The Big 12 is one-third of the way through the conference basketball schedule and the league race is starting to take shape. In fact, the league is beginning to form into three groups, the pretenders, the tournament contenders, and the powerhouses. Here is how the teams stack up in this week's power rankings.
The Big 12 basketball pretenders are still dangerous on any given day
No. 14: Oklahoma State
Congratulations Oklahoma State. On Saturday, you finally broke your six-game conference losing streak by beating West Virginia 70-66 in Stillwater.
You are now officially in the win column in league play this year. Take a breath and enjoy it because your glee won't last long as you travel to Lawrence on Tuesday to face an angry Kansas team coming off of a loss at Iowa State.
Somewhere the OK State admin has to be starting the process of vetting new head coaching candidates. Mike Boynton is just 17-26 in Big 12 play over the last three seasons and the folks in Stillwater appear to have abandoned hope given the sparce crowds we've seen a Gallaher-Iba Arena this season.
No 13: West Virginia
Sure, the Mountaineers own this year's most inexplicable Big 12 win, an upset of Kansas in Morgantown. But still, it's a bad basketball team that sits at just 7-13 overall and 2-5 in league games.
WVU laid an egg in Stillwater and missed out on a chance to earn a rare Big 12 road win by losing to the worst team in the conference on Saturday. Interim head coach Josh Eilert's job audition isn't going well at all and, like Boynton, he should probably be looking for the nearest U-Haul rental location because his days in Morgantown are likely numbered.
No. 12: Central Florida
Also owning a home win over Kansas (which might not be that special of an accomplishment this year) the UCF Knights are the pretender that scares the rest of the Big 12 the most. However, after Saturday's 68-57 loss to Cincinnati, they are just 12-7 overall and 3-4 in Big 12 games.
UCF is a pest to play in Orlando because they can play defense and they have one of the league's leading scorers in Jalyn Sellers (17.2 p.p.g.). That combination can provide some upsets but UCF lacks the overall punch to string together too many wins in America's toughest conference. That's why the Kinghts appeared destined for the role of spoiler for the rest of this season on their way to a possible N.I.T. bid.