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The Big 12 Conference came into last season projected to be the best league in the country, and it lived up to all its expectations – although some of its teams failed to justify the individual hype. Kansas ran away with the league title, starting 13-0 before falling to Oklahoma State on February 27, after the league was already out of reach. Behind the Jayhawks were three times tied at 11-5: Kansas State, Baylor and Texas A&M. Missouri was 10-6, while Texas and Oklahoma State were 9-7. Seven teams were locks for the NCAA tournament heading into Selection Sunday, and five of them ended up getting to at least the second round. Kansas was a disappointment in the Big Dance, but Kansas State and Baylor both reached the Elite Eight. It should be a tremendous conference race this season.
- 1. Kansas State: This is the year that Kansas State will finally surpass its in-state rival. Jacob Pullen is one of the nation’s best guards, while Curtis Kelly and Jamar Samuels lead a very deep frontcourt.
- 2. Kansas: If Josh Selby is ruled ineligible or the Jayhawks are without him for a significant amount of time, they might drop a spot or two. Marcus Morris is emerging, but Tyshawn Taylor needs to step up.
- 3. Missouri: The Tigers are a nightmare to face because of their “40 Minutes of Hell” style of play. Kim English and Marcus Denmon can score, and JC transfer Ricardo Ratliffe can bang with anyone down low.
- 4. Baylor: The loss of Ekpe Udoh and Tweety Carter will hurt, but LaceDarius Dunn is second-to-none in terms of scoring, and Perry Jones is a touted freshman. Quincy Acy could be poised for a breakout year.
- 5. Texas: The Longhorns were massive underachievers last season, but freshman Cory Joseph could be the answer they need at the point. Jordan Hamilton is talented, and the frontcourt has plenty of options.
- 6. Texas A&M: The Aggies will be in the mix again, thanks to the inside-outside tandem of B.J. Holmes and David Loubeau. Point guard Dash Harris is extremely quick and athletic, and will be a big key.
- 7. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys lose James Anderson and Obi Muonelo, but Keiton Page and Ray Penn are undersized yet solid in the backcourt. Marshall Moses has to get back to his sophomore ways down low.
- 8. Colorado: With Alec Burks and Cory Higgins on the wings, the Buffaloes can compete with anyone in the country. Those two are simply that good. The key will be at the point, as well as down low – can they rebound?
- 9. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders have two of the best players in the Big 12 in point guard John Roberson and forward Mike Singletary. Look out for freshman Javarez Willis, who could step into the lineup immediately.
- 10. Oklahoma: The Sooners lose a ton from last season, but they have plenty of freshmen ready to step in. Cameron Clark is the best of the bench, who could be the team’s top scorer. Cade Davis is the top returnee.
- 11. Nebraska: Doc Sadler is on the hot seat for the Cornhuskers, who will move to the Big Ten next season. The strength this season will be in the post, where Brian Diaz and Christian Standhardinger reside.
- 12. Iowa State: Not much is expected from the Cyclones this season, although Diante Garrett and Scott Christopherson are solid in the backcourt. Royce White getting cleared to play immediately will be the key.
Player of the Year: Jacob Pullen, G, Kansas State
Newcomer of the Year: Josh Selby, G, Kansas (eligibility pending*)
- G- Jacob Pullen, Kansas State
- G- LaceDarius Dunn, Baylor
- G- Josh Selby, Kansas
- G- Alec Burks, Colorado
- F- Marcus Morris, Kansas
- G- Cory Higgins, Colorado
- G- Kim English, Missouri
- F- Curtis Kelly, Kansas State
- F- Jordan Hamilton, Texas
- F- Jamar Samuels, Kansas State
- G- John Roberson, Texas Tech
- G- Cory Joseph, Texas
- G- Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas
- F- Mike Singletary, Texas Tech
- F/C- Perry Jones, Baylor