Big 12 Men’s Basketball Power Rankings for Week 17

Heartland College Sports – An Independent Big 12 Today Blog

The Big 12 men’s basketball season is now 17 weeks old and we’re coming down to the final week of the regular season.

Then, after that, we head to Kansas City for what could be the best Big 12 Basketball Tournament. It will certainly be the biggest — at least until next year when it the league swells to 16 teams.

 

After 17 weeks, we present our latest Big 12 men’s basketball power rankings for the 2023-24 season with four games remaining in conference play.

Tier One

1. Houston (26-3, 13-3) – Last Week — 1

2. Iowa State (23-6, 12-4) – Last Week — 2

The Cougars and Cyclones have already clinched double-byes in the Big 12 Tournament and the Cougars are the No. 1 team in the country. So after both posted 2-0 records last week, no changes here. More importantly, no one joins them on the tier. As I noted last week, these are the two best teams in the conference right now.

Tier Two

3. Baylor (21-8, 10-6) – Last Week — 7

4. BYU (21-8, 9-7) – Last Week — 6

5. Texas Tech (20-8, 9-7) – Last Week — 4

6. Kansas (21-8, 9-7) – Last Week — 3

Kansas is making it hard for me to justify keeping them on the second tier. The only way to look at it is they lost two teams that have been in the Top 25 most of the season. For that reason, Baylor and BYU move up to the top of this tier and Kansas doesn’t drop — for now.

 

Texas Tech stays here despite the lopsided loss to Texas. That, to me, was a disappointing game for many reasons for the Red Raiders. But the bounce-back win on Saturday pushed the Red Raiders to 20 wins for the season.

Kevin McCullar Jr. is back and played well for Kansas against Baylor. It wasn’t enough. Kansas has two games left and it has to keep McCullar right or the Jayhawks are going nowhere in the NCAA Tournament. For that matter, their stay in the Big 12 Tournament might be short, too.

Tier Three

7. Texas (19-10, 8-8) – Last Week — 9

8. TCU (19-10, 8-8) – Last Week — 5

Texas moves up a tier after winning two games last week, including a solid road win at Texas Tech. It was the surge the Longhorns needed to impress the committee and solidify their place in the NCAA Tournament. A split this week gives them 20 wins and should lock them in.

TCU is sitting on 19 wins but lost both Big 12 games last week. One more regular-season win SHOULD ensure an NCAA Tournament berth. But the Horned Frogs have been too inconsistent lately. There is an opportunity this week to get back moving in the right direction going into Kansas City.

 

Tier Four

9. Oklahoma (19-10, 7-9) – Last Week — 8

10. Cincinnati (17-12, 6-10) – Last Week — 11

11. Kansas State (17-12, 7-9) – Last Week — 10

I’m not totally convinced that Oklahoma is going to make the NCAA Tournament. At this point, the Sooners are the ninth team but they absolutely need at least one win this week. I am now convinced that, short of a big run in Kansas City, that both Kansas State and Cincinnati will miss the NCAA Tournament. Kansas State’s loss at Cincinnati on Saturday gave the Bearcats a bit of life and probably snuffed out the Wildcats.

Tier Five

12. UCF (15-13, 6-10) – Last Week — 13

13. Oklahoma State (12-17, 4-12) – Last Week — 12

14. West Virginia (9-20, 4-12) – Last Week — 14

UCF deserves an NIT berth regardless of whether it is one of the Top 2 Big 12 teams left out of the NCAA Tournament or not. I think the Knights could make a really nice run and set themselves up for next season.

OSU and WVU are playing out the string. The Mountaineers will have a new head coach soon enough. As for the Cowboys, I stand by my assessment that Mike Boynton Jr. gets one more year, but we’ll see.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.