Cincinnati is a team that has surprised me. I think they are better than what their record shows. The Bearcats have been in every game they have played. The most impressive to me is when they held their own in Allen Fieldhouse against the Jayhawks and I think has players and fans sweating a little. The Bearcats were projected to finish 11th in the preseason polls, so they are playing above average right now.
I however can not say that the Bearcats are elite, but I can also say that they are not below average. I am very comfortable saying they are average. Cincinnati has the seventh-ranked offense and the fifth-ranked defense in the conference. I think the Bearcats will need a conference championship to make it into the NCAA Tournament, but hey they have surprised me up to this point. Hit the books a little more and they just might.
The Sooners seemed to be dominating coming into conference play. Then they seem to play well and the hit speed bumps. In the last week, they seem to just consistently hit speed bumps. Oklahoma has lost two straight and still has a tough road ahead. However, they are doing a lot better than people expected. They were projected to finish 11th in the Big 12 preseason polls.
Oklahoma went from being ranked No. 11 and in just one week dropped to No. 23. The Sooners are at least consistent in the fact that they are the sixth-ranked offense and defense in the Big 12. That is slightly above average, so that is the grade I am giving them midway through the season. I think the Sooners are a bubble team right now in the NCAA Tournament. If they won't hit the books, they won't make it.
BYU showed a lot of promise in non-conference play. They came into conference play ranked No. 12 and seemed to be a team to beat in the Big 12. Well, that is exactly what happened, they got beat again and again and again. Technically they got beat one more time than that too. However, the Cougars have found a way to stay in the rankings by beating quality teams like Iowa State and Texas.
No one expected the Cougars to play as well as they have since they were projected to finish second to last in the conference. So at least BYU is beating expectations, but again they are also a bubble team in my opinion right now. They have to start winning the games they should be winning and not just the ones people don't think they can win.
I considered giving the Bears and more average grade of a C, but I decided to be nice and give them a little credit. Baylor came in and was undefeated in conference play for the first two weeks. However, since then the Bears haven't been able to win.
The downfall started against Kansas State and has snowballed from there with losses to Texas and TCU. Now Baylor was projected to finish fourth in the Big 12 in preseason polls and could still find a way to at least match that prediction, but they need to come together and stop the downfall. The Bears seriously need to hit the books and figure out some sort of fix to this problem before it costs them a spot in the NCAA Tournament.