By Ben Everett | Sports Writer
Every team in the Big 12 has played four games heading into the weekend, so let’s take a look at where each team stands as the conference race begins to sort itself out.
1. West Virginia (15-1, 4-0)
The Mountaineers escaped with a home win over Baylor despite a night of poor shooting from arguably their best player, Jevon Carter. With forward Esa Ahmad becoming eligible to play this weekend, WVU can take firm grasp of No. 1 in the conference with a win in Lubbock.
2. Oklahoma (13-2, 3-1)
Freshman sensation Trae Young still leads the nation in points per game and assists per game, and the OU offense will need him to continue his impressive play if they want a shot at the Big 12 title. The Sooners are 324th in the country in scoring defense, giving up 80 points per game.
3. Texas Tech (14-2, 3-1)
The Red Raiders showed they are a legitimate Top-10 team by blowing out Baylor and snagging their first ever win at Kansas’s Allen Fieldhouse. A loss on the road in Norman showed that Tech is still flawed, but expect Chris Beard’s squad to be in the conference race until the very end.
4. Kansas (13-3, 3-1)
The Jayhawks are in the midst of a down year, having lost at home twice already –– which is an absolute rarity. With two freshman big men still sidelined due to NCAA issues, Kansas is razor thin up front, but they are still able to win games because of their lights out perimeter game.
5. Baylor (11-5, 1-3)
There are no moral victories in the Big 12, but Baylor showed poise in a 57-54 loss at West Virginia. The emergence of Mark Vital as a playmaker and Jake Lindsey as a more consistent 3-point shooter should help the struggling offense, but Manu Lecomte needs to get back on track if the Bears want to compete for the conference crown.
6. TCU (13-3, 1-3)
The Horned Frogs have yet to play any of the bottom tier teams in the conference, hence the 1-3 record. TCU can rely on its efficient offense (fifth in KenPom adjusted offensive rating) to win games as it looks for the its first NCAA Tournament bid since 1998.
7. Texas (11-5, 2-2)
The Longhorns picked up a nice win over TCU Wednesday night in an emotional game after learning that sophomore guard Andrew Jones was diagnosed with Leukemia. With Jones, their leading scorer and best shooter, likely out for the season, Texas will struggle to find balance on offense.
8. Kansas State (12-4, 2-2)
The Wildcats have jumped out to a 2-2 record in conference play, averaging 76 points per game in Big 12 action. KSU’s next three opponents are Kansas, Oklahoma, and TCU.
9. Oklahoma State (11-5, 1-3)
Mike Boynton’s team prides themselves on playing tough, aggressive defense, but the Cowboys have not done that in conference games so far. OSU ranks ninth in the conference in adjusted defense, according to KenPom.
10. Iowa State (9-6, 0-4)
The Cyclones have weapons, as they always do, on offense. Freshman Lindell Wigginton put on a show in the 83-78 loss at Kansas, and Donovan Jackson showed he can shoot the lights out with a 6-for-14 shooting performance from three.