Oklahoma State is having a rough season. They are 9-11 and 1-6 in the conference, only just getting their first win in conference play against West Virginia, who will not have a better grade. The Cowboys are bottom of the league with the 13th-ranked offense and the 11th-ranked defense. The only hope the Cowboys have of making it to the NCAA Tournament is if they can somehow win the Big 12 Championship and get the automatic bid.
Oklahoma State was projected to finish 10th in the conference in the preseason polls. Sadly the Cowboys will probably finish below preseason expectations. I guess its hit the books for the Cowboys and start studying for next year.
West Virginia is in the same spot as the Cowboys. Honestly, I possibly could have given them a worse grade, but they do have two wins, one of which was against Kansas. The Mountaineers have the worst offense and defense in the Big 12 and have struggled all season long keeping teams close enough to play for a win.
The Mountaineers were picked to finish one spot ahead of Oklahoma State at ninth in the preseason polls. West Virginia is rebuilding with a first-year head coach and I think he has what it takes, but he needs time to get his guys into the program. So like the Cowboys, the only way the Mountaineers are making it to the NCAA Tournament is by winning the Big 12, so back to the drawing board.
This is a better grade than I thought I would give UCF at this point in the season and that is saying something. I honestly didn't expect the Knights to win many if any games in the Big 12 so they have already exceeded my expectations. They have two quality comeback wins over Kansas and Texas and a strong offense showing in their win over West Virginia. However, their losses outweigh the wins.
The Knights got blown out by Kansas State to kick off conference play. They couldn't score in the last four minutes of their games against BYU to take the lead when their defense was getting stops. They had the lowest field goal percentage in Big 12 history against Houston. Finally, they blew a 12-point lead over Cincinnati and couldn't score for five minutes in the lat six minutes of the game.
UCF is doing much better than people thought as they were projected to finish last in the conference and I think they are safe fro the bottom. However, they also will probably need a conference championship to make it into the NCAA Tournament. So as much as it pains me to say it, its time to hit the book again Knights.
A lot of people might say I am being way too hard on the Longhorns, but after winning the Big 12 a season ago and now sitting at 3-4 in conference play, I don't think I am being hard enough. Texas was picked to finish third in the Big 12 right now and is currently sitting at tenth in the conference. Does that sound like a reigning conference championship to you?
I know the Longhorns lost players, but they also had a lot of good players return that just are not able to get it done right now. This is a very talented team that should be winning more games than they are now. I think Texas can make a run as the season goes on and not have to play for a conference championship to make it into the NCAA Tournament, but up to this point, I wouldn't put them in yet.