Jan 25, 2014; Waco, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns forward Jonathan Holmes (10) grabs a rebound in front of Baylor Bears forward Rico Gathers (2) during the first half at The Ferrell Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Big 12 men's basketball power rankings: Texas Longhorns become conference contenders again

Coming into the college basketball season, no one expected the Texas Longhorns to contend for the Big 12 crown. Similar to the football season, they’ve found a way to dive into the race and become serious contenders after a slow start.

Here are this week’s Big 12 power rankings for the week of January 27th.

  1. Kansas Jayhawks (15-4, 6-0)
  2. Oklahoma State Cowboys (16-3, 4-2)
  3. Oklahoma Sooners (16-4, 5-2)
  4. Iowa State Cyclones (15-3, 3-3)
  5. Texas Longhorns (16-4, 5-2)
  6. Kansas State Wildcats (14-6, 4-3)
  7. Baylor Bears (13-6, 1-5)
  8. West Virginia Mountaineers (11-9, 3-4)
  9. Texas Tech Red Raiders (10-10, 2-5)
  10. TCU Horned Frogs (9-10, 0-7)

It was a different kind of slow start for the Longhorns. While their record was great winning 10 of their first 11 games, they had closer than expected games against Mercer, South Alabama, Stephen F. Austin, Texas-Arlington, and Temple.

After the first two games in the Big 12 season, it looked like the Longhorns would have a long road ahead of them with losses to both Oklahoma schools, but neither of them were bad or deflating for a young squad. They grinded out a win over Texas Tech and started to get their swagger in a dominating performance at West Virginia.

Since then, it’s been three straight victories over top 25 opponents: Iowa State, Kansas State, and Baylor. Okay, so the Bears are on a downward spiral that only Justin Beiber’s career can compare to, but Texas is worthy of a top 25 spot on Monday’s polls.

With three big wins in the conference, Texas still needs to play Kansas twice and each of the current ranked opponents one more time. There’s more than enough potential to fight for a Big 12 regular season title.

Other notes

  • Oklahoma didn’t look impressive in the past week, looking sheepish against TCU and not much better against Texas Tech. Iowa State remains a notch lower with work to do to both impress the nation again and get back into Big 12 title contention. A win over Kansas would put everything right back in place.
  • Don’t sleep on Texas Tech. They’ve been competitive in every conference game this season, and their record won’t show the talent they have in their efficient shooting and solid frontcourt defense.

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