When it comes to the most talented and competitive conferences in college basketball, the Big 12 consistently ranks at the top of the pack. Even when March Madness is officially over and a National Champion has been crowned, the question of who was the best during the season is still highly debatable. It’s just too difficult to determine who had the easier route to the championship game and which teams got lucky or unlucky.
Instead, I like to look at a body of work. For today we are going to take a hard look at the teams in the Big 12 conference and give some predictions on how we feel the final rankings will shake out.
The stand out this year is without question Baylor, who have at this point in the season gone undefeated, posting a record of 15-0. The debate of who is the top team will be settled when Baylor heads to Kansas on the first day of February, which will leave Kansas with a distinct edge, as they will be able to play in front of their rowdy fan base.
That’s because Kansas is right on the heels of the Bears. They have lost just one of their fifteen games thus far and have a proven track record in the postseason. The Kansas Jayhawks made it all the way to the National Championship game just five years ago, narrowly losing to Kentucky. Back in 2008, Kansas made an incredible run through the tournament and ended up winning a National Title, which truly puts them as the favorite when it comes to handling the mounting pressure that comes with performing in March.
West Virginia and Kansas State are making strong pushes for themselves, as they have each won thirteen games this season, while suffering two losses a piece.
Texas Tech and TCU are the two other teams that have a viable chance this season to do some real damage, as they have only suffered three losses at this point in time.
The Big 12 is likely going to come down to being able to win big games on the road, with Baylor having one of the biggest opportunities to declare their dominance in February. Five of the top teams in the Big 12 this season have not had a loss at home, indicating that most teams in the Big 12 have a stronger propensity to show up when they are in front of their fans.
If Baylor can roll into Kansas and take them down on their home court, assuming that they continue their winning streak over the next several weeks, it would give them a two game advantage heading into the final stages of the season.
On the other hand, if Kansas does what it highly expected of them, they will shut the door on Baylor and even things out with a single loss per team. The top seed in the Big 12 is most likely going to come down to this crucial game, with things truly looking bright for Kansas at this point in time. They have won their last fourteen games, after suffering a loss early in the season.
The Jayhawks have just wrapped up convincing wins over TCU, Kansas State and Texas Tech, who are all exciting teams in the division. With conference play coming into full swing over the next few weeks, Kansas looks to be the team to beat, based on the fact that they have home court advantage and a strong winning streak. However, Baylor has proven in the past that they are a team to be reckoned with, so don’t be shocked if they roll into Kansas and continue their undefeated season.