Texas tops Big 12 power rankings


Charlie Pearce

Freshman Chiaka Ogbogu has played an important role in the Longhorns' early season success. As one of the top teams in the antion, they are the clear favorite to win the Big 12.

Evan Berkowitz

Big 12 Power Rankings

1.       Texas (12-2, 5-0 Big 12) – No. 3 Texas is far and away the best team in the conference. The outsides of Texas are the most dominant hitters in the conference, while other Big 12 teams struggle to get kills. Texas should run the table in the country’s weakest major conference, especially after losing just one player from last year’s Big 12 championship squad.

2.       Kansas (14-4, 4-1) – the Jayhawks are the only other Big 12 team to break the ACVA Coaches poll, coming in at No. 23. After losing to Central Arkansas, Arkansas and Creighton early in the season, the Jayhawks have hit their stride in conference season, winning their first four before falling to Texas. The bright spot for Kansas is junior outside Sara McClinton, who is averaging a conference best 4.53 kills per set.

3.       Oklahoma (15-4, 3-2) – The Sooners’ two losses in conference have come at the hands of the two teams above them. Despite being 15-4 overall, the Sooners have had little competition, with their signature wins coming against Iowa State and Kansas State. With the help of senior middle blocker Sallie McLaurin’s league best .415 hitting percentage, the Sooners are the third most offensively efficient team in the Big 12.

4.       Iowa State (10-5, 4-1) – The Cyclones feasted on the bottom half of the conference early in the season en route to its four conference wins. But just a 6-4 out-of-conference record against not-so-great competition shows that the Cyclones aren’t as good as last year. They are also last in team blocks, which spells trouble for their next games against the two best hitting teams in Texas and Kansas.

5.       Baylor (9-11, 1-3) – Their play isn’t as bad as their record. After dropping six of their first eight, the Bears righted the ship. All three losses came to teams better than them, but a tough early conference schedule has their record in the cellar. This isn’t saying they are great by any means, though. They are a middle of the pack team in nearly every category. But with two games left against Texas Tech, TCU and Kansas State, the Bears can rebound.

6.       TCU (12-7, 1-4) – This is where the conference gets very weak and crowded. TCU stands out as the best of the worst, though. A good non-conference record helped them out along with an average offensive attack. But the league-worst defense holds them back and will prevent them from pulling any upsets.

7.       West Virginia (15-4, 2-3) – Don’t let their record trick you. They failed to play a single BCS conference school in non-conference and still managed to drop a match to Duquesne. They improved from last year, though, when they went 0-16 in conference. They have been the recipient of luck so far with teams hitting a conference worst .152 against them. Eventually the luck will run out and they should move back down to the cellar of the conference.

8.       Kansas State (13-5, 1-4) – Another team with a good record because of a weak non-conference schedule. But when they hit conference play, they were shocked by the Mountaineers. The Wildcats took a giant step back from last year with the loss of their All-Big 12 setter Caitlyn Donahue. The Wildcats are currently last in the league in assists.

9.       Texas Tech (8-12, 1-4) – The Red Raiders have a tough time above the net. They can’t kill a ball, ranking last in the conference. They also struggle with the block, averaging under two a set. Their biggest strength is their scrappiness, led by junior libero Rachel Brummitt, but it’s not enough to make up for their struggles at the net.