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NCAA Basketball: Seton Hall at Baylor

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Big 12 MBB Week 5 Recap and Power Rankings

Undefeated Teams Dropping Like Flies

Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s post can be found here.

Week 5 Power Rankings

Rank Team Prev. Rank KenPom Rank Overall Record Avg. Scoring Margin
Rank Team Prev. Rank KenPom Rank Overall Record Avg. Scoring Margin
1 #6 Baylor 1 7 9-0 23.5
2 #2 Kansas 2 10 9-1 14.8
3 #4 Houston 3 1 10-0 26.7
4 #11 Oklahoma 6 19 9-0 21.9
5 #18 BYU 5 8 8-1 28.7
6 #37 TCU 4 38 7-1 21.4
7 #19 Texas 7 36 7-2 12.7
8 #33 Iowa State 9 18 8-2 26.8
9 #42 Kansas State 11 45 8-2 8.4
10 Cincinnati 8 30 7-1 18.9
11 Texas Tech 10 43 6-2 9.2
12 UCF 12 75 6-3 10.3
13 Oklahoma State 13 91 4-5 6.7
14 West Virginia 14 129 4-5 -1.6
Dates Covered: 12/4 - 12/10

Overview

Home Teams went 16-2

Ranked Teams went 9-1 against lower-ranked or unranked opponents

6 of 24 games were decided by 6 or fewer points

My Team of the Week: Oklahoma Sooners – 2-0 on the week with wins over Providence and Arkansas

Syndication: The Oklahoman NATHAN J. FISH/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK

My Player of the Week: Keshon Gilbert (Iowa State) - 45 points, 13 rebounds, 14 assists, and 3 steals on 52% from the field across ISU’s 2 wins

1. Baylor Bears

Game 1: BU defeated Seton Hall 78-60. Telling Stat: The Bears outscored the Pirates by 18 points from beyond the arc. Standout Player: RayJ Dennis (17 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, and 1 steal on 5/11 [45%] from the field).

NCAA Basketball: Seton Hall at Baylor Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Stat to Know: The Bears are 2nd in the nation in 3P%.

Outlook: Baylor’s strong start has shown no signs of slowing as they pulled away late against a solid Seton Hall team. The Bears will face 2 more power conference foes this month with conference play slated to start shortly after the calendar turns over.

2. Kansas Jayhawks

Game 1: KU defeated Kansas City 88-69. Telling Stat: The Jayhawks outscored the Roos by 20 points in the paint. Standout Player: Kevin McCullar, Jr. (25 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block on 9/13 [69%] from the field).

Game 2: KU defeated Missouri 73-64. Telling Stat: The Jayhawks outscored the Tigers 17-0 on second-chance points. Standout Player: Hunter Dickinson (13 points, 16 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal on 6/9 [67%] from the field).

Stat to Know: The Jayhawks lead the nation in assists per game.

Outlook: Kansas won both games this week albeit in fairly pedestrian fashion. It remains to be seen if KU’s relatively lethargic start to the season will spell trouble for their campaign overall, however, it is a good sign for them that freshman guard, Elmarko Jackson has been showing signs of improvement over the last few games.

3. Houston Cougars

Game 1: UH defeated Rice 75-39. Telling Stat: The Owls were held to 13/45 (29%) from the field. Standout Player: Emanuel Sharp (12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal on 4/8 [50%] from the field).

Game 2: UH defeated Jackson State 89-55. Telling Stat: The Cougars outscored the Tigers by 19 points off turnovers. Standout Player: Emanuel Sharp (25 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, and 3 steals on 6/13 [46%] from the field).

NCAA Basketball: Jackson State at Houston Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Stat to Know: The Cougars are 9th in the nation in turnovers forced per game.

Outlook: The defense is stout and the offense (aside from being horrible from the FT line) is pretty good too. Houston is clearly in the upper echelon of Big 12 teams through the first 5 weeks of the season. We’ll just have to see how they hold up in conference play.

4. Oklahoma Sooners

Game 1: OU defeated Providence 72-51. Telling Stat: The Sooners outscored the Friars 16-2 in second-chance points. Standout Player: Milos Uzan (17 points, 12 rebounds, 4 steals, and 1 block on 8/12 [67%] from the field).

Game 2: OU defeated Arkansas 79-70. Telling Stat: The Sooners outscored the Razorbacks by 10 points in the paint. Standout Player: Javian McCollum (20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal on 5/13 [38%] from the field).

Stat to Know: The Sooners are 6th nationally in 3P% defense.

Outlook: The Sooners have officially gone from a pleasant surprise to one of the most impressive teams from the Big 12 through the early part of the season. They are undefeated with 4 power conference wins and should have a chance to climb even higher if they are able to knock off North Carolina later this month.

5. BYU Cougars

Game 1: BYU defeated Evansville 96-55. Telling Stat: The Cougars were +13 in rebounding margin. Standout Player: Trevin Knell (13 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists on 5/9 [56%] from the field).

Game 2: Utah defeated BYU 73-69. Telling Stat: BYU shot just 26/71 (36%) from the field in the game. Standout Player: Spencer Johnson (10 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 steals on 4/12 [33%] from the field).

Stat to Know: BYU is 4th nationally in rebounding margin.

Outlook: The Cougars’ white-hot start to the season came to a stop as they suffered their first loss of the season. If it’s not bad enough that they lost for the first time after their worst offensive performance of the season, it was against their bitter in-state (and soon-to-be conference) rival. BYU will look to bounce back with a string of tune-up games leading into conference play (they have 98% or better win probability in all remaining non-conference matchups per KenPom).

6. TCU Horned Frogs

Game 1: Clemson defeated TCU 74-66. Telling Stat: TCU made just 19/59 (32%) of their field goal attempts. Standout Player: Micah Peavy (12 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, and 3 steals on 4/11 [36%] from the field).

Stat to Know: The Frogs are 10th nationally in turnovers forced per game.

Outlook: TCU looked great against lowly competition as they got out to a 6-0 start on the season having not faced any top 240 teams (per KenPom) or playing any games away from their home arena. Now, they’ve faced back-to-back power conference opponents (both away from home) and have looked like anything but a championship-caliber team. They’ll need to finish strong in their final 3 non-conference matchups before Big 12 play starts.

7. Texas Longhorns

Game 1: Marquette defeated UT 86-65. Telling Stat: The Golden Eagles outscored the Horns by 30 (!) points from beyond the arc. Standout Player: Max Abmas (25 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals on 10/19 [53%] from the field).

Game 2: UT defeated Houston Christian 77-50. Telling Stat: The Horns outscored the Huskies 20-4 in points off turnovers. Standout Player: Dillon Mitchell (13 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block on 5/8 [63%] from the field).

Stat to Know: Texas is 12th among Big 12 teams in made three-pointers.

Outlook: The Longhorns got absolutely shellacked by their former coach in the Big 12-Big East Challenge. It’s probably best not to get too carried away, Texas is still a good team with a high ceiling. They have been a disappointment though to this point.

8. Iowa State Cyclones

Game 1: ISU defeated Iowa 90-65. Telling Stat: The Cyclones outscored the Hawkeyes by 28 points in the paint. Standout Player: Keshon Gilbert (25 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals on 8/16 [50%] from the field).

Game 2: ISU defeated Prairie View A&M 107-56. Telling Stat: The Cyclones outscored the Panthers 21-4 in transition. Standout Player: Keshon Gilbert (20 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on 6/11 [55%] from the field).

Syndication: The Ames Tribune Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune / USA TODAY NETWORK

Stat to Know: Iowa State has forced more turnovers than any other Big 12 team.

Outlook: The Cyclones have rattled off 3 consecutive 15+ point victories (including 2 against power conference opponents) after losing back-to-back games during feast week. They are trending up and will face virtually no resistance in their remaining non-conference games.

9. Kansas State Wildcats

Game 1: KSU defeated Villanova in overtime 72-71. Telling Stat: The Wildcats outscored the Wildcats by 14 points in the paint. Standout Player: Arthur Kaluma (26 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists on 10/13 [77%] from the field).

Game 2: KSU defeated LSU 75-60. Telling Stat: The Wildcats were +13 in rebounding margin. Standout Player: Arthur Kaluma (17 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block on 6/8 [75%] from the field).

Stat to Know: Kansas State has committed the most turnovers of any Big 12 team.

Outlook: The Wildcats have played 4 overtime games this season. The good news is that they’ve won all 4 of those games. The bad news is that this is anything but a dominant team. Perhaps their ability to win close games will help them in a few conference matchups this season, but if they don’t start taking better care of the basketball, many of their Big 12 bouts won’t even be competitive.

10. Cincinnati Bearcats

Game 1: Xavier defeated Cincy 84-79. Telling Stat: The Musketeers outscored the Bearcats by 12 points from the FT line. Standout Player: John Newman III (18 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal on 7/10 [70%] from the field.

Stat to Know: Cincinnati has committed the fewest turnovers this season among Big 12 teams.

Outlook: We had suspected that Cincinnati’s flawless 7-0 start was more a product of their week schedule than of their actual ability to compete against high-level competition. This suspicion was somewhat confirmed as the Bearcats lost for the first time on the campaign. I’m not selling all my Cincy stock just yet, but they need to win all of their remaining non-conference matchups for me to believe they have any chance of surviving once Big 12 play gets going.

11. Texas Tech Red Raiders

Game 1: Tech defeated Omaha 87-58. Telling Stat: The Raiders outscored the Mavericks by 13 points off turnovers. Standout Player: Kerwin Walton (22 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal on 8/9 [89%] from the field off the bench).

Stat to Know: Texas Tech is 13th among Big 12 teams in paint scoring.

Outlook: We didn’t learn much about Tech last week as their only game came against a weak opponent. The same will be true of all 5 remaining non-conference matchups. Still, this is a team that struggles on the offensive end of the floor and unless and until that changes, their ceiling will be pretty low this season.

12. UCF Knights

Game 1: UCF defeated Jacksonville 94-52. Telling Stat: The Knights outscored the Dolphins by 33 points from beyond the arc. Standout Player: Thierno Sylla (20 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 blocks on 7/11 [64%] from the field).

Game 2: Ole Miss defeated UCF 70-68. Telling Stat: UCF shot just 21/57 (37%) from the field. Standout Player: Darius Jackson (25 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, and 5 steals on 9/16 [56%] from the field).

Stat to Know: UCF is 13th among Big 12 teams in eFG% (per cbbanalytics.com).

Outlook: The Knights are good enough defensively that they shouldn’t be blown out much this season. Their offense, though, leaves much to be desired. They have a few tune-up games to try to figure out things offensively before their inaugural season of Big 12 play begins.

13. Oklahoma State Cowboys

Game 1: Southern Illinois defeated OSU 70-68. Telling Stat: The Pokes made just 12/36 (33%) of their shots in the 2nd half. Standout Player: Javon Small (25 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block on 7/15 [47%] from the field).

Game 2: OSU defeated Tulsa 72-57. Telling Stat: The Cowboys were +18 in rebounding margin. Standout Player: Quion Williams (12 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals on 5/6 [83%] from the field).

Stat to Know: The Cowboys are the worst FT-shooting team in the Big 12.

Outlook: The Pokes have now lost to Abilene Christian and Southern Illinois on the season on top of being 4-5. Pressure seems to be mounting on Coach Mike Boynton and his young and struggling team.

14. West Virginia Mountaineers

Game 1: Pittsburgh defeated WVU 80-63. Telling Stat: The Panthers outscored the Mountaineers 25-3 in bench points. Standout Player: Jesse Edwards (20 points and 9 rebounds on 8/11 [73%] from the field).

Game 2: WVU defeated Drexel. Telling Stat: West Virginia outscored Drexel by 12 points off turnovers. Standout Player: Jesse Edwards (16 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks on 7/10 [70%] from the field).

Stat to Know: West Virginia is the lowest-scoring team in the Big 12 (by a wide margin).

Outlook: It’s hard to be shocked that this season has been a disaster for West Virginia, given the circumstances. I’m sure that doesn’t make it feel much better for their fans and players. Per KenPom, once conference play starts, they will have a win probability below 50% in every game and below 20% in 10 of those games.

Conclusion

Three previously undefeated Big 12 teams lost for the first time last week (TCU, BYU, and Cincinnati). As we sit here today, the top 4 teams in the Big 12 (including OU [!]) appear to be a cut above the rest, with the Bears narrowly firmly in the mix near the top of the nation’s best basketball conference. Sic Em!

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