This is part of a series of posts going up on December 26. Let's look back at everyone's performance in the non-conference schedule and take inventory on where everyone is at.
In the Big 12, everyone is racing out to pretty records. Even the two teams that are supposed to be lightweights, TCU and Texas Tech, have raced out. TCU (12-0) is projected to end up with the 3rd easiest non-conference schedule in the country, and @Ole Miss and N-Mississippi St are their signature wins. Dismiss them. Texas Tech (9-3) is undefeated at home against all cupcake opposition. Dismiss them. Kansas St (7-4) has likely joined them in the basement - their losses are all road/neutral ones, at least, but N-Purdue seems to be the signature win.
Kansas (9-2) is up to their old tricks, with the projected toughest schedule in the country. As of this second, they're not projected to play a team with an RPI above 150. The entire season. My God. The blowout loss to Kentucky can be dismissed, the one at Temple might not. A good string of wins (Florida, @G'town, N-Michigan St, N-Utah) plus whatever they do in Big 12 play should be enough for a 1 seed if they play to their potential. Texas (10-2) seems to be their closest competition. A projected non-con SoS around 40, wins @UConn, N-Iowa and Cal, and just the blemish at home to Stanford on that resume.
The real fascinating race in this conference will be 3 through 7. Let's look contender by contender.
Baylor (10-1), top 25 non-con SoS, loss of N-Illinois, signature win is..@South Carolina? Maybe N-Memphis. Good power numbers, and chances for better signature wins are coming.
West Virginia (11-1), decent SoS numbers, loss of LSU, a decent pocket collection (N-UConn, N-NC State, Wofford). Could be in the danger zone.
Oklahoma (8-3), good SoS numbers. They did work in Atlantis, beating Butler and UCLA, offsetting the loss to Wisky. Loss at Creighton looks dicier by the day, though. Loss of N-Washington looks better, also.
Iowa St (9-1), non-con SoS that is sub-175 will be a big issue. The loss of N-Maryland looks better by the day, and winning at Iowa and against Arkansas is useful. The cupcakes are dragging their numbers down, they'll be fine.
Oklahoma St (8-2), middling SoS numbers. @Memphis might be the signature win, which is a problem, considering their two toughest games on the schedule (@South Carolina and Maryland) ended up losses.
The bottom line: the rest is still unwritten with all these teams. Conference play will form a large part of these resumes, and all 5 have formed enough of a base resume to build on.