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Big XII Standings & the Week Ahead Jan. 25-31

Team Record Week Ahead
1. Kansas

4 - 0

vs Missouri (Mon); at Kansas St (Sat)
2. Texas

3 - 1

vs. Texas Tech (Wed); vs. Baylor (Sat)
2. Missouri

3 - 1

at Kansas (Mon); vs. Oklahoma State (Sat)
4. Kansas St

3 - 2

at Baylor (Tue); vs. Kansas (Sat)
4. Texas A&M

3 - 2

at Oklahoma St. (Wed); vs. Texas Tech (Sat)
4. Oklahoma St.

3 - 2

vs.Texas A&M (Wed); at Missouri (Sat)
7. Baylor

2 - 2

vs. Kansas St. (Tue); at Texas (Sat)
8. Oklahoma

2 - 3

vs. Iowa St. (Wed); at Nebraska (Sat)
8. Texas Tech

2 - 3

at Texas (Wed); at Texas A&M (Sat)
10. Iowa St

1 - 3

at Oklahoma (Wed); vs. Colorado (Sat)
11. Colorado

1 - 4

vs. Nebraska (Wed); at Iowa State (Sat)
12. Nebraska

0 - 4

at Colorado (Wed); vs. Oklahoma (Sat)

Biggest Surprise from Last Week: Oklahoma State’s victory at Kansas State Going into the game, the Cowboys were just 1-3 in true road games, including an 0-2 mark in conference road games. The Wildcats must have spent a little too much time celebrating their Monday night victory over top-ranked Texas. After the win over the ‘Horns, Frank Martin’s team was positioned to challenge Kansas and Texas for the Big XII title. However, with road wins so difficult to achieve, protecting your home court becomes paramount. So, the Wildcats took one big step forward on Monday but an equally large step back on Saturday afternoon. As dissected below, K State now has their work cut out for them to get back near the top of the standings—starting with two toss-up games this week.

Team with Most Favorable Schedule: Texas. A week with two homes games couldn’t come at a better time for the Longhorns. Texas has not played to its potential in weeks, and home tilts with Texas Tech and then Baylor will hopefully set the ‘Horns back on track. Briefly, Texas needs a lot more from Dexter Pittman, and Pittman needs to help by playing tougher and smarter on both ends; Dogus Balbay must stay on the court and help Texas limit its turnovers and run its offense through Dexter and Damion James; the Texas bench, particularly Alexis Wangmene or Clint Chapman or Matt Hill, needs to find some toughness and regularly give Barnes 10-15 minutes of solid post play—rebounding and defending; J’Covan Brown and Jordan Hamilton need to take the next step and stop playing like freshman; and Barnes need to go with his 9-10 best (that means two of Wingman, Hill, and Chap are done).

Thoughts on the week ahead after the jump.

Team with Least Favorable Schedule: Kansas State.. Look out Wildcat fans, this is the week it could all come apart. A split this week would be acceptable as both games (at Baylor and vs. Kansas) are toss-up games. To win either game this week, K State must shoot the ball better—particularly from deep and from the free throw line. Having Jacob Pullen rebound from back to back 2-for-15 performances wouldn’t hurt either.

Post-season Outlook: Kansas, Texas, Kansas State, and Missouri remain as Tier I teams and NCAA tournament locks. Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M land as Tier II teams this week. Oklahoma was listed here last week, but after two roads losses, the Sooners slide down to Tier III. If the season ended today, Baylor would be in the NCAA tournament and OSU would be close. The Aggies bounced back with two wins last week and now sit above .500 in conference play. These three teams should battle the rest of the season to become the fifth and sixth NCAA tournament teams. A 9-7 record will get any of the three in the tourney. OU joins Texas Tech, Iowa State, Colorado, and Nebraska at the bottom of the conference.

Tier I teams are expected to win all home games as well as road games against Tier III teams. Games at Tier II teams are toss-ups. Road games vs other Tier I teams are projected losses.

Tier II teams are expected to defeat Tier II and III teams at home. Home games vs Tier I teams and road games vs Tier III teams are toss-ups. Games at Tier I and Tier II teams are projected losses.

Tier III teams are expected to defeat other Tier III teams at home. Home games vs. Tier II teams are toss-ups. All games vs Tier I teams and road games vs. Tier II and Tier III teams are projected losses.

Game of the Week: Saturday Kansas at Kansas St 6 pm ESPN Kansas is currently the top ranked team by Ken Pomeroy, will be the second ranked team by both polls on Monday, and is the lone undefeated team in the Big XII play. You don’t need me to tell you that they have quickly become the conference favorite. A win at Kansas State will further establish that thought as well as almost knock the Wildcats completely out of contention, depending on what has happened earlier in the week in Waco. On the other hand, a Kansas State win would help put the Longhorns and Jayhawks back on equal footing and make the February 8th match-up in Austin that much more important.