5. Iowa State (9-3). Among a bunch of games against the likes of Campbell and Alabama A&M and Florida Gulf Coast, the Cyclones have played four decent opponents. And lost to three of them. Coach Fred Hoiberg, The Mayor, surely anticipated a better opening. The 'Clones will be dangerous in Ames, but must prove themselves as anything more. Best win: BYU, 83-62.
6. Texas (8-5). The Longhorns rate among the biggest disappointments in the league, as they've struggled mightily without the suspended Myck Kabongo to run the show. They'll get him back in February, but will it be in time to extend a streak of 14 straight NCAA Tournament appearances? Best win: North Carolina, 85-67.
7. Oklahoma (8-3). Hopes of a major step forward accompanied Lon Kruger's second season, but the Sooners haven't shown it, yet. The guards have too few assists and too many turnovers. Shooting percentages are lacking. That's how you get beat by Stephen F. Austin at home. Still, if the youngsters grow up on the fly and some veterans adjust to new roles, the Sooners could surprise. Best win: Mid-American Conference favorite Ohio, 74-63.
8. West Virginia (6-5). Early optimism has waned in Morgantown. And we can't even issue a “Welcome to the Big 12” statement yet. The Mountaineers opened with a 34-point loss to Gonzaga and have mostly scuffled since. In the preseason, noting a decent schedule, coach Bob Huggins said his team could be pretty good and lose some games. Well, they've lost some games. Best win: Virginia Tech, 68-67.
9. TCU (8-4). The Horned Frogs were expected to struggle under first-year coach Trent Johnson. And the 8-4 record shouldn't alter that perception, coming against an ultra-soft nonconference schedule. Measuring success will likely come in baby steps. Best win: SWAC favorite Southern, 68-57.
10. Texas Tech (6-4). Since running off James Dickey, a series of curious coaching hires — and recently, coaching fires — have left the Red Raiders in disarray. Billy Gillispie had to be jettisoned among player unrest. And the vibe from Lubbock isn't good, where a home loss to McNeese State punctuated a light nonconference schedule. Best win: none.