Baylor is the #1 team in the nation, and they’re on a 15-game winning streak. Yet I still don’t think they’re winning their conference. Their style of play, to me, is not a sustainable formula for winning in March. They play a lot of close, defensive games, and that will be a tough approach to winning games when the lights shine the brightest. I still believe Kansas is the odds-on favorite to win the Big 12, while Baylor and West Virginia are right outside the picture and looking up at the Jayhawks. Here are this week’s biggest risers and fallers.
Biggest Risers: Oklahoma
- This may be a slightly odd pick for the biggest riser, but I picked the Sooners for a very specific reason; I believe the Big 12 has a clear top four in the conference between the Jayhawks, Baylor, West Virginia, and Texas Tech. I think Oklahoma is the next best team, and I believe the Sooners did a good job of separating themselves from some of the other wannabes in the Big 12. They dominated TCU and then went on the road and nearly knocked off #1 Baylor. While they fell short in the latter game, Oklahoma, I think, showed themselves to be very clearly the next best team in the Big 12.
Biggest Fallers: Texas, Oklahoma State
- Texas lost a winnable game at home to Kansas, and they followed up that disappointment by being obliterated by West Virginia. They showed both an inability to close out big games, and their continued proclivity for being run out of the building – their 38-point loss to the Mountaineers was their fourth by 15+ points. The Longhorns have really played themselves out of the Big 12 picture. They’ll need a small miracle to even be considered on Selection Sunday.
- Oklahoma State is in a similar position to Texas. Entering conference play at 9-3, the Cowboys are now 9-9 with an ugly 0-6 conference mark. They’ve lost four of those games by double digits, and they have shown very little ability to win on the road or at home against conference opponents. I believe their 12-point loss to Texas at home was a true statement about where this team stands in the national and conference picture – they are not close to contention, and they won’t be this year.
- While the Big 12 has some top tier talent, I believe they have very little depth in the conference. I’m only confident in four teams making it to the Dance – Kansas, Baylor, West Virginia, and Texas Tech.
- Picking bubble teams is tough in this conference, but I’ll go with Oklahoma, Iowa State, and TCU, although I would not lay money down on those teams making it right now.
- I’m declaring 3 Big 12 teams done, as I simply don’t see a path to the tournament – beyond an unlikely conference championship – for Texas, Oklahoma State, or Kansas State.
Biggest Upcoming Games (BIG 12/SEC CHALLENGE)
- #1 Baylor @ Florida
- TCU @ Arkansas
- Tennessee @ #3 Kansas