Advertisement

Future Big 12 basketball power rankings: There are even more shakeups after entertaining week

Houston’s Ja’Vier Francis (5) celebrates during an NCAA college basketball game against Central Florida on Jan. 20, 2024. No. 4 Houston plays at No. 21 BYU Tuesday night.
Houston’s Ja’Vier Francis (5) celebrates during an NCAA college basketball game against Central Florida on Jan. 20, 2024. No. 4 Houston plays at No. 21 BYU Tuesday night. | David J. Phillip, Associated Press

Editor’s note: Each week during the remainder of the 2023-24 men’s college basketball season, the Deseret News will release power rankings that take a look at the 16 teams that will make up the Big 12 Conference beginning with the 2024 season.

The rankings do not include Texas and Oklahoma — as those schools are leaving for the SEC next year — but do include Utah, Arizona, Arizona State and Colorado, the four Pac-12 teams joining the league next season.


Hello, Houston. What happened, Kansas?

Oh, and keep it up, Kansas State and Arizona.

The third week of January provided another round of parity and entertaining matchups for the schools that will be members of the Big 12 next season.

That entertainment extended to the Utah schools — BYU went 1-1 against a pair of top-25 teams, while Utah earned a sweep, including finally knocking off nemesis Oregon.

Here’s the latest power rankings for the 16 teams who will make up the Big 12 next season, following the third week of January.


1. Houston Cougars (16-2, 3-2 Big 12)

Poll movement: Climbed four spots.

Last week: Beat then-No. 25 Texas Tech, 77-54; beat UCF, 57-42.

This week: Tuesday at No. 21 BYU; Saturday vs. Kansas State.

The Cougars got back on track with a couple of blowout victories, including an impressive — even by their standards — defensive showing against UCF where the Knights shot just 15.9% from the floor.

2. Kansas Jayhawks (16-3, 4-2 Big 12)

Poll movement: Dropped one spot.

Last week: Beat Oklahoma State, 90-66; lost to West Virginia, 91-85.

This week: Beat Cincinnati, 74-69; Saturday at No. 23 Iowa State.

The Jayhawks had another surprising loss, falling on the road against the Mountaineers. A solid test comes Saturday, when Kansas visits the Cyclones.

3. Arizona Wildcats (14-4, 5-2 Pac-12)

Poll movement: Climbed three spots.

Last week: Beat USC, 82-67; beat UCLA, 77-71.

This week: Thursday at Oregon State; Saturday at Oregon.

The Wildcats picked up a pair of wins over the Los Angeles schools, though they needed a big rally to come back against the Bruins. A difficult road trip through Oregon awaits.

4. Baylor Bears (14-4, 3-2 Big 12)

Poll movement: Dropped two spots.

Last week: Lost to Kansas State, 68-64; lost to Texas, 75-73.

This week: Saturday vs. TCU.

Baylor’s two losses last week — both in tight games on the road — show just how slim the margin for error is in the Big 12. The Bears have a slight break this week before their Saturday tilt.

Kansas State’s Jevon Thomas, right, drives past Baylor’s Johnathan Motley, left, and Lester Medford, center, on Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015, in Waco, Texas. Baylor won 69-42. | Rod Aydelotte, Associated Press
Kansas State’s Jevon Thomas, right, drives past Baylor’s Johnathan Motley, left, and Lester Medford, center, on Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015, in Waco, Texas. Baylor won 69-42. | Rod Aydelotte, Associated Press

5. Kansas State Wildcats (14-4, 4-1 Big 12)

Poll movement: Climbed six spots.

Last week: Beat then-No. 9 Baylor, 68-64; beat Oklahoma State, 70-66.

This week: Wednesday at No. 23 Iowa State; Saturday at No. 4 Houston.

The Wildcats had another impressive week and find themselves atop the Big 12 standings, along with Texas Tech. Two big road games await this week, though.

6. Iowa State Cyclones (14-4, 3-2 Big 12)

Poll movement: Dropped two spots.

Last week: Lost to then-No. 20 BYU, 87-72; beat then-No. 19 TCU, 73-72.

This week: Wednesday vs. Kansas State; Saturday vs. No. 7 Kansas.

The Cyclones split a pair of games against top-25 opponents on the road. They’ll stay at home this week, though Kansas visits on Saturday.

7. TCU Horned Frogs (13-5, 2-3 Big 12)

Poll movement: Dropped four spots.

Last week: Lost to Cincinnati, 81-77; lost to then-No. 24 Iowa State, 73-72.

This week: Tuesday at Oklahoma State; Saturday at No. 15 Baylor.

The Horned Frogs, like Baylor, were unfortunate to come out on the losing end of a pair of close games last week. They’ll have to bounce back on the road this week.

8. Texas Tech Red Raiders (15-3, 4-1 Big 12)

Poll movement: Dropped one spot.

Last week: Lost to then-No. 5 Houston, 77-54; beat then-No. 20 BYU, 85-78.

This week: Saturday at No. 11 Oklahoma.

The Red Raiders could have easily dropped two games against top-25 teams, but they impressively rallied from a 16-point second-half deficit to beat BYU. There’s only one game this week, but it’s a tough one at the Sooners.

BYU’s Atiki Ally Atiki (4) blocks the shot of Iowa State’s Robert Jones (12) Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024, in Provo, Utah. | George Frey, Associated Press
BYU’s Atiki Ally Atiki (4) blocks the shot of Iowa State’s Robert Jones (12) Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024, in Provo, Utah. | George Frey, Associated Press

9. BYU Cougars (14-4, 2-3 Big 12)

Poll movement: No change.

Last week: Beat then-No. 24 Iowa State, 87-72; lost to then-No. 25 Texas Tech, 85-78.

This week: Tuesday vs. No. 4 Houston; Saturday vs. Texas.

The Cougars got the most impressive win on their NCAA résumé thus far, beating top-10 NET program Iowa State, though they blew a 16-point second-half lead against the Red Raiders.

Related

BYU stays at home this week, though Big 12 newcomer Houston will provide an especially difficult test to kick things off.

10. Cincinnati Bearcats (13-6, 2-4 Big 12)

Poll movement: Dropped two spots.

Last week: Beat then-No. 19 TCU, 81-77; lost to then-No. 15 Oklahoma, 69-65.

This week: Lost to No. 7 Kansas, 74-69; Saturday vs. UCF.

The Bearcats got an impressive win over TCU and had their chances against the Sooners. They also hung strong with the Jayhawks and will welcome UCF this Saturday.

Utah’s Keba Keita attempts a basket against Oregon Ducks center N’Faly Dante at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Jan. 21, 2024. The Utes won 80-77. | Marielle Scott, Deseret News
Utah’s Keba Keita attempts a basket against Oregon Ducks center N’Faly Dante at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Jan. 21, 2024. The Utes won 80-77. | Marielle Scott, Deseret News

11. Utah Runnin’ Utes (14-5, 5-3 Pac-12)

Poll movement: Climbed two spots.

Last week: Beat Oregon State, 74-47; beat Oregon, 80-77.

This week: Wednesday at Washington State; Saturday at Washington.

The Runnin’ Utes had arguably the best week in the Pac-12 — not only did they break an 11-game losing skid to Oregon, but the victory over the Ducks moved Utah within a half-game of first place in the Pac-12 standings.

Related

Utah still has yet to show it can win on the road in conference play, and now is a critical time to show it can win away from the Huntsman Center after three straight unsuccessful attempts.

12. Colorado Buffaloes (14-5, 5-3 Pac-12)

Poll movement: Climbed two spots.

Last week: Beat Oregon, 86-70; beat Oregon State, 90-57.

This week: Wednesday at Washington; Saturday at Washington State.

The Buffaloes moved back into a strong position in the Pac-12 standings after two impressive wins over the Oregon schools. Like Utah, they’ll have big tests on a Washington road trip this week.

13. UCF Knights (11-6, 2-3 Big 12)

Poll movement: Dropped three spots.

Last week: Beat Texas, 77-71; lost to then-No. 5 Houston, 57-42.

This week: Tuesday vs. West Virginia; Saturday at Cincinnati.

The Knights earned another impressive win, beating the Longhorns before Houston shut them down. UCF has a couple of winnable, but difficult, games this week.

T14. Arizona State Sun Devils (11-7, 5-2 Pac-12)

Poll movement: Dropped two spots.

Last week: Lost to UCLA, 68-66; beat USC, 82-67.

This week: Thursday at Oregon; Saturday at Oregon State.

The Sun Devils started last week with a tough home loss to the Bruins but rebounded nicely against the Trojans. Thursday’s game at Oregon will test how improved Arizona State is.

T14. West Virginia Mountaineers (7-11, 2-3 Big 12)

Poll movement: Climbed one spot.

Last week: Lost to then-No. 15 Oklahoma, 77-63; beat then-No. 3 Kansas, 91-85.

This week: Tuesday at UCF; Saturday at Oklahoma State.

The Mountaineers pulled off a stunner, knocking off Kansas one week after beating Texas. This is for sure: West Virginia is good enough to spoil some top teams’ plans.

16. Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-10, 0-5 Big 12)

Poll movement: No change.

Last week: Lost to then-No. 3 Kansas, 90-66; lost to Kansas State, 70-66.

This week: Tuesday vs. TCU; Saturday vs. West Virginia.

It’s been a rough go for the Cowboys during the conference season, but Oklahoma State does get two home games this week.