Big 12 men’s basketball power rankings: Is it time for Kansas to push the panic button?


Dec 14, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas Jayhawks guard Wayne Selden, Jr. (1) scores a basket against New Mexico Lobos forward Cameron Bairstow (41) in the second half at Sprint Center. Kansas won 80-63. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Order has been restored for the Kansas Jayhawks after easily handling New Mexico 80-63 in Kansas City last Saturday. At least for now. Is it still time for Kansas to push the panic button in December?

First, here the Big 12 power rankings for this week. Iowa State solidifies their spot at number two after defeating their ranked in-state rivals. Kansas now sits at fourth.

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

Sometimes it takes a while for a team full of new talent to gel together, but the growing pains have been large for the Jayhawks. Things started off well winning the first four games convincingly, including a huge victory over Duke.

Dec 10, 2013; Gainesville, FL, USA; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self talks with guard Naadir Tharpe (10) during the second half against the Florida Gators at Stephen C. O

But the domination began to falter off when they entered the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, losing to Villanova and struggling with Wake Forest and UTEP. Then, losses to Colorado and Florida ensued.

What’s the problem with Kansas? Rebounding and not shooting from 3-point range. They average just 23 team rebounds per game, and they’ve attempted just 153 3-point shots all season long, ranking 254th nationally. That doesn’t get any better with a 32 3-point field goal percentage, making just 49 of them.

Not being able to shoot from the perimeter translates into an offense that’s not seeing a high point average. Basically, if the Cyclones can hit their 3’s at some point in either contest against the Jayhawks, they could end up dominating.

Kansas is limited in getting possessions (averaging 69.2 per game, good for 149th nationally) thanks to their love of coughing the ball up (which ultimately cost them against the Gators), but they are efficient when they complete possessions. They’re hitting a field goal percentage of right near 50 percent, which is 17th best nationally.

So, is it time to panic in Lawrence? If the rebounding doesn’t improve, possibly. But right now the team still needs more time to play together. Once they start cleaning up their turnovers, this unit coached by Bill Self just needs a little more time until they become the Kansas we know and despise.

Dec 13, 2013; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones forward Melvin Ejim (3) is defended by guard Anthony Clemmons (5) of the Iowa Hawkeyes at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa State is doing a complete reverse of last season. The Cyclones were unable to finish out the close games, and now they’ve done that multiple times against their top talent on the schedule. That will pay dividends heading into the conference season.

Kansas State has bounced back with five straight wins, but plenty of those teams are no-name layups. West Virginia looked terrible against Florida, but they ended up closing that game out strong and finally looked promising against Gonzaga.

With a tougher schedule, Oklahoma gets the nod over Texas. The Sooners looked a little mediocre against a bad Tulsa squad over the weekend, but their only loss is on a neutral court against Michigan State. Texas only has one loss (a respectable loss to BYU) but there’s been too many times where the Longhorns have looked vulnerable.