STANZ: Updating the Big 12 power rankings with eight games to play

Feb 4, 2023; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Texas Longhorns forward Timmy Allen (0) drives to the basket against Kansas State Wildcats forward Nae’Qwan Tomlin (35) during the second half at Bramlage Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve made it to the home stretch.

There’s still one month on the calendar and eight games left on the Big 12 schedule, but these next few weeks are going to fly as the conference title race continues to heat up.

We’ll be in Kansas City for the Big 12 Tournament exactly one month from this Wednesday. We will have no idea how these teams will be seeded or anything of that nature, but every night of Big 12 actions reminds us how great this year’s tournament could be.

Let’s get to the updated power rankings.

1 – Texas – 8-2

The Longhorns are now 12-3 since Rodney Terry took over as the program’s head coach in mid-December. Texas has won its last four Big 12 games since losing in Ames to take sole control of first place in the league. They’ve done so with a balanced attack that lends to someone different having a big night every time they step on the floor. They’ll get a big test tonight at Allen Fieldhouse.

This week: @ Kansas (Monday), vs. West Virginia (Saturday)

2 – Iowa State – 7-3

With the league’s best defense and the second-best offense, Iowa State has put itself in a position to contend for the league title until the final weeks. The Cyclones’ ability to win the league will likely come down to their ability to steal at least one win on the road in their last eight games. They’ve proven to be nearly unbeatable at Hilton Coliseum this season, and they’ll have four games in Ames this month, but they’ve got to go on the road to West Virginia, Kansas State, Texas and Baylor, too. Can they close the year at 5-3 or better?

This week: @ West Virginia (Wednesday), vs. Oklahoma State (Saturday)

3 – Kansas State – 6-4

The Wildcats have one of the league’s most favorable schedules to end the season. They’ve already played Kansas and Texas twice, which means Iowa State and Baylor are the only genuine contenders left on the slate, and both of those teams still have to visit Bramlage Coliseum. Their last four road games are at Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and West Virginia.

This week: vs. TCU (Tuesday), @ Texas Tech (Saturday)

4 – Baylor – 6-4

Since losing three straight to open Big 12 play, Scott Drew’s team has won seven of its last eight games to push its way back into league title contention. They’ll play seven of their last eight games against teams in the top-30 on KenPom. They still have to visit Lawrence and Manhattan before the season ends.

This week: vs. Oklahoma (Wednesday), @ TCU (Saturday)

5 – Kansas – 6-4

It has been a long time since Bill Self’s team sat this deep in the power rankings this late in the season, but this last six games stretch has proven this probably isn’t one of Self’s best teams. Jalen Wilson is undeniably great and has been the entire season, but the Jayhawks’ lack of depth, especially in the frontcourt, is concerning for their long-term prospects. A win tonight over Texas will keep the Jayhawks in the race, but a loss, especially at home, will have them on the outside looking in.

This week: vs. Texas (Monday), @ Oklahoma (Saturday)

6 – Oklahoma State – 5-5

The good news is Mike Boynton’s team has won five of its last six games and has put them back into NCAA Tournament contention. The Cowboys were the last team in the field in Joe Lundari’s most recent Bracketology released late last week. The bad news is the Cowboys still have to play every Big 12 contender besides Texas at least once more, and they still have to go to Ames, Fort Worth and Morgantown. This team needs to sweep Texas Tech and find a way to steal two more in their last eight to finish 9-9 and that should get them into the dance.

This week: vs. Texas Tech (Wednesday), @ Iowa State (Saturday)

7 – TCU – 6-4

This team’s injury luck (or lack thereof) makes me want to throw up. Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year Mike Miles has missed the last two games. Center Eddie Lampkin didn’t play in three of the team’s last four contests. How quickly does this group get back to full strength? Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma State proves how much they need those two guys in order to play their best ball. If they’re both out for an extended period of time, this team could get dangerously close to the bubble.

This week: @ Kansas State (Tuesday), vs. Baylor (Saturday)

8 – West Virginia – 3-7

The metrics still don’t make any sense to me, but despite being 3-7 in Big 12 play, the Mountaineers still sit at No. 14 nationally on KenPom. Bob Huggins’ team has won four of their last six and has a chance to pick up two significant wins this week. Road trips to Austin, Waco, Lawrence and Ames in the last eight don’t give much confidence. This team badly needs to win all its home games in order to stay in the NCAA Tournament field. They were one of the last four in Lundari’s most recent bracket projection.

This week: vs. Iowa State (Wednesday), @ Texas (Saturday)

9 – Oklahoma – 2-8

Since destroying Alabama in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, the Sooners have lost two in a row, bringing their current stretch to three wins in their last 11 games. They’ve lost their last three Big 12 games by 27 points, 10 points and 22 points, respectively. The Sooners’ continued struggles has to leave one wondering if Porter Moser would entertain calls from elsewhere in the offseason. Could he be a fit at Notre Dame with Mike Brey’s impending retirement?

This week: @ Baylor (Wednesday), vs. Kansas (Saturday)

10 – Texas Tech – 1-9

The Red Raiders picked up their first Big 12 win of the year in thrilling fashion last Monday then followed it up by losing by 27 points to Baylor on Saturday. It seemed like this team found a formula for success in that win over Iowa State, but I’m just not sure this team has enough quality talent to do much more than win another game or two the rest of the way. They’ll be a tough out for whoever gets them on the opening night in Kansas City, though, especially if they’re fully healthy by then.

This week: @ Oklahoma State (Wednesday), vs. Kansas State (Saturday)

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.