Editor's note: Each week, Yahoo! Sports college basketball writer Jason King will rank teams in each of the Big Six conferences plus the best of the rest. Thursday's entry – The Big 12 Conference.
(Through March 4 games)
Kansas can claim the outright Big 12 title by defeating Texas on Saturday. Still, the biggest conference games of the weekend will be played in Norman and College Station.
With the NCAA tournament just two weeks away, the Big 12 remains hopeful that it will have six schools in the 65-team field. Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas are locks, while Oklahoma State and Texas A&M are still on shaky ground.
The Cowboys and Aggies could greatly enhance their tournament status by winning Saturday – but it won't be easy. Oklahoma State has to travel to Norman to face the fourth-ranked Sooners, while Texas A&M plays host to a Missouri squad that has defeated both Kansas and Oklahoma.
Oklahoma State and Texas A&M will be underdogs, but in the Big 12, that hasn't meant much.
Now on to the rankings. Last week's rank in parenthesis.
|Sherron Collins missed 16 of his 19 shots and Cole Aldrich made just one field goal in a stunning 84-65 loss at Texas Tech on Wednesday. Even with the loss, the Jayhawks clinched a share of the league title thanks to Missouri's victory over Oklahoma. Kansas can win the championship outright by defeating Texas on Saturday in Lawrence. (1)|
|Wednesday's 73-64 victory over No. 4 Oklahoma gives Missouri an 18-0 record at home. The Tigers forced 22 turnovers in the victory. To claim a share of the Big 12 title, Mike Anderson's squad needs to defeat Texas A&M in College Station Saturday and then hope Kansas loses at home to Texas. (3)|
|The Sooners might have cost themselves a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament by losing to Missouri. Blake Griffin had 16 points and 21 rebounds for a Sooners squad that has lost three of its last four games. A victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday – coupled with a Kansas loss – would earn the Sooners a share of the league title. (2)|
|4.||Oklahoma State |
|The Cowboys are the hottest team in the Big 12, as Tuesday's win over Kansas State was their sixth straight. A victory over Oklahoma in Saturday's regular-season finale would solidify their NCAA tournament hopes, although the Cowboys could still get in with a win or two in the Big 12 Tournament. (7)|
|Lost amid the frustration of the Longhorns' subpar play the past few months has been the success of forward Damion James, who has posted double-doubles in eight of his last 11 games. James is averaging 15.5 points and 11.5 rebounds during that span. (4)|
|6.||Texas A&M |
|The Aggies have won five straight heading into their final regular-season game against Missouri. Senior Josh Carter – quiet for most of the season – is averaging 19.5 points in his last four games, including a 57-55 victory at Nebraska in which he hit the game-winner. (6)|
|7.||Kansas State |
|The Wildcats' NCAA tournament hopes were likely dashed in Tuesday's 77-71 loss to Oklahoma State. Still, a victory over Colorado on Saturday would put Kansas State above .500 in Big 12 play, which is more than most expected from the Wildcats. (5)|
|Ade Dagunduro is one of the more underrated players in the Big 12. The senior forward tied a career-high with 24 points in Wednesday's victory over Iowa State and has now scored in double figures in 10 of his last 11 games. A nice run in the NIT would be a huge momentum boost for Doc Sadler's squad. (8)|
|9.||Texas Tech |
|It was tough not to feel good for Alan Voskuil in Wednesday's 84-65 upset of No. 9 Kansas. In his final home game, Voskuil scored a career-high 35 points and connected on 9 of 14 attempts from 3-point range to give the Red Raiders their biggest win under Pat Knight. (9)|
|10.||Iowa State |
|Considering they'll lose just one senior starter off the current squad, the Cyclones could be much improved next season if everyone returns. But sophomore forward Craig Brackins has been projected as a first-round pick in this summer's NBA draft. (10)|
|Should be an emotional afternoon in Waco on Saturday when the Bears honor seniors Mamadou Diene, Curtis Jerrells, Henry Dugat and Kevin Rogers. Disappointing as this season has been, that foursome did a lot to repair the image of Baylor basketball in the wake of the Patrick Dennehy tragedy. (12)|
|Wednesday's loss to Texas A&M was the 10th in a row for the Buffaloes, who lose just one senior in Jermyl Jackson-Wilson. This will be Colorado's third straight last-place finish in the Big 12 standings. Cory Higgins is averaging 17.3 points. (11)|