Jake’s Takes: Big 12 Basketball Could Be Wide Open
Non-conference play is over and it is time for the real deal, Big 12 play is here and I am ready for it.
It seems every year we look at the Big 12 and go, ‘It won’t be as good as last year, look at all the talent the league lost.’
I have heard it this year as well, “There is no Graham, Svi, Newman from KU, Tech lost Evans and Smith, WVU lost Carter and Miles, Carroll is out at OSU, Baylor lost Acuil and Lecomte. Oklahoma doesn’t have Trae Young”
That is a lot of star power lost but that is every year and every year the Big 12 reloads.
The Big 12 is again the top conference in the league after non-conference play by Ken Pomeroy’s rankings as well as ESPN’s BPI.
The Big 12 is good and it will be a battle to win the league.
Lets look back at the pre-season poll:
2018-19 Big 12 Coaches Preseason Poll
|Team (1st Place Votes)||Points|
I think it is safe to say after the non-conference portion of the season I will adjust the poll going into conference play.
Here is my new Big 12 predictions.
- Kansas (14-4) – Until someone beats the Hawks they are the top pick. Big question is can they get Vick to be consistent in conference play and does someone else step up and be the Robin to Dedric Lawson’s Batman. Udoka might just be that guy to me.
- Texas Tech (13-5) – Yes you read that right Texas Tech. Chris Beard has done wonders. Jarrett Culver is a beast and might push Lawson for Player of the Year. You better have a good offense when you face the Red Raiders cause they will make you work for everything.
- Kansas State (12-6)- Can they supply enough offense to go with their defense. Weber’s team is suffocating teams even without Dean Wade. Wade will be back in a few weeks and can he give them the boost on offense. My biggest question is can they beat the top teams, last year KSU went 0-7 vs top three teams.
- Iowa State (12-6) -Steve Prohm can coach, he has done a great job. Wiggington is smooth and is back after 10 games off due to injury, and he is one of the best players you might not know about. Babb is a stat stuffing point guard, Marial Shayok is a bucket getter and Talen Horton Tucker is one of the best freshman you have never heard of. Biggest issue is defense. Can they get enough stops.
- Oklahoma (11-7) – Lon Kruger is the 2nd best coach in the Big 12. Christian James is now the guy with Trae Young gone. He is the most improved player to me from last year. Brady Manek is a pure stretch four and Miles Reynolds, a grad transfer from Pacific, has been a great addition. The key for the Sooners is Jumani McNeace, can the big fella be an impact in the post.
- TCU- (9-9) Jamie Dixon got the frogs to the NCAA tourney last year and many people have high expectations this season. Now they are 11-1 but not a very sexy 11-1 as their best win is SMU and haven’t been tested at all. They have plenty of returners with Bane, Robinson, Noi and Fisher but they don’t have THE guy on the team. This is the biggest unknown in the Big 12 to me.
- West Virginia (9-9) – This is the big shocker. The losses of Carter, Miles and Teddy Allen have been noticable. Konate being out for a few games also have hurt Huggy Bear and his team. Ahmad and Konate are a good 1 -2 combo but you need 4 or 5 guys to be effective in their style of play.
- Texas (8-10)- This is a big year for Shaka Smart, Texas has had some talent but you are not seeing the results. They have some good wins, UNC and Arkansas but some bad losses Radford and VCU. Kerwin Roach is a great player but who else will help him, Osetkowski or Coleman? The depth of Texas is just not there.
- Baylor (6-12)- Scott Drew is in a rebuilding year. Baylor has always had the guy people knew from the year prior, the Lecomte types, the Prince, Maston, etc, but they don’t this year. Now they are ranked 59th in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings and they are 9th out of 10 in the Big 12, that is a deep conference my friends.
- Oklahoma State (4-14) – The pokes started off rough by losing to Charlotte in their season opener and just don’t have the talent right now. McGriff and Curtis Jones are good players but they are not game changers. You need game changers as your best players to compete in this conference. This is the worst team in the league yet are 86th in Ken Pom’s rankings.
Player of the Year: Dedric Lawson, Kansas. (Everyone is playing for 2nd as of right now)
Coach of the Year: Chris Beard, Texas Tech ( you lose your top 2 players and stay at number 2 in the league, you earned it)
Freshman of the Year: Devon Dotson, Kansas (can he handle the pressures of the Big 12, I think he can)