Big 12 Power Rankings: Week of Feb. 22 - Feb. 28
1. No. 2 BAYLOR (18-1, 10-1) Last Rank (LR): 1
THIS WEEK: W 77-72 vs ISU, L 71-58 @ KU
Prior to this week, Baylor hadn't played a game in 20 days. Prior to those 20 days, Scott Drew's team won eight out of their nine conference games by double-digits, with the only single-digit win being a victory over Texas Tech in Lubbock.
When it came time to play Iowa State, there was clearly rust involved and they struggled to put the Cyclones away. The five-point win was the smallest margin of victory for Baylor all season.
After a mid-week matchup with West Virginia was canceled, the Bears battled in Lawrence but the rust was still apparent. Kansas dealt the No. 2 team in the nation its first loss of the year.
Baylor will hope to avoid more hiccups, so they can finish their season with 14 conference games. Regardless, the Bears will claim the regular season Big 12 title next week unless West Virginia wins the remainder of their contests.
Their mission will be to get back to mid-season form before the NCAA tournament begins.
NEXT UP: @ WVU, vs OSU, vs TTU
2. No. 10 WEST VIRGINIA (17-6, 10-4) LR: 3
THIS WEEK: W 74-66 @ TCU, W 65-43 vs KSU
West Virginia took care of business against a couple of the Big 12's worst.
TCU gave them a few fits, but the Mountaineers left Fort Worth with a win. Back in Morgantown over the weekend, Bob Huggins put it on a short-handed Kansas State team for the second time this season.
West Virginia may have had it easy this week, but coming up is a three-game week for them (all at home), with a couple tough ones versus Baylor and Oklahoma State.
If they can get through the week undefeated, the Mountaineers will claim the Big 12 regular season championship.
NEXT UP: vs BU, vs TCU, vs OSU
3. No. 17 KANSAS (18-8, 12-6) LR: 4
THIS WEEK: L 75-72 @ UT, W 71-58 vs BU
Kansas is the first team in the Big 12 to finish their conference schedule, and they can feel good about going out on a win over the best of the best in the league and country in Baylor.
Even if the Bears were rusty, it is the best win in the Big 12 and will certainly help the Jayhawks come Selection Sunday time.
They probably could have jumped West Virginia in my power rankings but losing in Austin held them back from doing so. It would have been their best week of the season had they won.
Second place in the conference is still alive for the Jayhawks, but it is dependent on how West Virginia finishes down the stretch.
Less than a week ago, Kansas scheduled UTEP for a bout on March 4. Bill Self's team wanted to add one non-conference game to the end of their regular season schedule so they can keep their rhythm going into the Big 12 tournament the following week.
NEXT UP: vs UTEP
4. OKLAHOMA STATE (16-6, 9-6) LR: 6
THIS WEEK: W 74-69 vs TTU, W 94-90 @ OU
Oklahoma State has won four games in a row, with this week being the Cowboys' most impressive two wins in one week.
Knocking off Texas Tech to sweep them in the season series was eye-opening, but taking down Oklahoma in Norman after the Sooners came off their worst loss of the season was great.
Coming up is going to be the truest test of them all, as Mike Boynton's Cowboys get set to battle Oklahoma (again), Baylor and West Virginia all in a week.
NEXT UP: vs OU, @ BU, @ WVU
5. No. 18 TEXAS TECH (15-8, 7-7) LR: 5
THIS WEEK: L 74-69 @ OSU, W 68-59 vs UT
Texas Tech's loss to Oklahoma State hurt, but beating Texas at home by nine was a good way to end the week.
Chris Beard's team has had an uneven season.
They haven't been great, but they've been solid. The reason they are able to stay at No. 5 and watch Oklahoma fall behind them is because they have swept the Sooners in the season series, combined with a really bad week for Lon Kruger's club.
NEXT UP: vs TCU, vs ISU, @ BU
6. No. 7 OKLAHOMA (14-7, 9-6) LR: 2
THIS WEEK: L 62-57 @ KSU, L 94-90 vs OSU
Oklahoma took a big tumble this week.
The Sooners' loss to Kansas State will likely go down as the worst loss in the Big 12 this season. They desperately needed to beat Oklahoma State to keep their Big 12 championship hopes alive.
Losing twice in the final two weeks of conference play has dampened what Kruger had rolling, but he and his squad can avenge themselves a little by knocking off Oklahoma State and Texas.
NEXT UP: @ OSU, vs UT
7. No. 14 TEXAS (14-7, 8-6) LR: 7
THIS WEEK: W 75-72 vs KU, L 68-59 @ TTU
Texas finished the month of February with an uninspiring 3-4 record. The win against Kansas this week was their best win of the month, but then they laid an egg in Lubbock.
This team is too experienced and talented to really have any excuses to not finish in the top half of the league.
The final three games are favorable ones, outside of them all being away and the matchup with Oklahoma is tough. But they still have a good chance to finish in the top five of the final league standings, but there isn't room for any error.
Regardless, Shaka Smart and Texas are going to have to have a special postseason run, and if they don't, the heat will be turned up even more this offseason.
It comes with the territory in Austin, but they have missed the mark on overall expectations after a really poor month of February.
NEXT UP: @ ISU, @ OU, @ TCU
8. TCU (12-10, 5-8) LR: 8
THIS WEEK: L 74-66 vs WVU, W 76-72 @ ISU
TCU was close to falling to ninth in the power rankings, but they escaped Ames with a four-point win.
The Horned Frogs will likely miss a tournament bid after a very up-and-mostly down season. Jamie Dixon's group will be underdogs in each of their three games to complete the regular season.
NEXT UP: @ TTU, @ WVU, vs UT
9. KANSAS STATE (7-19, 3-14) LR: 9
THIS WEEK: W 62-57 vs OU, L 65-43 @ WVU
Kansas State nabbed their best win of the season by knocking off No. 7 Oklahoma on Tuesday.
Nijel Pack was made unavailable in the following game, giving the Wildcats a very slim shot at competing with West Virginia. They did well in the first half until everything crumbled in the second half. taking their third double-digit loss of the month.
February was the most promising month for Bruce Weber and his young team, but there is still more to prove, including what should be a win at home against the Cyclones on Saturday.
NEXT UP: vs ISU
10. IOWA STATE (2-18, 0-15) LR: 10
THIS WEEK: L 77-72 @ BU, L 76-72 vs TCU
Iowa State is on the verge of what has to be one of the worst seasons ever in Big 12 basketball.
They have played 15 conference games and lost every single one of them. This week, their opponents will all be favored, in which case could make for a winless campaign from Steve Prohm and company.
They have competed with some of the best in the Big 12 throughout the year, but they have yet to ever cap it off a win. If they really want to get that sour taste out of their mouths, they'll find a win before the season is over.
NEXT UP: vs UT, @ TTU, @ KSU