Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, January 3, 2016 at 7:00 PM
With Monday night’s must-see matchup between national powers Oklahoma and Kansas virtually “tipping off” the part of the college basketball season sports fans start to pay attention to…this seemed like the ideal time to start up our conference updates. The Big 12 is once again a very prominent league in the national championship discussion. Let’s see if the most respected computer ratings agree with the national polls about OU and Kansas…who will be squaring off tonight as part of ESPN’s Big Monday.
BIG 12 COMPUTER RANKINGS
Kansas: #1 in Sagarin, #1 in Pomeroy
Oklahoma: #2 in Sagarin, #4 in Pomeroy
West Virginia: #12 in Sagarin, #10 in Pomeroy
Iowa State: #18 in Sagarin, #18 in Pomeroy
Baylor: #38 in Sagarin, #35 in Pomeroy
Texas Tech: #39 in Sagarin, #39 in Pomeroy
Texas: #41 in Sagarin, #51 in Pomeroy
Kansas State: #49 in Sagarin, #58 in Pomeroy
Oklahoma State: #83 in Sagarin, #81 in Pomeroy
TCU: #144 in Sagarin, #153 in Pomeroy
We don’t have to remind you avid sports fans that there are currently only 10 teams in the Big 12. Jeff Sagarin of USA Today has tonight’s spotlight showdown as #1 vs. #2 in the nation! College hoops guru Ken Pomeroy is slightly less high on Oklahoma…but still has it as a Final Four game.
Now, we all know that the Big 12 in general…AND Kansas…AND Oklahoma have a tendency to be overrated headed into the postseason. We have to respect the computers, while also remembering the mistakes those very same computers have made in the past. Still, OU and Kansas are clearly quality teams…and will be an important part of your handicapping moving forward. So, WATCH THIS GAME even if the entrants may be slightly overrated.
West Virginia and Iowa State are the only other league teams currently in the top 35 of the computers. Both are currently clearly in the Sweet 16 discussion. Baylor, Texas Tech, and Texas are all looking for Dance bids even if they’re not seen as anything more than spoilers right now. Though, when Shaka Smart is your head coach (the new man at Texas), then you obviously have a chance to make headlines in March no matter what’s happening in January.
Note that Texas Tech and Oklahoma State have kind of swapped spots in terms of how casual fans think of this league. Tech is no longer a doormat (and just won and covered vs. Texas this past Saturday). Oklahoma State is no longer a scary team. Tech looks to be for real as of now. Oklahoma State is a new doormat.
That’s the big picture. Let’s break it down on offense and defense using Pomeroy’s “adjusted” efficiency numbers. These “essential handicapping” rankings represent points scored and allowed per possession adjusted for strength of schedule.
BIG 12 “ADJUSTED” EFFICIENCY
Kansas: #7 on offense, #7 on defense
Oklahoma: #8 on offense, #8 on defense
West Virginia: #35 on offense, #3 on defense
Iowa State: #11 on offense, #67 on defense
Baylor: #32 on offense, #58 on defense
Texas Tech: #78 on offense, #31 on defense
Texas: #44 on offense, #98 on defense
Kansas State: #155 on offense, #17 on defense
Oklahoma State: #135 on offense, #51 on defense
TCU: #259 on offense, #48 on defense
Kansas and Oklahoma are balanced…which is why they grade out so high nationally. For now, no obvious weak spots for either team once you’ve factored in their schedules. West Virginia has some question marks on offense while playing even better defense than the first two. Iowa State changed head coaches…but is still a sharp shooting squad with a soft defense.
We have to make sure you notice that big surprise on the Texas defense. The pressing style of Smart may be hurting them thus far in the transition. The Longhorns barely crack the top 100 on that side of the floor! Keep an eye on Kansas State’s defense in home underdog spots. Interesting that only three teams in the league are better on offense than they are on defense in Pomeroy’s rankings through Saturday night.
JIM HURLEY is likely to have something special for you in Oklahoma/Kansas. But, he never forces plays just because they’re on TV. You can purchase the final word for Monday basketball (including the NBA) right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours Monday. Be sure to ask about combination packages that include the upcoming NFL Playoffs, next Monday’s college football National Championship game between Alabama and Clemson, and all hoops when you call.
Back to the NFL starting tomorrow in the NOTEBOOK, as we get you ready for WILDCARD WEEKEND
Tuesday: NFL Wildcard Preview…Saturday’s early game
Thursday: NFL Wildcard Preview…Saturday’s late game
Weekend: NFL Wildcard Preview…Sunday’s late game
Monday: College Football CHAMPIONSHIP Preview…Alabama vs. Clemson
That first big weekend of playoff action leads us right into Tide/Tigers for all the college marbles. Keep reading the NOTEBOOK for helpful handicapping information…and hook up with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK for BIG, JUICY WINNERS!
Be sure to follow:
Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley
Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters