The Big 12 men’s tournament starts tomorrow. Here’s Statesman staffer Kevin Lyttle’s final conference power poll:
1. KANSAS (23-8, 14-4): Still a candidate for a national No. 1 seed and deep tourney run, but it’s more problematic without Embiid’s post presence. Last week: 1st. Next game: Oklahoma State/Texas Tech winner, 2 p.m. Thursday.
2. OKLAHOMA (23-8, 12-6): The high-scoring Sooners, who’ve nailed 10-plus 3-pointers in six of the last eight games, are Sweet 16 material as a 4 or 5 seed. Last week: 2nd. Next game: Baylor/TCU winner, 6 p.m. Thursday.
3. IOWA STATE (23-7, 11-7): Big 12 player of the year Melvin Ejim and the team’s unusual style make the Cyclones a dark horse Final Four candidate. Last week: 3rd. Next game: Kansas State, 11:30 a.m. Thursday.
4. TEXAS (22-9, 11-7): The big, physical Horns present matchup problems for many, but will go only as far as its streaky guards take them. Last week: 4th. Next game: West Virginia, 8:30 p.m. Thursday.
5. OKLAHOMA STATE (20-11, 8-10): With terrific guard play, the Cowboys heat up at the right moment and will be a dangerous 7 or 8 seed in the NCAAs. Last week: 6th. Next game: Texas Tech, 6 p.m. Wednesday.
6. BAYLOR (21-10, 9-9): Another resurrected team that could be a bear in early-round tourney games with point guard Kenny Chery directing. Last week: 7th. Next game: TCU, 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.
7. KANSAS STATE (20-11, 10-8): The Wildcats are slipping a tad, but still in that 9/10/11 seed range and capable of one tourney upset behind Marcus Foster. Last week: 5th. Next game: Iowa State, 11:30 a.m. Thursday.
8. WEST VIRGINIA (17-14, 9-9): All eyes are on the improving Mountaineers at the Big 12 tournament. Even with an early exit, this is a solid NIT team. Last week: 8th. Next game: Texas, 8:30 p.m. Thursday.
9. TEXAS TECH (14-17, 6-12): In some leagues, the Red Raiders could have built a good enough record to earn an NIT or CBI bid. But not in the Big 12. Last week: 9th. Next game: Oklahoma State, 6 p.m. Wednesday.
10. TCU (9-21, 0-18): Can’t anyone here play this game? Dreadful, beaten-up bunch needs to recruit about 10 new players. Last week: 10th. Next game: Baylor, 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.
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