The Big 12 has not yet kicked off conference play, but a couple of teams have shined as contenders. Three of which are currently in the top 15 in the AP standings.
Kansas, currently sitting at 2-3, likely will be in the mix once they get their act together. For now, the three teams that are ranked do not include the Jayhawks. There is Kansas State representation at the top of the Big 12 though, along with two teams from Texas.
No. 10 Texas Longhorns (7-0)
Texas has been as dominant as any team in college basketball, winning all seven of their games. The combination of Rori Harmon and Taylor Jones is a big reason why.
The forward/guard duo has dominated, with Jones leading the Longhorns in scoring, averaging 16 points a game, and Harmon distributing the ball with 6.7 assists per game.
No team has given Texas a challenge just yet; they’ve won each game in blowout fashion and recently clinched the Reef Division championship at Paradise Jam.
Their undefeated streak will be tested later this week against the No. 11 UConn Huskies. But for now, the Big 12 goes through Texas.
No. 13 Baylor Lady Bears (5-0)
Winners of their first five games while their male counterparts in Waco has won their first six, Baylor has a special scenario where both teams are undefeated to start the season. The women’s side has dominated non-conference teams and has not played any ranked teams. They’ve had a balanced attack with a different top scorer in every matchup.
Dre’Una Edwards consistently has been the Lady Bears’ top player, logging in 14.2 points and 6.2 rebounds a night. With most of November and December’s schedule remaining soft, Baylor may head into 2024 undefeated and as a top-10 team.
No. 14 Kansas State Wildcats (4-0)
Kansas State may have already gotten their win of the season when they bested the Iowa Hawkeyes 65-58. In that game, Ayoka Lee shined—just as she has all season. She scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to secure the upset win.
Ayoka Lee— Mark Schindler (@MG_Schindler) November 25, 2023
If she's gonna hit this regularly, good luck pic.twitter.com/CVW0UwXd80
Iowa got their revenge this past weekend, but did so only by seven points. By going toe to toe with one of the top teams in the country, the Wildcats have legitimized themselves as a team that can beat anyone, especially if Lee goes on a hot streak and they control the glass.
But, how will they fare in the Big 12? Can they surprise us more and go from contender to front-runner for the conference? We’ll have to wait until December 30, when Big 12 action begins, to find out.