Times change, but the team at the top stays the same
Change has been a constant in the Big 12 — except for Kansas being on top.
When the run of Kansas’ Big 12 championships began in 2005-05, the league still had 12 teams, and the roster of coaches included Eddie Sutton and Bob Knight. With Rick Barnes gone to Tennessee, Baylor’s Scott Drew is the only coach remaining from the start of the Jayhawks’ run.
Even with two new coaches in the league at Iowa State and Texas, the Jayhawks may face their toughest challenge in the conference in a while. The Cyclones and Oklahoma both have top-10 caliber teams, but — as usual — we’re picking Kansas until Bill Self’s team gives us reason to pick someone else.
All Big 12 predictions and a full preview of each team in the conference can be found in the Athlon Sports 2015-16 Preview Magazine, available online and on newsstands everywhere.
Podcast: Who should be No. 1 in College Basketball in 2015-16?
|2015-16 Big 12 Predictions|
|1.||With a nice blend of veterans and rookies, the Jayhawks appear poised for a 12th straight league title. Postseason: NCAA Elite Eight||Team Preview|
|2.||New coach Steve Prohm, who averaged 26 wins per year at Murray State, inherits a Final Four contender. Postseason: NCAA Elite Eight||Team Preview|
Buddy Hield and Isaiah Cousins form one of the nation’s top backcourt tandems. The Sooners are ready to contend. Postseason: NCAA Sweet 16
|4.||Rico Gathers and Taurean Prince are stars, but the Bears need a floor leader to replace point guard Kenny Chery. Postseason: NCAA second round||Team Preview|
|5.||Shaka Smart is bringing Havoc to Austin, but how quickly will the Longhorns adapt? Postseason: NCAA First Round||Team Preview|
Losing Juwan Staten hurts, but the Mountaineers still will be one of the Big 12’s toughest teams. Postseason: NCAA First Round
|7.||Freshman Jawun Evans will try to provide a spark to a team that lost three starters. Postseason: NIT|
|8.||Tubby Smith’s squad competes hard and returns a ton of experience — but the talent level is still low.|
|9.||Offseason transfers and dismissals have put Bruce Weber’s Wildcats in an unenviable position.|
|10.||The Horned Frogs are no longer pushovers, but they lost three of their top four scorers.|
Big 12 Superlatives
Player of the Year: Georges Niang, Iowa State
Best Defensive Player: Jameel McKay, Iowa State
Most Underrated Player: Isaiah Cousins, Baylor
Newcomer of the Year: Cheick Diallo, Kansas
Top Coach: Bill Self, Kansas (full list)
Coach on the Hot Seat: Bruce Weber, Kansas State (full list)
Teams in the national top 25: No. 6 Kansas, No. 7 Iowa State, No. 9 Oklahoma
All-Big 12 First Team
G Frank Mason, Kansas
G Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
F Georges Niang, Iowa State
F Perry Ellis, Kansas
F Rico Gathers, Baylor
All-Big 12 Second Team
G Monte Morris, Iowa State
G Isaiah Taylor, Texas
G Wayne Selden, Kansas
F Taurean Prince, Baylor
F Jameel McKay, Iowa State
All-Big 12 Third Team
G Phil Forte, Oklahoma State
F Devin Williams, West Virginia
F Cheick Diallo, Kansas
F Ryan Spangler, Oklahoma
C Cameron Ridley, Texas
1. Kansas: This top-five national class is headlined by five-star big men Cheick Diallo and Carlton Bragg.
2. Texas: A trio of four-star perimeter players are custom-built for Shaka Smart’s system.
3. Oklahoma State: McDonald’s All-American Jawun Evans is expected to make a big impact at point guard.
4. West Virginia: Four-star wings Esa Ahmad and Treyvon Myers headline a four-man recruiting class.
5. Baylor: Four-star guard King McClure leads a four-man class that ranks in the top 40.
6. Oklahoma: Junior college 7-footer Akolda Manyang is the top recruit in the Sooners’ three-man class.
7. TCU: Two highly ranked three-star junior college prospects top the Horned Frogs’ class.
8. Texas Tech: Tubby Smith hopes he has a couple of sleepers in his recruiting class.
9. Kansas State: Promising forward Dean Wade leads a six-man recruiting class to Manhattan.
10. Iowa State: Former Marquette recruit Nick Noskowiak is the top recruit in the two-man Cyclones class.