Kansas State continued its strong play on the road after knocking off Iowa State in Ames on Saturday.
After back-to-back wins on the road, the Wildcats slid back into the Top 10, checking in at No. 9 in both the Associated Press Top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.
The Wildcats remained a three seed in ESPN’s latest Bracketology report, and checked in at No. 7 in the RPI rankings with a strength of scheduled ranked No. 2 in the nation.
K-State was led this past week by senior point guard Denis Clemente who averaged 26.5 points in the two road wins while shooting 64.7 percent (11-of-17) from behind the three-point line.
Clemente was tabbed with Big 12 Player of the Week honors for the second time in his career following last week’s performance.
Throughout the rest of the Big 12, Texas A&M is surging once again while in-state rival Texas continues to slip in the rankings.
Here’s the latest look at my Big 12 Conference Power Rankings:
Team (record), (Previous power ranking)
1. Kansas (22-1, 8-0), (1) – The Jayhawks picked up a pair of wins over the bottom two teams in the conference, but not convincingly to say the least. KU got a favorable call against Colorado with 38 seconds left in regulation, and Sherron Collins hit one of two free throws to tie the game and send it in to overtime, where the Jayhawks pulled away. The return home to face Nebraska wasn’t as close, but another underwhelming performance from the No. 1 team has to raise more than a few eyebrows as Kansas gets set to take on No. 14 Texas in Austin tonight. Stat of the week: The Jayhawks starting five combined for just five fouls in their win against Nebraska, with only two players picking up those fouls (Cole Aldrich, 3; Xavier Henry, 2).
LAST WEEK: Def. Colorado, 72-66 (OT), Def. Nebraska, 75-64
NEXT GAMES: 2/8 @ Texas (19-4, 5-3), 2/13 vs. Iowa State (13-10, 2-6)
2. Kansas State (19-4, 6-3), (2) – The Wildcats improved to 6-1 on the road this season, including 4-1 in conference play. After losing to Kansas in such an emotionally charged game, K-State could have come out flat against Nebraska, but instead jumped on the Huskers early and dominated the game, winning by 19. The game in Ames was more challenging, as it usually is in Hilton Coliseum, where Iowa State was 10-3 going into the ballgame. The Cyclones lead at the break behind a solid performance from Craig Brackins, but an equally strong showing by Clemente led the Wildcats past Iowa State for a four point win. The win gave K-State back-to-back wins on the road for the second time this season in as many tries. The squad is off until Saturday when they return home to take on Colorado.
LAST WEEK: Def. Nebraska, 76-57, Def. Iowa State, 79-75
NEXT GAMES: 2/13 vs. Colorado (11-12, 2-7), 2/17 vs. Nebraska (13-10, 1-7)
3. Texas A&M (17-6, 6-3), (7) – The Aggies arguably had the best week in the conference after picking up their first conference road win of the season, snapping Missouri’s 32-game homecourt winning streak. A&M then returned home to knock off 24th ranked Baylor by seven. The Aggies have won five of their last six games, and have lost just once since dropping back-to-back road games to Texas and Kansas State. This week’s slate for the Aggies could be very telling with a road game in Lubbock and a home game against top-ranked Kansas.
LAST WEEK: Def. Missouri, 77-74, Def. Baylor, 78-71
NEXT GAMES: 2/13 @ Texas Tech (15-7, 3-5), 2/15 vs. Kansas (22-1, 8-0)
4. Baylor (17-5, 4-4), (3) – The Bears continue to be a strong contender in the Big 12, but have now slipped to the middle of the pack in the conference standings with a .500 record in Big 12 play. After a 21-point win over Iowa State, Baylor fell short in a seven-point road loss to a resurgent Texas A&M squad. Of the Bears final eight games, five include teams that have a losing record in conference play, which sets the team up to finish the season strong and make a run for a favorable seed in the NCAA Tournament.
LAST WEEK: Def. Iowa State, 84-63, Lost to Texas A&M, 78-71
NEXT GAMES: 2/10 @ Nebraska (13-10, 1-7), 2/13 vs. Missouri (17-6, 5-3)
5. Missouri (17-6, 5-3), (5) – The Tigers 32-game home winning streak was snapped last week in a three-point loss to Texas A&M, but Missouri shook off the loss with an 18-point win in Boulder. After opening up conference play 2-0, the Tigers have yet to string together consecutive wins. They will have an excellent chance when Iowa State comes to Columbia this Wednesday. Four of Missouri’s final seven games are on the road where they are just 2-4 on the season, with those wins coming in overtime to Texas Tech, and the other to Colorado.
LAST WEEK: Lost to Texas A&M, 77-74, Def. Colorado, 84-66
NEXT GAMES: 2/10 vs. Iowa State (13-10, 2-6), 2/13 @ Baylor (17-5, 4-4)
6. Texas (19-4, 5-3), (4) – The Longhorns fall from the top continued Saturday when Texas looked sluggish and overmatched against a bad Oklahoma team. UT has lost four of their last six games after starting the season 17-0 and being ranked No. 1 in the country. The Longhorns chance to redeem themself comes tonight in a home matchup with top-ranked Kansas.
LAST WEEK: Def. Oklahoma State, 72-60, Lost to Oklahoma, 80-71
NEXT GAMES: 2/08 vs. Kansas (22-1, 8-0), 2/13 vs. Nebraska (13-10, 1-7)
7. Oklahoma State (16-7, 4-5), (6) – The Cowboys have lost three straight games in conference play after winning three straight prior. The Pokes last three losses have come by an average of 14.3 points, including a 16-point loss at Texas Tech on Saturday. Despite the poor play and sub .500 record in conference play, ESPN’s latest Bracketology report still has the Cowboys in the Field of 65 as a 12 seed.
LAST WEEK: Lost to Texas, 72-60, Lost to Texas Tech, 81-74
NEXT GAME: 2/13 vs. Oklahoma (13-9, 4-4), 2/17 @ Iowa State (13-10, 2-6)
8. Texas Tech (15-7, 3-5), (8) – The Red Raiders improved to 13-1 at home on the season with 16-point win over Oklahoma State on Saturday. Tech will play four of their final eight games at home, but the slate gets a little tougher with Texas A&M, Texas, K-State and Baylor being the four teams that will make the trip to Lubbock.
LAST WEEK: Def. Oklahoma State, 81-74
NEXT GAMES: 2/09 @ Oklahoma (13-9, 4-4), 2/13 vs. Texas A&M (17-6, 6-3)
9. Oklahoma (13-9, 4-4), (12) – After losing by 19 points at Nebraska the Saturday prior, the Sooners returned home to beat Texas by nine. Of the Sooners final eight games, five come against teams in the top six of the conference. Three of those games will be played in Norman.
LAST WEEK: Def. Texas, 80-71
NEXT GAMES: 2/09 vs. Texas Tech (15-7, 3-5), 2/13 @ Oklahoma State (16-7, 4-5)
10. Iowa State (13-10, 2-6), (9) – The Cyclones road struggles continued with a 21-point loss to Baylor before Iowa State dropped just their fourth game at home on the season with a four-point loss to K-State. Things won’t get any easier as the Cyclones hit the road for back-to-back games against Missouri and Kansas.
LAST WEEK: Lost to Baylor, 84-63, Lost to Kansas State, 79-75
NEXT GAMES: 2/10 @ Missouri (17-6, 5-3), 2/13 @ Kansas (22-1, 8-0)
11. Colorado (11-12, 2-7), (10) – The Buffaloes nearly pulled one of the biggest upsets of the year before finally falling to Kansas in overtime, then losing big at home to Missouri. Colorado has the week off before travelling to Manhattan to take on No. 9 Kansas State.
LAST WEEK: Lost to Kansas, 72-66 (OT), Lost to Missouri, 84-66
NEXT GAMES: 2/13 @ Kansas State (19-4, 6-3), 2/17 vs. Oklahoma (13-9, 4-4)
12. Nebraska (13-10, 1-7), (11) –The Huskers didn’t find success against teams from the Sunflower State after losing by 19 to K-State in Lincoln before falling to KU in Lawrence by 11. Nebraska returns home to take on Baylor, before hitting the road to take on Texas.
LAST WEEK: Lost to Kansas State, 76-57, Lost to Kansas, 75-64
NEXT GAMES: 2/10 vs. Baylor (17-5, 4-4), 2/13 @ Texas (19-4, 5-3)
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