MORGANTOWN, W.Va. —  Now that the nation’s attention finally has turned away from the Heart of Dallas Bowl, league play is set to begin in college basketball, and it’s the Big 12 sporting the top conference RPI.

How’s that possible? Well, Kansas restocked with freshman phenoms, Oklahoma State has out-Smarted almost everyone and Baylor portends to be more than a football school. Then there’s Iowa State, which still hasn’t lot since the refs allowed Aaron Craft to make a mockery of the block/charge call last March.

All in all, first-semester Big 12 basketball was far better than anticipated. And with conference play starting Saturday, here’s a look back:

CURRENT RPIs
No. 2 Kansas (9-3)
No. 6 Iowa State (12-0)
No. 10 Baylor (9-1)
No. 14 Oklahoma State (12-1)
No. 32 Texas (11-2)
No. 43 Oklahoma (11-2)
No. 84 Kansas State (10-3)
No. 118 West Virginia (8-5)
No. 150 Texas Tech (8-5)
No. 153 Texas Christian (8-3)

BEST WINS
Baylor vs. Kentucky 67-62: At Jerry World, the Bears rallied from nine points down in the final 13 minutes against then-No. 3 Kentucky: Said Baylor center Cory Jefferson: ”It wasn’t no hype to us. We’re a great program just like they were a great program.”

Kansas vs. Duke 94-83: At the Champions Classic in Chicago, Andrew Wiggins enjoyed a strong debut to what figures to be his only college season, scoring 16 of his 22 points in the second half.

Oklahoma State vs. Memphis: 101-80: OSU rolled in Stillwater behind Marcus Smart’s 39 points, leading Memphis coach Josh Pastner to assess: “When (Smart) scores like that, he could be the best player in college basketball.” Memphis, currently No. 17 in the RPI, took revenge 73-68 when the teams met two weeks later in Orlando.

Texas at North Carolina 86-83: The Tar Heels (now 33rd in the RPI) had beaten Kentucky, Louisville and Michigan State but couldn’t handle the Rick Barnes Boys. The upset in Chapel Hill instantly vaulted Texas into NCAA contention.

Kansas State vs. Gonzaga, 72-62: Yes, the Bulldogs played with Sam Dower (back injury) in the second half, but give the Wildcats credit for holding Gonzaga (No. 16 RPI) to 21 points below its season scoring average.

WORST LOSSES
Virginia Tech vs. WVU, 87-82:  West Virginia built a 17-point first-half lead and then blew it … against a Hokies team that currently sits 159th in the RPI.

Northern Colorado at Kansas State, 60-58: The Bears landed a blow for the Big Sky by knocking off the defending Big 12 champs. Northern Colorado now owns an RPI of 168.

Longwood at TCU, 82-79: The Lancers sank the game-winning 3-pointer with 1.7 seconds left. For Longwood, ranked 305th in the RPI, it remains the only win against a D-I foe this year.

Louisiana Tech at Oklahoma, 102-98: On Monday night the Sooners had six players in double figures, but lost in overtime, snapping a seven-game win streak.

Michael Cobbins tears Achilles: The Oklahoma State forward had started all 13 games before Monday’s season-ending injury. Though his 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game look easily replaceable, Cobbins provided interior toughness and defense to the Cowboys’ loaded backcourt. His absence could cost OSU a shot at the league title and an NCAA No. 1 seed.

POSTSEASON GUESSES
NCAAs (with seeding): Oklahoma State (2), Kansas (2), Iowa State (4), Baylor (4) and Texas (10).

NIT: Oklahoma and Kansas State

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Comments

  • Chet

    Mountaineers are likely to be ready a postseason player - look at their history and their coach. Always best at the end.

  • tw eagle

    IF , the Mountaineers win these two roadies , they will avoid a 20 loss season . . . lose these two & a play in loss at the XII tournament will probably crown another losing season for WVU in the XII . . .

    not much progress since mexico trip . . .spotty D , players who are better at running their mouths than directing the O . . .shooting better has only made the losses a little closer at games end . . . a Hall of Fame coach should be able to get his team to improve over a season and to play a consistent "brand" of BB . . . Where's the leadership ?

  • Aaron

    Initially I wanted to say the author was wrong in his assessment but in looking at the schedule, the best I can come up with is WV 7 conference wins and finishing the season at 15-16 heading into the Big 12 Tournament.

    That includes at least 2 upsets, which I think will happen. I also believe they will lose at least 1, and maybe 2-3 games that they should win and end up with a 6-12 conference record meaning they will have to win the conference just to make the post season.

    That's where the bad loss to VA Tech and the close losses to Purdue, Gonzaga and Wisconsin will come back to hurt then.

    I do have faith they will be much improved next year though.

  • Mister Man

    Great job Allen. You know I'm kidding, right?

  • squad

    oh didn't LONGWOOD beat TCU?

    but our loss to va tech is the WORST?



    sure you're objective.

  • madhatter

    i think allan's expectations of post season, is right on.... we have beaten no one of the last two seasons that can be considered a good or great win... How we beat Marsha in the last few minutes was a minor miracle in it'self

  • madhatter

    i may be jumping the gun a bit, but imo, these two games coming up, will decide wvu basketball for this season.
    One think for sure, we're not rebounders, and it seems our whole team can go cold at once.
    On the other hand , we do have some shooters if they can score big pts. we could finish near the .500 mark in the big 12

  • USN

    This team is improved and is young. They will lose games yes. But they will get better each game.

    By the end of the year no one is going to want to play them. A lot of hostility for no reason.

  • leroy j gibbs

    Based on our nonconference play Allan is spot on .I hope he ends up wrong but reality bites

  • WV Grad

    Allan's a top-notch writer and tells it the way it is, like it or not.

    • Hop'sHip

      He's still not going to get you that media pass for the Oklahoma State game.

  • rekterx

    You ... Have "YOU" seen the B12's RPI ratings?

  • rekterx

    For WVU to play .500 ball in the B12 will be a minor miracle.

    I have no problem at all with what Allan wrote. Don't take my "swipe" at Allan as anythng more than good natured ribbing.

    This year's conference schedule may be the toughest that WVU has ever played. Period. Exclamation Point!

    We play EVERYBODY twice. Have seen the B12's RPI ratings?

  • Rich

    WVU needs some upsets just to qualify for a NIT bid. WVU will have to sweep TT & TCU (no small feat for this group). UT, OK, KSt are must win games @ home. That gets WVU to 7 wins in Big 12. They need at least 2 more to ensure winning record and NIT bid. Can they go on road and upset UT, OK, KSt? I like their chances of gettig 2/3 there as oppossed to beating KU, OK St, Baylor, Iowa St. Could we possibly upset Iowa St at home?

  • Hop'sHip

    Cmon Mr. Alabama. Couldn't you at least pick WVU for the CIT? I think any team with five breathing players qualifies for that. Give us some hope!

  • Master of One

    Very good assessment at the end.

    It is what it is. Whether or not you are willing to accept it, this basketball program under Bob Huggins has fallen into the Abyss.

    And No...there will be no NCAA bid this year...

    And No...there will be no NIT bit this year.

    It will take 18-20 wins to get an NIT bid and WVU is simply not going to win 18-20 games this season.

    The Bob Huggins Trolls understand this. However the sympathizers do not understand and never will understand.

    Look for WVU to win 15 games and then like the rest of us, watch the tournaments on TV.

    • Will

      16 wins will probably get an NIT. They take nearly any power conference team with a winning record. WVU is 8-5 now. If they were to go 8-10 in Big12 play, that would put them at 16-15 going into the Big12 Tournament. Even with a 16-16 record if they lose in the first round, I think they would be in the NIT. 9-9 in Big12 play would be more assured of NIT. Not that I think NIT should be acceptable, nor am I saying they will get 8 or 9 wins, I'm just saying I don't think they need to win 18-20 just to get in the NIT.

      • Master of One

        Just wait and see...13 wins last season never put them in...you think 3 more is going to make a difference with NO non-conference signature wins?