As recently as Sunday, OSU was ranked eighth in the AP college basketball poll. Today, OSU stands seventh in the Big 12 basketball standings, with no great hope of moving up any time soon.
The Cowboys’ back-to-back defeats, to teams that came into the games ninth (Baylor) and tied for sixth (Iowa State) in the conference, has OSU scrambling. It’s not just that OSU’s 4-5 Big 12 record stands seventh. If you rate the teams based on home/road criteria, the Cowboys are two games behind sixth-place West Virginia.
OSU has five losses and has played just four road games. That means the Cowboys are a minus-1 when judging the standings that way:
1. Kansas +4 (8-1)
2. Texas +2 (7-2)
3. OU +2 (6-3)
4. Iowa State +1 (5-4)
5. Kansas State +1 (5-4)
6. West Virginia +1 (5-4)
7. OSU -1 (4-5)
8. Texas Tech -2 (3-6)
9. Baylor -3 (-27)
10. TCU -5 (0-9)
The Sooners play at West Virginia on Wednesday night, and a victory in Morgantown would lift OU clearly into the driver’s seat for second place in the conference. Despite Kansas’ loss at Texas on Saturday, the Jayhawks remain the runaway favorite for the conference title.
Meanwhile, OSU plays at Texas Tech on Saturday, and if the Cowboys don’t win, they could face a difficult time rising above seventh. If the Cowboys don’t find some road wins, they will finish with a losing Big 12 record, which could put even an NCAA Tournament berth in jeopardy.