With non-conference play in college basketball winding down, Baylor and Missouri have emerged from the pack in the Big 12 as serious threats to challenge Kansas for conference supremacy.
The Bears and Tigers are two of only six teams in the top 25 that are still undefeated. And while everyone expected Baylor, with the lottery-bound duo of Perry Jones III and Quincy Miller, to be an elite team this season, Missouri's rise under new coach Frank Haith has been more surprising.
Behind them with one loss is a rebuilding Oklahoma program as well as a surprising Kansas State team, which showed some fight in a 71-58 victory nationally ranked Alabama on Saturday.
Texas, at 9-2, has played well despite losing three players to the first round of the NBA draft. However, without a signature non-conference win, the Longhorns will need to play well in Big 12 play to ensure their 14th straight NCAA Tournament appearance under Rick Barnes.
Texas A&M, at 8-2, has survived losing star forward Khris Middleton to a knee injury for almost a month, but the Aggies were embarrassed by No. 12 Florida in a 84-64 loss in their biggest game of the season.
Kansas, despite having the best win of the non-conference season over No. 2 Ohio State, is tied with Iowa State with three losses after being upset by a hot-shooting Davidson team on Monday.
Rounding out the bottom of the conference with four losses is Texas Tech, under first-year head coach Billie Gillispie, and a talented Oklahoma State squad that features a lottery talent in freshman F LeBryan Nash.
For now, before the start of the first true round-robin schedule in conference history, it appears that the Big 12 has three locks for the Tournament -- Baylor, Missouri and Kansas -- as well as at least four teams -- Texas, Texas A&M, Kansas State and Oklahoma State -- with the talent to put themselves firmly in the bubble discussion.
For the latest on all three area schools' basketball programs, check out Rock Chalk Talk (Kansas), Rock M Nation (Missouri) and Bring On The Cats (Kansas State).