind a balanced attack whereby 4 different starters scored in double figures. Texas had to overcome 20 turnovers and a TO% of 30.2 (their worst since last season's NCAA Tournament loss to ACU *snickers*).

Outlook: Texas will take on a feisty TCU team in Fort Worth this week before hosting Tennessee this next weekend. This team continues to rank in the top 4 in the league in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Still, this squad doesn't have a single signature win on the season and it's hard to trust that this offense will be able to get the job done against the top 3 teams in the conference.

Frogs 1

TCU @ ISU '22 | Twitter: @TCUBasketball

5) Texas Christian Horned Frogs (Prev: 8). Overall Record: 13-3. Weekly Record: 1-1. Conference Record: 3-2. B12 Position: 4. KenPom Rank: 47. NCAA NET Rank: 44. SOS (per KenPom): 112. Q1+Q2: 4-3. Q3+Q4: 9-0.

Game Notes: LOSS. TCU 56 @ OSU 57. It's hard to win on the road in this conference. It's harder when you commit 22 turnovers. The Frogs turned the ball over on almost 34% of their possessions. This was their highest TO% in a game since last season (when they got trounced by Baylor). Star guard, Mike Miles, went 2/15 (13%) from the field. Over TCU's last 2 games, Miles (the team's leading scorer on the season, averaging over 15 PPG) has gone 5/27 (18%) from the field, a troubling sign to say the least.

Game Notes: WIN. TCU 59 @ ISU 44. It was TCU's best defensive performance in over 2 years (when they held OSU to just 40 points in January of 2020). Damion Baugh was the star for the Frogs with 23 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 7 steals (!) on 64% from the field.

Outlook: TCU has 2 great resume building opportunities this week, first against Texas and then against LSU this upcoming weekend. In conference play, this is the most efficient defense in the league. Their offensive efficiency leaves a lot to be desired but this team is trending up currently.

6) Oklahoma Sooners (Prev: 6). Overall Record: 12-7. Weekly Record: 0-2. Conference Record: 2-5. B12 Position: T-8. KenPom Rank: 36. NCAA NET Rank: 41. SOS (per KenPom): 35. Q1+Q2: 5-6. Q3+Q4: 7-1.

Game Notes: LOSS. OU 64 v KU 67. The Sooners extend their slump having lost 3 in a row and 4 of their last 5. It's nice that OU was competitive (they held a 6-point lead with under 9 minutes remaining), but there are no moral victories in Big XII play. Late game decision making and shot selection continues to haunt this team. A great example of this was a contested three-point attempt by Tanner Groves with under 2 minutes remaining in the game and more than 15 seconds left on the shot clock.

Game Notes: LOSS. OU 51 v BU 65. I already talked about the issue of Matt Mayer's knee. If you happen to be an OU fan reading this, sorry, not sorry. It appeared to be incidental contact. The reason OU lost this game wasn't a sweet kickboxing move or the lack of a call resulting from such move. The Sooners lost this game because they lost their composure and they allowed themselves to feel sorry for themselves. The players need to let the coach worry about the officiating. The referees weren't the cause of Oklahoma committing 25 turnovers. OU turned it over on 37.7% of their offensive possessions (their worst TO% in the 20+ history of KenPom). Umoja Gibson had an uncharacteristically poor shooting day. He had some good looks that he almost always makes and simply missed. In the 2 games against Baylor this season, OU went 10/38 (26%) from deep. That's losing basketball.

Outlook: The Sooners will travel to West Virginia this week before going on the road against the #1 Auburn Tigers next weekend. This team has talent, balance, depth, and good coaching. These are the ingredients of an NCAA Tournament team. They have to make better decisions late in games. They have lost 4 in a row. OU needs a momentum-changing win and they need it soon.

7) #23 Iowa State Cyclones (Prev: 4). Overall Record: 14-5. Weekly Record: 0-2. Conference Record: 2-5. B12 Position: T-8. KenPom Rank: 32. NCAA NET Rank: 30. SOS (per KenPom): 45. Q1+Q2: 6-5. Q3+Q4: 8-0.

Game Notes: LOSS. ISU 60 @ TTU 72. I mentioned last week that Iowa State's losses were starting to pile up. Add another to the pile. This time, an embarrassing blowout defeat at the hands of the Red Raiders. This game was highly competitive for about the first 23 minutes of the game (at the 17:14 mark of the 2nd half it was a 1-point ISU deficit). Over the final 17 minutes, the Cyclones were thoroughly dismantled on both ends of the floor.

Game Notes: LOSS. ISU 44 v TCU 59. It was a disastrous game offensively for the Cyclones who were held to their lowest point total since 2008. For some reason, ISU decided that this was the game to attempt the most three-pointers of any game this season, despite almost none of them going in. The Cyclones finished the game 3/26 (11%) from deep. It was the 2nd consecutive game where Iowa State has made fewer than 20% of their three-pointers on more than 25 attempts per game.

Outlook: The Cyclones will take on Oklahoma State and Missouri this week. Having lost 4 of their last 5, they need a sweep this week to right the ship as we near the midway point in conference play. This is one of the least potent offenses in the league and lately, their defense hasn't been good enough to make up for their lack of explosiveness on the other end.

8) Oklahoma State Cowboys (Prev: 9). Overall Record: 10-8. Weekly Record: 1-1. Conference Record: 3-4. B12 Position: 6. KenPom Rank: 51. NCAA NET Rank: 53. SOS (per KenPom): 7. Q1+Q2: 4-6. Q3+Q4: 6-2.

Game Notes: WIN. OSU 57 v TCU 56. Despite being down 9 with just over 3 minutes remaining in the game, the Cowboys rallied past TCU behind a 12-2 run to close the game. Neither offense was impressive in this game, but OSU's defense was remarkable, forcing turnovers and holding TCU to their lowest eFG% in a game since November. Reserve guard, Rondel Walker (who scored the team's final 5 points), played well, with 12 points and 3 steals coming off the bench.

Game Notes: LOSS. OSU 51 @ UT 56. Guard trio, Avery Anderson III, Isaac Likekele, and Rondel Walker combined to go 4/18 (22%) from the field in 86 minutes. That's bad guard play. The bright spot for OSU offensively was Bryce Thompson who had a career-high 20 points on 44% from the field. The defense was good but not good enough. Texas simply outworked them in the second half.

Outlook: The Cowboys will welcome Iowa State this week before travelling to Gainesville, Florida next weekend. The guard play remains the biggest issue for this team. Their defense will keep them in a lot of games and even win them a few of those, but this team just doesn't look like a serious contender in this league.

9) West Virginia Mountaineers (Prev: 7). Overall Record: 13-5. Weekly Record: 0-2. Conference Record: 2-4. B12 Position: 7. KenPom Rank: 52. NCAA NET Rank: 48. SOS (per KenPom): 27. Q1+Q2: 5-5. Q3+Q4: 8-0.

Game Notes: LOSS. WVU 68 v BU 77. Despite falling behind early by 16 at home to the shorthanded Bears, the Mountaineers battled back and refused to go quietly. The offense was powered by their three guards, Taz Sherman, Sean McNeil, and (off the bench) Malik Curry who combined for 54 of the team's 68 points (that's over 79% of the team's scoring from that trio). The offense was troubled by scoring droughts (they had 4 scoring droughts of 2.5 minutes or longer in the game).

Game Notes: LOSS. WVU 65 @ TTU 78. I've talked a lot this season about WVU's inability to close out defensive possessions with rebounds. This weakness reared its ugly head against Tech. The Red Raiders dominated the glass (+10 advantage for TTU), specifically the offensive glass (oReb% of 44.7% in the game). Taz Sherman tried to keep the team in the game with his 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists on 53% from the field.

Outlook: The Mountaineers will take on an equally desperate Oklahoma team before going on the road against Arkansas this next weekend. This team has now lost 3-in-a-row. They rank last in the conference in adjusted defensive efficiency (surprising right?) and 9th in the conference in eFG%. They have serious problems on both ends of the floor that will need to be fixed if WVU wants to avoid the bubble.

10) Kansas State Wildcats (Prev: 10). Overall Record: 10-8. Weekly Record: 1-1. Conference Record: 2-5. B12 Position: T-8. KenPom Rank: 55. NCAA NET Rank: 63. SOS (per KenPom): 37. Q1+Q2: 2-7. Q3+Q4: 7-0.

Game Notes: WIN. KSU 66 @ UT 65. Fresh off their upset of the formerly (and maybe now again) red hot, Red Raiders, the Wildcats knocked off (at the time) ranked Texas in Austin. It was a pair of heroic performances by Marcus Smith (22 points and 8 boards) and Nijel Pack (16 points including the go-ahead layup with 73 seconds left in the game). Markquis Nowell had a rough shooting night (1/7 from the field) but did hit a couple of big FTs down the stretch as well as assisting on the aforementioned Pack, game-winning layup.

Game Notes: LOSS. KSU 75 v KU 78. Talk about blowing it. Despite dominating the first half against the conference frontrunner (standings), the Wildcats watched their 16-point halftime lead melt away. I don't think I'm being excessively hyperbolic in calling KSU's shot selection down the stretch some of the worst I've ever seen. They were jacking deep, contested three-pointers with the lead and when down by a single point. "Take it to the hoop, you morons." - Fans of every Big XII team wanting to see KU lose. The only bright spot here for KSU was Nijel Pack. Pack had 35 points, 4 boards, 2 assists, and 3 steals on 67% from the field and 8/12 (67%) from deep.

Outlook: Kansas State will continue the gauntlet as they head to Waco this week to face Baylor before going to Oxford, Mississippi this next weekend. There is no doubt that KSU is far improved from where they were a year ago. There is no doubt that they can compete with any team in the conference this season. There are no moral victories though and as of now, nobody in the conference has a worse record than the Wildcats.

Big XII Award Leaderboards

Coach of the Year Leaderboard:

1) Mark Adams, Texas Tech. The Red Raiders stay in the hunt for a conference title under the leadership of Adams.

2) Scott Drew, Baylor. The Bears won twice on the road this week whilst being shorthanded.

3) Porter Moser, Oklahoma. The Sooners keep losing and need their coach to find a way to fix things quickly.

4) TJ Otzelberger, Iowa State. The Cyclones have lost much of their magic and need to turn things around in a hurry.

Player of the Year Leaderboard:

1) Ochai Agbaji, Kansas. Last 5 games: 21.0 PPG and 6.0 RPG on 50% from the field and 47% from deep.

2) Taz Sherman, West Virginia. Last 2 games: 19.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.5 APG, and 1.0 SPG on 42% from the field and 33% from deep.

3) Izaiah Brockington, Iowa State. Last 5 games: 15.2 PPG and 7.6 RPG on 47% from the field.

4) Bryson Williams, Texas Tech. Last 3 games: 16.3 PPG and 3.7 RPG on 51% from the field and 45% from deep.

Bears 2

BU @ WVU '22 | Twitter: @BaylorMBB

Defensive Player of the Year Leaderboard:

1) Matthew Mayer, Baylor. League leader in defensive rating and block%.

2) Tyrese Hunter, Iowa State. League leader in steals and 3rd in defensive win shares.

3) Timmy Allen, Texas. 2nd in the league in defensive win shares and 6th in defensive rating.

4) Flo Thamba, Baylor. Top 3 in defensive rating and block%.

Sixth Man of the Year Leaderboard:

1) LJ Cryer, Baylor. 2 starts in 17 games played. 21.0 points per 40 minutes on 48% from the field and 47% from deep.

2) Malik Curry, West Virginia. 0 starts in 18 games played. 18.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 2.1 steals per 40 minutes on 44% from the field.

3) Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, Baylor. 0 starts in 19 games played. 14.6 points and 13.7 rebounds per 40 minutes on 65% from the field.

4) Aljaz Kunc, Iowa State. 0 starts in 19 games played. 11.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per 40 minutes on 52% from the field and 50% from deep.

Freshman of the Year Leaderboard:

1) Tyrese Hunter, Iowa State. Last 5 games: 11.2 PPG, 4.6 APG, and 2.8 SPG, 43% from the field.

2) Kendall Brown, Baylor. Last 5 games: 6.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 3.4 APG on 47% from the field.

3) Jeremy Sochan, Baylor. Last 4 games: 8.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 52% from the field.

4) CJ Noland, Oklahoma. Last 8 games: 4.9 PPG, 0.8 SPG, 76% from the field (2.6 attempts per game).

Newcomer of the Year Leaderboard:

1) Izaiah Brockington, Iowa State. See Player of the Year stats above.

2) Bryson Williams, Texas Tech. See Player of the Year stats above.

3) James Akinjo, Baylor. Last 7 games: 16.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 4.9 APG, and 2.1 SPG on 45% from the field and 34% from deep.

4) Timmy Allen, Texas. Last 6 games: 11.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 1.5 SPG on 57% from the field.

Bears 3

BU @ OU '22 | Twitter: @BaylorMBB

Upcoming Big XII Games Worth Monitoring

Last week's predictions: 4-0 (woot!); I had Baylor winning last Tuesday by 4, they won by 9; I had Baylor winning last Saturday by 9, they won by 14; I had Texas Tech winning last Tuesday by 5, they won by 12; and I had Texas Tech winning last Saturday by 10, they won by 13.

a) Texas Tech @ Kansas. Monday, January 24, 2022, at 8:00 PM CT on ESPN. Prediction: Kansas by 2.

b) Kansas State @ Baylor, Tuesday, January 25, 2022, at 7:00 PM CT on ESPN+. Prediction: Baylor by 7.

c) Baylor @ Alabama. Saturday, January 29, 2022, at 3:00 PM CT on ESPN. Prediction: Baylor by 4.

d) Kentucky @ Kansas. Saturday, January 29, 2022, at 5:00 PM CT on ESPN. Prediction: Kansas by 6.

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