Big 12 Basketball Power Rankings: Houston Cut Above Rest

Jan 28, 2024, 1:26 PM

Big 12 Basketball, Power Rankings, Houston, BYU...

Houston Cougars regain No. 1 spot in the latest KSL Sports Big 12 Basketball power rankings after another perfect week. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – Big 12 basketball continues to live up to the hype. The games in this league continue to deliver results that have us ripping up what we thought we knew about this league.

Kirk Bohls from the Austin American Statesman probably put it best that you could rank 12 of the teams in this year’s league as the best. There’s a lot of parity.

But there is one team that is separating themselves from the rest, and that’s the Houston Cougars.

Big 12 Basketball Power Rankings: Week 13 Edition

Take a look at the Week 13 Big 12 basketball power rankings.

1. Houston (18-2, 5-2 Big 12)

Last Week

  • Houston 75, BYU 68 (Road Win)
  • Houston 74, Kansas State 52

This Week

  • Monday, January 29: at Texas
  • Saturday, February 3: at Kansas

Houston pulled out its first Big 12 road win at BYU in one of the loudest environments people have heard inside the Marriott Center.

Then they rolled through K-State with ease. Houston has won three of its four home games in league play by more than 20 points. The other was a 15-point win where they held UCF to 7-of-48 from the field.

But now the Coogs leave the intimate Fertitta Center for hostile road environments at Texas on Big Monday and the much-anticipated showdown against Kansas in Phog Allen on Saturday.

2. Texas Tech (16-3, 5-1 Big 12)

Last Week

  • Texas Tech 85, Oklahoma 84 (Road Win)

This Week

  • Tuesday, January 30: at TCU
  • Saturday, February 3: vs. Cincinnati

The favorite for Big 12 Coach of the Year has to be Grant McCasland. He’s already notched two road wins and has the Red Raiders atop the Big 12 standings at 5-1.

How long can they continue living on the edge like this? We will see.

But if the Red Raiders keep getting career performances, the wins will continue.

Junior guard Chance McMillian scored a career-high 27 points off the bench in the win at Oklahoma.

3. Iowa State (16-4, 5-2 Big 12)

Last Week

  • Iowa State 78, Kansas State 67
  • Iowa State 79, Kansas 75

This Week

  • Saturday, February 3: at Baylor

Iowa State had a pair of big home wins, but they were overshadowed by accusations that the Cyclones were spying on the K-State bench in Wednesday’s win.

Head Coach T.J. Otlzelberger addressed the claims after Saturday’s win on network TV over Kansas in his opening remarks.

Otzelberger said he was angry that someone would even make that suggestion about his program.

Regardless, the Cyclones are trending up and have won three in a row and five of their last six. Plus, star guard Tamin Lipsey is healthy after getting banged up in the loss at BYU two weeks ago.

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

Last Week

  • Kansas 74, Cincinnati 69
  • Iowa State 79, Kansas 75 (Road Loss)

This Week

  • Tuesday, January 30: vs. Oklahoma State
  • Saturday, February 3: vs. Houston

Kansas is off to its worst seven-game start in Big 12 play since Bill Self became the head coach. Self is in his 21st year on the Jayhawks bench.

Kansas sits at 4-3 in league play after dropping another road game at Iowa State.

The Jayhawks were down by 12 with 10 minutes remaining in the game. As they always do, they rallied to make it interesting. But the minutes being logged to the starting five have to be a concern as the calendar turns to February.

Four of Kansas’ five starters logged 35 minutes or more at Iowa State. The Kansas bench scored only two points compared to ISU, who had 18 points in the second unit.

5. TCU (15-5, 4-3 Big 12)

Last Week

  • TCU 74, Oklahoma State 69 (Road Win)
  • TCU 105, Baylor 102 (3OT, Road Win)

This Week

  • Tuesday, January 30: vs. Texas Tech
  • Saturday, February 3: vs. Texas

Putting together a 2-0 week in Big 12 basketball is significant. To get both wins on the road is nearly unheard of.

TCU had a remarkable triple-overtime win on Saturday over Baylor in Waco. It was the first triple-overtime game since 2019 in the conference.

Jameer Nelson Jr. was outstanding, scoring a season-high 30 points off the bench. The Horned Frogs defense locked up Baylor’s high-powered three-point shooting to only 22% in the win.

6. Baylor (14-5, 3-3 Big 12)

Last Week

  • TCU 105, Baylor 102 (3OT, Home Loss)

This Week

  • Wednesday, January 31: at UCF
  • Saturday, February 3: vs. Iowa State

Baylor is suddenly on a three-game losing streak after dropping a triple-overtime thriller at home to TCU. The little things buried Baylor as they didn’t box out.

The promising takeaway for Baylor from the loss was that Yves Missi had his best game in Big 12 play with 25 points and nine rebounds.

7. BYU (15-5, 3-4 Big 12)

Last Week

  • Houston 75, BYU 68 (Home Loss)
  • BYU 84, Texas 72

This Week

  • Saturday, February 3: at West Virginia

It was a strong week for BYU as they showed well against the league’s top team, then knocked off a surging Texas team by double-figures. BYU forward Fousseyni Traore is back from a hamstring injury. He unlocks the physical presence in the post they have been lacking since he suffered the injury in November.

8. Kansas State (14-6, 4-3 Big 12)

Last Week

  • Iowa State 78, K-State 67 (Road Game)
  • Houston 74, K-State 52 (Road Game)

This Week

  • Tuesday, January 30: vs. Oklahoma
  • Saturday, February 3: at Oklahoma State

It was an eventful week for Kansas State despite dropping two road games by double figures. As mentioned above, there were spying rumors at Iowa State, and then head coach Jerome Tang was candid about Big 12 officials after being charged with a technical at Houston.

9. Texas (14-6, 3-4 Big 12)

Last Week

  • Texas 75, Oklahoma 60 (Road Win)
  • BYU 84, Texas 72

This Week

  • Monday, January 29: vs. Houston
  • Saturday, February 3: at TCU

Despite the loss at BYU, Texas is trending up. They have their entire collection of personnel back from various injuries, so the Longhorns will be a tough out.

10. Cincinnati (14-6, 3-4 Big 12)

Last Week

  • Kansas 74, Cincinnati 69
  • Cincinnati 68, UCF 57

This Week

  • Wednesday, January 31: at West Virginia
  • Saturday, February 3: at Texas Tech

The Bearcats bounced back from an early onslaught at Kansas and made the Jayhawks work for a full 40 minutes. Then, they returned home to knock off UCF.

Dan Skillings continues to have big games. In the win over UCF, he was in the reshuffled starting five with Viktor Lahkin out due to an illness. Skillings scored 21 points and had seven rebounds.

11. Oklahoma (15-5, 3-4 Big 12)

Last Week

  • Texas 75, Oklahoma 60 (Home Loss)
  • Texas Tech 85, Oklahoma 84 (Home Loss)

This Week

  • Tuesday, January 30: at Kansas State
  • Saturday, February 3: at UCF

Rule number one of Big 12 play: Defend your home court. The Sooners dropped two games at home this past week.

Oklahoma had a nine-point lead with 7:30 remaining. Then the defense folded as the Sooners allowed the Red Raiders to score 26 points.

12. UCF (12-7, 3-4 Big 12)

Last Week

  • UCF 72, West Virginia 59
  • Cincinnati 68, UCF 57

This Week

  • Wednesday, January 31: vs. Baylor
  • Saturday, February 3: vs. Oklahoma

UCF is a beast in midweek games, with a perfect 3-0 mark in league play. In the Saturday games, UCF is 0-4.

13. Oklahoma State (9-11, 1-6 Big 12)

Last Week

  • TCU 74, Oklahoma State 69 (Home Loss)
  • Oklahoma State 70, West Virginia 66

This Week

  • Tuesday, January 30: at Kansas
  • Saturday, February 3: vs. Kansas State

A special moment at Gallagher-Iba Arena on Saturday for Oklahoma State to win its first Big 12 game of the season on the 23rd anniversary of “The Ten.”

Back in 2001, 10 members of the Oklahoma State hoops program died in a plane crash on their way back from a game against the Colorado Buffaloes.

Oklahoma State rallied from a seven-point deficit with five minutes to go to secure the win.

14. West Virginia (7-13, 2-5 Big 12)

Last Week

  • UCF 72, West Virginia 59
  • Oklahoma State 70, West Virginia 66

This Week

  • Wednesday, January 31: vs. Cincinnati
  • Saturday, February 3: vs. BYU

The Mountaineers couldn’t capitalize on the momentum gained from the Kansas win two weeks ago.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s’ coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.

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Big 12 Basketball Power Rankings: Houston Cut Above Rest