College basketball season is just around the corner. Team media days have come and gone and practices are now in full swing. The first games of the season come on November 8. BangtheBook is going to give you a look at the breakdowns in many different conferences. The Big 12 has a clear favorite this year according to the oddsmakers, but can anyone keep up with the Jayhawks? Included by each team name are odds to win the Big 12 title from BetOnline.
Kansas (-125) Bill Self’s recruiting class was easily the best in the country. Andrew Wiggins is the top freshman in the country, but the Jayhawks also brought in a top center and a top guard. The Jayhawks have won at least a share of the Big 12 title in nine straight seasons, so they are the team to beat until someone actually knocks them off.
Oklahoma State (+250) If it weren’t for Andrew Wiggins going to Kansas, the Cowboys would probably be the favorite in the Big this year. Marcus Smart returning to school was huge for this program. Smart is the nation’s top point guard, but he isn’t on his own here. Le’Bryan Nash, Phil Forte, and Markel Smart are all capable of scoring 20 points in any given game. I really like this team.
Baylor (+500) Scott Drew’s Baylor Bears are supremely talented in the frontcourt. The Bears have Isaiah Austin as a defensive force in the paint. Corey Jefferson will have a great year in the frontcourt too. Can they get good enough guard play to compete with the other top teams in this league? I think they are a notch below the top two.
Iowa State (+800) Iowa State lost a ton of close games last year. The Cyclones lost their entire backcourt, but Fred Hoiberg brought in DeAndre Kane from Marshall. Kane is a scorer, and he should be a perfect fit for the system. Niang and Ejim will be among the best in the conference on the inside. This team could make some noise.
The Rest of the Pack:
West Virginia (+1000) Bob Huggins went the Juco route to try to rebuild this program. There just isn’t even close to enough talent here to compete with the top teams. There is a huge drop off in talent after Iowa State in the Big 12.
Oklahoma (+1000) The Sooners lost their top three players from last year’s team. Lon Kruger has his work cut out for him to try to keep this team relevant for a second straight season. Expect this team to fall off quickly this year.
Kansas State (+1200) Bruce Weber lost his top two players in the offseason. The Wildcats do have some nice pieces waiting in the wings, but it may take some time for them to get used to the system.
Texas (+2000) Rick Barnes may not be the head coach at Texas after this year. The Longhorns talent is not even close the level of the top teams in the Big 12. Texas is highly unlikely to make the NCAA Tournament.
TCU (+5000) The Horned Frogs did get their most highly touted recruit in a long time. Center Karviar Shepherd should be the best player this program has seen in quite a while. The rest of the team is no good though, so temper your expectations.
Texas Tech (+5000) Tubby Smith is the new head coach here, and he is the fourth coach in four years at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders will lean on Jaye Crockett heavily this year.
Free Pick to win Big 12: Oklahoma State- The price here is great. Smart is an amazing player, and he has more than enough talent around him.
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